Thursday, 23 June 2011

Pangolins

The Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) 

The Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) is a species of pangolin found in, well, India. The Indian Pangolin is also found in Sri Lanka and is an insectivore primarily. The Indian Pangolin is one of the few that will climb trees, however it is not strictly arboreal (tree dwelling) and will dig burrows. Like all pangolins it has large armored scales and will quickly curl into a ball when it feels threatened, with its tail covering its head for protection. The Indian pangolin grows to a weight of 17-19 lbs (8-9 kilograms) and their head and body length reaches 2.0-2.2 ft (60-65 centimeters) with their armored tails adding 1.5-1.8 ft (45-55 centimeters) to the overall length. Their skin is a brownish color, while the scales can be brownish to yellowish in appearance, but are mostly kept with their surrounding to better help them go un-noticed.

The Indian Pangolin belongs to the genus Manis, which has seven other species of pangolins, however the pangolins themselves are monotypes, meaning that their family Manidae has no other living genus but Manis, and their order Pholidota has no other living family except Manidae. Additional features of pangolins include their tongues, which can extend to over 9 inches (20-23 centimeters) and has muscles that extend back to its pelvic area in order to anchor the massive tongue. They also have a prehensile tail that they can use when climbing trees or balancing. The pangolin also posses five sharp claws on each limb, and use them for digging up their main foods which are majorly termites and ants.

The Indian Pangolin prefers hilly areas to planes, as long as they are tropical, and will sleep inside hollowed trees or dig a 20 foot deep burrow (6 meters) when the dirt is soft enough. However if the dirt is not as soft as that, they will dig 6 foot deep burrows out of necessity. Once inside their burrow, they will cover the doorway in loose dirt to hide it from predators and other invaders. The Indian Pangolin lives a mostly solitary life, having little contact with others until the breeding season starts, which is about the only time you will find two in the same burrow. If disturbed they can emit and acidic foul smelling liquid from glands - similar to how a skunk would, and can cause further irritation to any unlucky predator.

Gestation (pregnancy) times for the Indian Pangolin are roughly 65-75 days, with the average litter size being two or just one, and can occur at any season and time throughout the year. Other information, such as full maturity or rearing habits for the Indian Pangolin are as of yet unknown until further observation can be made. Currently the Indian Pangolin is listed as near-threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and are dependant on further conservation. However human beings are one of the largest threats to the Indian Pangolin, as encroachment on habitat takes a dire toll on populations - which is not helped by poaching for food and scales which are though by many (incorrectly) to be a pleasure inducing substance. Other threats do include natural predators; however without the pressure from human beings it is likely that it would not endanger the species in the same way.

Here are some interesting facts about Indian Pangolins:

Over 1/3 to 1/4 of the Indian Pangolin's weight is from its scales.

The Indian Pangolin's scales are made out of the same material as the human fingernail - Keratin.

Indian Pangolins have a highly developed problem-solving brain, and are capable of using it in the wild, and to escape back to the wild when in captivity.

Conservationists teamed with Authorities continue to save Pangolins from illegal exportation to countries such as China where populations believe the Pangolin to be a delicacy and also parts to hold medicinal values.

Indian Pangolins, like other pangolins, cannot walk on their front claws, and so curl them back and walk on their knuckles.

Indian Pangolins lack teeth, as do other pangolins, and have a two chambered stomach that crushes their food for them.

Malayan Pangolin (Manis javanica)
Malayan Pangolin (Manis javanica)also known as the Sunda Pangolin, is found in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, Indonesia, and Singapore. The IUCN entry on the Malayan Pangolin has it listed as 'possibly extinct regionally' in Singapore and 'Uncertain presence and origin' in Bangladesh and China. The Chinese and Malayan Pangolin are closely related, the Malayan Pangolin is larger, has shorter foreclaws and is lighter in colour.

Malayan Pangolins inhabit burrows, which they dig out themselves, or occupy burrows from previous residents. They use their strong foreclaws, which also come in handy when digging out termite mounds and ant nests.They are remarkable creatures, nicknamed the "living pine cones", with their dragon like armor with sharp scales.

The Malayan Pangolin's natural predators are the Tiger and the Clouded Leopard.

Interesting fact Although they resemble tanks, a mother Pangolin is extremely protective. When threatened, the mother will curl into a ball with the young inside. The Chinese Pangolin (Manis Pentadactyla) ranges eastward through India, Nepal, Burma, China, and eastern Himalayas. This species is mainly found in the deciduous forests and subtropical regions. The rolling hills of central Nepal have a huge number of termite mounds where Chinese pangolins are found in great numbers.

