Monday, 16 January 2012 By: Jenny Vu

#2 One Keratin Armored Soldier

Have you ever heard of the Pangolin? Probably not. The Pangolin is a nocturnal anteater that lives in the tropical areas of Africa and Asia.

Source: pics-magazine
 The Pangolin is the only mammal with Keratin scales covering its skin. Keratin is the stuff that your nails and hair is made of. Now, imagine it becoming big enough and solid enough to form a hard layer of skin, almost like having your own armor! Well, for Pangolin, this is the purpose of it's scales.

BABY! Source:
Unfortunately these amazing animals are under great threat. First of all, it's habitat is in threat from deforestation. Secondly, these exotic animals are considered a delicacy in China and it's scales and fetuses are used in medicines believed to reduce swelling, promote blood circulation and help breast-feeding women produce milk. However, there is no solid proof which suggests their scales have any such medicinal benefit.

They are currently listed on the endangered species list but still, they are being traded on the black market and suffer from illegal trafficking. These animals unfortunately don't do well in captivity (living under human care i.e. in zoos) therefore, they should not be taken from their natural homes or the species will surely die out. Even though Pangolins are widely unknown animals to the public, they are the most frequently seized mammal in Asia's illegal wildlife traffic. At the current rate of poaching, deforestation and a slow reproduction rate they might be gone in as little as five years (sooner than the rhino), making it important that we act NOW.

If you want to help, the best thing you could do is spread the word! Education and a change in attitude would be enough to save these creatures. If you want more information on how you can help, you can visit these websites:

OR! Have a read of demiveemon's page on devianart: Link. I got most of this information from this page and it was my inspiration to write this post. And here is also a picture of the Pangolin plushie that she made that recently got a Daily Deviation. :) 

Made by: demiveemon @ Deviantart
If you want to see some better photos and learn more about Pangolins, go to this link.

And remember.....



Adam Baus said...

Pangolins are awesome you should look at Armadillo Lizards too. Perhaps pangolin scales show some sort of convergent evolution with reptiles?

Jenny Vu said...

WHOA! Armadillo Lizards are soo cool! Their scales do look very similar to those of the pangolin. :D and yeh, it does look like a case of convergent evolution.

Post a Comment