Pangolins play a critical role in their ecosystems. They provide the earth with all-natural pest control and are fantastic tenders of soil, and they do these things simply through their everyday behaviors. It is said that a single pangolin consumes as many as 70 million insects per year, mainly ants and termites.
Pangolins may be small mammals but have big appetites which is great for our ecosystem, because they keep all of the pests in check. According to, Save Pangolins, “Estimates indicate that one adult pangolin can consume more than 70 million insects annually.”.
What do pangolins do?
Pangolins are soil caretakers. Their large and elongated claws enable them to burrow underground for shelter and to excavate ant and termite nests for food. In doing so, the soil is mixed and aerated—much like what happens when we rototill gardens or plow crop fields.
Pangolins are solitary animals, living primarily on their own. They prefer sandy soils where they are easily able to create burrows (shown in the picture to the left) using their strong and sharp claws. They have also been known to take advantage of burrows created by other animals. Pangolins are most active.
One inquiry we ran across in our research was “Why are pangolins endangered?”.
One source stated poaching pangolins to supply black market demand for their flesh, scales, and fetuses—which stems from East and Southeast Asia, particularly China and Vietnam—has become the number one threat to these magnificent creatures. This threat is closely followed by habitat loss.
Are pangolins nocturnal animals?
Pangolins are nocturnal creatures (meaning they’re awake at night, like owls) that roam through the forests and savannahs consuming ants and termites. Pangolin is a Malay word meaning “rolling over”; it is their fight or flight response to roll over into a ball if they feel threatened.
How many insects do pangolins eat?
It is said that a single pangolin consumes as much as 70 million insects per year—mainly ants and termites., and seventy million! That’s about 191,780 insects per day! Imagine an area that is home to 15 pangolins. Those animals alone could potentially eat as many as 1.05 billion insects annually!
Another frequent question is “How many insects does a pangolin eat?”.
One answer is that according to, Save Pangolins, “Estimates indicate that one adult pangolin can consume more than 70 million insects annually.” If we didn’t have Pangolins, Africa and Asia would be overrun with insects. Every animal has a job to do and if we keep eliminating them then who is going to do their job?