The Chinese Pangolin
The Chinese Pangolin belongs to the burrowing family. It can dig up to 8 ft deep (2.5 meters) in the ground with its strong and clawed forefeet. It just takes the pangolin four to five minutes to dig that deep. Once it enters the burrow, it blocks the opening. Some Chinese pangolins occupy burrows of other animals as well.

The Chinese Pangolin appears like a scaly anteater. From head to body, it measures around 60 cm (24 inches) and its tail measures about 18 cm (7 inches). A mature Chinese pangolin weighs about 2.4 kg (82.72 oz). A new born baby pangolin weighs about 93 gram (3.26 oz). It has 18 rows of overlapping scales accompanied with hair, a rare combination found in mammals. It has a small narrow mouth and a little pointed head. Its nose is plump with nostrils at its end. This is a bronze colored animal with a round body equipped with extremely sharp claws.

The Chinese pangolin found in Nepal reproduces in the months of April and May when the weather is a bit warm. The female gives birth to a single young one at a time and the baby weighs about 1 lb (400 gm) and its length is about 45 cm (18 inches). The young one also has scales which remain very soft for two days. Although the young pangolin can walk on its very first day, the mother carries the baby on its back or tail. In case the mother feels threatened, it immediately folds her baby with its stomach with the help of its tail. Male pangolins have been noticed to show extraordinary parental instinct and allow the female and its baby share the burrow.

The Chinese pangolin is a rather secretive animal. They are considered nocturnal creatures and are extremely shy. They move very slowly and are known for their non-aggressive behavior. Their hard scales work as a protection cover from predators and when they feel endangered, they curl themselves in a ball. Chinese pangolins are mainly terrestrial animals and are observed in forests that are about 20 feet high from the ground.

They mainly eat insects as termites and ants. Their sharp claws help them in digging up the ants and termite mounds and with the help of their sticky, long tongue (25 cm), they can draw their prey into their mouth.

In Vietnam and Hong Kong, Chinese pangolins are considered a delicacy and they are hunted on a large scale only for this purpose. Now, Chinese pangolins are being protected in the forests where they are generally found. Factors like habitat destruction and hunting constantly challenges their survival. Since the forests they inhabit are difficult to patrol, hunters get a greater chance to hunt these animals without being caught.

The tree pangolin (Manis tricuspis)
The tree pangolin (Manis tricuspis) is a small mammal that lives in the rainforest of west to central Africa. It weighs approximately 4-5 lbs (about 2 kg) and is an anteater. The body of the tree pangolin is almost completely covered in hard scales which serve to protect it from predators. The scales each have three sharp points and are layered over the entire body except for the underbelly and parts of the head. The tree pangolin has a long thick tail that is also covered in scales and helps provide support as the tree pangolin climbs the trees of the rain forest.

The main predators of the tree pangolin are leopards, hyenas, and pythons. When approached by a predator, the tree pangolin rolls into a ball. The hard scales serve as a coat of armor and are sharp enough to injure a predator. The tree pangolin can also secrete a smelly substance from their anal glands which will also scare off a predator.

The female and male tree pangolins live alone unless the female is raising her young. The males will roam during mating season and each female will give birth to one offspring. The gestation period is 150 days and the newborn will stay with the mother for about 4 months. During that time, the mother will protect the newborn by rolling into a ball around it. The infant cannot walk for a few weeks after birth so it attaches to the mother's tail and is carried around through the trees.

The tree pangolins survive on a diet of ants, termites, and other insects. They use their claws to dig in the ground to search for food and then they capture insects with their long tongues that are coated in thick saliva. They have no teeth so they digest food by swallowing small rocks and sand that grind the food once it reaches the stomach.

The status of the tree pangolin is "near threatened" and they have been hunted by man for their meat and scales. Some cultures believe that the scales have healing powers and will protect them against evil.
Keywords: nocturnal , prehensile tail , poor eyesight , tail
The Three-cusped pangolin, tree pangolin, white-bellied pangolin is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Countries
Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Congo, Republic of the, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia
1. Manis, genus Manis -- (type genus of the Manidae)
Manis
genus Manis

The Long-tailed pangolin (Manis tetradactyla) 
is a fascinating creature, looking a bit like a walking pinecone. These species are usually found in the trees of dense rainforests, from Uganda to Senegal and Angola. Their scales are dark brown or pale olive green and are distinct. They range in size from 30 to 40cm (11.8 - 15.7 inches) in length and two to three kgs (4.4 to 6.6 lbs) in weight. Their very long tails are 60 to 70cm (23.6 - 27.6 inches) in length. This species of pangolin has a life expectancy of 13 years in captivity. It is unknown how long they can live in the wild.

