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Pangolins, sometimes known as scaly anteaters, are the only mammal in the world that is covered from head to toe in scales. It is also believed to be the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal.
See the fact file below for more information on the pangolins or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Pangolin worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Pangolins, which comprise the mammalian order Pholidota or “scaled animals”, has eight species. Four species live in Africa, and four live in Asia.
- Pangolins are the only mammal in the world to be largely covered from head to toe in scales made of keratin (the same as human fingernails), which accounts for up to 20% of a pangolin’s entire weight.
- The group has a lengthy fossil history of more than 80 million years, but only one family survives today, known as Manidae.
- Pangolins are solitary, shy animals, and most species are nocturnal. Every pangolin species is myrmecophagous, meaning their diet is mainly ants and termites, which they capture using their long tongues.
- They have poor hearing and eyesight, so they rely heavily on their sense of smell and sound to hunt food.
- The pangolin’s genus name, Manis, comes from the Latin word for “ghost” or “underworld”, which may refer to their solitary, nocturnal habits.
- The African species have different genus names – Smutsia and Phataginus. Smutsia came from the German term for “dirt”, which is logical, as the two species in this genus are referred to as “ground pangolins.” Phataginus comes from the Latin term for “crack” and likely refers to the cracked look of their scales.
- As for the common name, pangolin comes from the Malay word for pangolins, pengguling, which means the “one who rolls up”. With their hard scales, this works as a great defense mechanism against predators. The pangolin’s lifestyle gives them their other common name “scaly anteater”.
- One species of pangolin is named after Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck, the Temminck’s pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) or Cape pangolin. He was the first director of the National Museum of Natural History in Leiden and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
- Pangolins are about the size of a small cat, ranging in size from 30 to 100 cm (12 to 39 inches). Its long tail can be used as a weapon, and it is covered in sharp, brown scales.
- Pangolins can release a noxious-smelling acid, like the spray of a skunk, to deter predators.
- The tongue of a pangolin is extremely long and sticky. Growing from deep inside their chest cavity, it can extend to over 40cm, which is longer than their own body! This tongue is perfect to use for catching insects.
- The insects they eat are broken up by stones and keratin spines located inside their stomachs since they have no teeth and are unable to chew.
- When a pangolin rolls up, it forms a hard, spiky, impenetrable ball that can conquer even the jaws of lions, tigers, and leopards. Yet, by cruel coincidence, it is this same defense mechanism that makes the human taking of the pangolins as easy as picking up a ball.
- It is unknown how long the life spans of pangolins is because captivity is traumatic for them, resulting in stress, depression, and early death. Nevertheless, the oldest documented pangolin in captivity died at 19 years old.
TAIL OF PANGOLIN
- All the pangolin species have exceptionally strong tails.
- The ground pangolin’s tail is essential for stabilizing the animal, as it uses its front claws to rip into ant and termite mounds. The tail additionally serves an important role in their locomotion.
- Mother pangolins ride their baby, known as “pangopups”, on top of their tails until the young pangolin can move around independently.
- The long-tailed pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla) has a tail that is roughly double its body length. Its tail is extremely long and gives it the record for the mammal with the most vertebrae (46 or 47 caudal vertebrae alone).
- Two species of pangolin in Africa (Phataginus tricuspis and Phataginus tetradactyla) and two of the Asian species (Manis javanica and Manis culionensis) have prehensile tails. These prehensile tails increase maneuverability and stability for the pangolin when climbing.
EARTH’S MOST-HUNTED ANIMAL
- Pangolins are very sought-after in the wildlife black market. Chinese traditional medicine in southern China and Vietnam use pangolin meat, scales, and fetuses as cures for many common ailments.
- An estimate of 100,000 are trafficked every year to China and Vietnam, adding up to over one million over the past decade, making them the most trafficked animal in the world.
- According to IUCN, a pangolin is estimated to be taken from the wild every 5 minutes. Sadly, pangolins are on the edge of survival with some populations.
- Today, all of the four African pangolin species are considered vulnerable to extinction, and the four Asian species are endangered or critically endangered.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the pangolins across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Pangolin worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the pangolins, sometimes known as scaly anteaters, which are the only mammal in the world that is covered from head to toe in scales. It is also believed to be the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Pangolin Facts
- Quick Facts
- Meet Pangolins
- Eight Species
- Only Pangolin
- Describing a Pangolin
- Things You Need to Know
- Names of a Pangolin
- Not Related
- The Most Trafficked Animal
- Source of COVID 19
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Link will appear as Pangolin Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 2, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.