General Info:

  • Pangolins are also known as “scaly anteaters” and are between 12 and 30 inches in length.
  • Pangolins subsist mostly on ants and termites.  They  have no teeth!
  • Pangolins are covered in scales made of keratin — the same thing that makes up rhinoceros horn and fingernails.
    • Generally Pangolins have between 900-1000 scales!
  • Pangolins are nocturnal animals
  • The word “pangolin” is derived from the Malay word pengguling , which means “one who rolls up.”
  • Pangolins’ main defense mechanism is to roll up into a tight ball.  While effective against natural predators, this defense makes pangolins an easy target for poachers.

Current Statistics:

  • There are 8 pangolin species left — 4 African and 4 Asian.
    • The Malayan Pangolin and Chinese Pangolin are critically endangered.
    • The other 6 species are on the IUCN’s red list of threatened species.
  • They have the unfortunate title of being the most trafficked mammal on earth.
    • Their meat and scales are considered a delicacy and/or used for medicinal purposes in certain Asian cultures.
    • Like rhino horn and tiger bones, pangolin parts provide no medicinal value to humans.
  • Approximately  100,000 pangolins are trafficked to China and Vietnam every year.
    • This means that in the past decade, over 1 million pangolins have been killed.
  • According to the IUCN, on average, a pangolin is taken from the wild every 5 minutes.

To learn more about what the Pangolins are facing, please watch this short film featured on NatGeo and produced by Coral and Oak Studios. It is mildly graphic, and NOT intended for the children to view.

Excerpt from the film: “Pangolins are considered the most illegally trafficked mammal in the world—scaly, cat-size, nocturnal anteaters found in Africa and Asia. Their meat and scales are in high demand for their supposed health benefits, and as a result the pangolin’s population has plummeted. It’s estimated that in the last 10 years, a million pangolins have been trafficked. Earlier this year, 4.4 tons of pangolin scales, labeled as plastic, were seized in Hong Kong, a haul estimated to represent between 1,100 and 6,600 pangolins and be worth $1.25 million (U.S.). Pangolins are now one of the most valuable animals to need protection, and bans are being discussed alongside those of iconic animals like elephants and rhinos.”