Pangolin

Scientific name

(Smutsia/Manis temminckii)

 

Status

Malawi: Listed species under the Wildlife Act 2017

IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

CITES: Appendix I (all international and commercial trade in pangolins and their products is prohibited)

 

Population Size

Due to their inconspicuous nature, it is not known how many ground pangolins exist worldwide.

 

Size

Ground pangolins measure around 65 to 110cm from head to tail, and weigh between 15 to 39 lb.

 

Lifespan

It is unknown how long pangolins live in the wild, but they have been recorded to live for 20 years in captivity.

 

Habitat and distribution

Found throughout East and Southern Africa. Habitat includes savannah woodland and floodplain grassland

 

Threats

The most trafficked mammal in the world, pangolins are threatened by illegal wildlife trade due to demand for their meat, scales and body parts for medicinal purposes and superstitious values. They can also get caught in traps and can be poisoned by pesticides.

 

Food

Pangolins are insectivores and only eat insects.

 

Behaviour

Pangolins use their long sticky tongues to catch ground dwelling insects from their tunnels. They are nocturnal and feed around 90 times per night which equates to consuming 70 million insects per year. During the day they sleep in abandoned warthog, aardvark or porcupine burrows. Their hard armour-like scales cover their entire body apart from their underside and forehead.