Animal of the day – 10/14/2010 – The Pangolin

Pangolin

The animal of the day is the Pangolin. (Did you know: Pangolins are weird-looking mammals since their bodies are covered in hard-plate scales made of keratin that are razor sharp. They are found in tropical regions of Africa and Asia. Pangolins feed on mostly insects since they do not have teeth and cannot chew. Instead they use their strong front claws to tear apart ant hills and termite mounds. To make up for their lack of teeth, they have crazy long tongues that further extend into the abdominal cavity…some large pangolins can expand their tongues up to 40 cms!!

These nocturnal animals spend most of their daytime sleeping curled up in a ball. In fact, their name is derived from the Malay word pengguling meaning “something that rolls up.” When threatened, Pangolins coil into a ball so tight that animals can’t unroll them. Their razor sharp scales make them almost invulnerably to most predators and they can inflict serious injury with those scales when they lash out their heavy tail. On top of that, they can spray a foul smelling, gooey substance from its anus to ward off predators. Although they can protect themselves from other animals, these animals are widely hunted for their meat, especially since it is believed it has medicinal properties to help reduce obesity.

Mama and baby!

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