Mark your calendars for World Pangolin Day, it's coming up on Saturday 16 February, 2013! The Pangolin certainly qualifies as one of Africa's strangest looking animals. Four different species of Pangolin live in Africa, the one pictured here is a Ground Pangolin, found in Southern and East Africa. I have never seen one in the wild. I looked for them while on safari in both Southern and East Africa, with no luck. I spent a little time wandering around at night with a flashlight in the Serengeti at a mobile camp. But the roar of lions and hippo grunts made me too timid to venture out for long. In Tanzania people believe that if a Pangolin is spotted, it will bring 7 years of good luck. This is one interesting pine cone ... I mean animal. Here are 10 interesting facts about the Ground Pangolin (Smutsia temminckii).
- Pangolins roll into a ball when threatened
- Pangolins have long sticky tongues, when not in use they pull it back into a special sheath that retracts into their chest cavity
- Pangolins have anal scent glands that emit strong, foul smelling secretions
- Pangolins are toothless
- Baby pangolins will hide inside the rolled up body of their mother for protection.
- Pangolin scales are sharp and will slice anything that comes in between them
- Pangolins do not have external ears but they hear well
- It's estimated that the Pangolin has been around for about 40 million years
- Pangolins are nocturnal, solitary, and sleep in burrows
- Pangolin scales are made from the same protein as human hair and are sometimes sold as magic charms
Image of the Ground Pangolin -- with kind permission from © Daryl Balfour