Reliable estimates of how many pangolins remain in the wild are lacking, although it’s thought that over a million individual pangolins were taken from the wild between 2000 and 2013. You can read more about this terrible trade in our report, Suffering at scale.
Let us figure it out! Many live on the ground, but some, like the black-bellied pangolin, also climb trees. Like anteaters, pangolins have long snouts and even longer tongues, which they use to snack on ants and termites they dig up from mounds with their powerful front claws.
Can pangolins climb trees?
Captured by You. Tuber Hassan Merdi, the footage shows how the African tree pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) walks – not climbs – up the branches of a tree, using its prehensile tail for balance. It can even climb trees with no branches – it just strolls up the trunk like it’s no effort at all.
The tree pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) is one of eight extant species of pangolins (“scaly anteaters”), and is native to equatorial Africa. Also known as the white-bellied pangolin or three-cusped pangolin, it is the most common of the African forest pangolins.
The tree pangolin can walk on all fours or on its hind legs using its prehensile tail for balance. It can climb up trees in the absence of branches.
Do pangolins have scales or fur?
Pangolin undersides do not have scales, and are covered with sparse fur. The four Asian pangolins are distinguished from the African species by the presence of bristles which emerge from between the scales.
Another frequently asked query is “What happens to pangolin scales when poached?”.
The most usefull answer is: the scales typically dried and ground up into powder, which may be turned into a pill. For many years, the Asian species were the primary target of poachers and traffickers. But now that their numbers have been depleted, smugglers are increasingly turning to African pangolins.
What do pangolins do at night?
Solitary animals, pangolins are active mostly at night. Many live on the ground, but some, like the black-bellied pangolin, also climb trees. Like anteaters, pangolins have long snouts and even longer tongues, which they use to snack on ants and termites they dig up from mounds with their powerful front claws.
This of course begs the inquiry “What threats do pangolins face?”
Humans are by far the most significant threat to pangolin populations across the world. The animals have long been hunted as a source of food, but their scales are also highly prized in some cultures as an ingredient in traditional medicine. As the most trafficked mammal in the world, all pangolin species face some risk of extinction.