The diet of the Long-tailed pangolin consists mostly of ants and termites. They make use of their long and sticky tongues to capture their prey, and they have no teeth. These animals find their food using their amazing sense of smell, which can sense termites and ants from hundreds of feet away. If the Long-tailed pangolin is attacked by a predator, it will curl into a small, tight ball, make a hissing sound, shake its scales and emit a distinct, foul-smelling liquid. They can even roll away from a dangerous situation if they need to.

They are generally solitary animals, spending daylight hours sleeping or climbing in trees, searching for food. In fact, they rarely come in contact with the ground at all, although they are good swimmers. They spend their nights in the hollows of trees.

In general, Long-tailed pangolins are born between November and March. Gestation takes about 120 to 150 days. The birth weight of baby pangolins ranges from 3-18 ounces (85.4-512.5 grams) and usually only one baby is born at a time. Young pangolins mature in two years.

Some of the natural enemies of the Long-tailed pangolin include leopards, hyenas and pythons. Human beings are also thought of as a predator. While not much is known about the exact number of Long-tailed pangolins in existence, the number of pangolins is declining in general. They are hunted for meat by many African tribes, their skin is used for boots and their scales are thought to have medicinal and ceremonial value. The destruction of the rainforest is another reason that their numbers declining, but their status is not of a large concern to conservationists at this time.

Keywords: tail , nocturnal ,

The Black-bellied pangolin, long-tailed pangolin is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Countries
Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Congo, Republic of the, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda
1. Manis, genus Manis -- (type genus of the Manidae)
Manis
genus Manis
(Source WordNet) The Ground Pangolin, Temminck's Pangolin or Cape Pangolin (Manis Temminckii) is one of four species of pangolin found in Africa. It is the only one of the four which can also be found in southern and eastern Africa. It was named for Coenraad Jacob Temminck a Dutch Zoologist who studied these creatures.

The Ground Pangolin
The Ground Pangolinis listed on the United States Fish and Wildlife Services endangered species because this beautiful animal was once hunted for its scales which were used in love potions. It has also been burnt in many brush fires which has added to its endangerment.

The Ground Pangolin is covered almost all over with hard scales except for its soft underside. The scales are colored from grayish brown to dark olive brown. When this animal feels threatened, it will roll up into a ball, hence the title a reason to roll. It could also use its scales on the tail as a slashing tool to ward off potential attackers. Although it is found over a large area of Africa, it is difficult to find because of the threats posed by humans.
It can grow to a length of approximately 1 meter or 3.28 feet. When viewing the body of this animal, it will look very disproportionate, with a small head, small forelegs, large powerful hind legs and a tail which can measure 30 to 50 cm. or 1 to 2 feet approximately.

The Ground Pangolin, like all the other pangolins, are nocturnal creatures, preferring the nighttime hours. Their diet consists mainly of ants and termites. Their long, sticky tongue makes obtaining these treats easy. The tongue is stored in a pocket in the mouth. Even though they are perfectly capable of digging their own burrows, they usually will occupy unused holes which were previously dug by either warthogs or aardvarks. They can also be found sleeping in dense vegetation which makes finding them even more difficult.

Although their bodies look cumbersome, the Ground Pangolin can move quite rapidly. They have been observed moving at speeds of up to 50 meters or 160 feet per minute. They do move slowly most of the time though and they walk on their hind legs. Their tail is used for balance when they walk.

Keywords: tail , nocturnal

The Cape pangolin, ground pangolin, scaly anteater, south african pangolin, temminck's ground pangolin is listed as Near Threatened (LR/nt), is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Countries
Angola, Botswana, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
1. Manis, genus Manis -- (type genus of the Manidae)
Manis
genus Manis

The Giant Pangolin (Manis gigantea) 
The Giant Pangolin (Manis gigantea) is the largest of the scaly anteaters or 'pangolins'. It lives in Africa along the equator from west to east and its diet consists almost entirely on ants and termites. Because it eats only ants and termites, the giant pangolin has no teeth and cannot chew. Its main threats are habitat destruction, the bushmeat market, and the illegal medicine market. The giant pangolin, like other pangolins, is nocturnal. It is a good climber and a good digger with its strong claws, which they curl in their paws when walking around.

Keywords: nocturnal , tail , claw ,
The Giant ground pangolin, giant pangolin is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Countries
Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Congo, Republic of the, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda
1. Manis, genus Manis -- (type genus of the Manidae)
Manis
genus Manis


















6 comments:

  1. cute little animals

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  2. its actually a ugly animal

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    Replies
    1. It probably thinks the same thing about you.

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    2. Ooooooohhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

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  3. cool animal

    ReplyDelete