The upper surface of all pangolins is covered with rows of overlapping scales that are arranged like the tiles on a roof. In newborn animals, these scales are still soft and do not overlap. Their number remains constant throughout the animal’s life. Regarding their shape and origin, the scales are a protrusion of the dermis. The keratinous scales are formed through cornification of the epidermis around those protrusions. When threatened, pangolins roll into a ball, offering very few points of attack. The pangolins’ long tongue is an adaptation to their diet, which consists of ants and termites.


  • Title: African Tree Pangolin
  • Location: Tropical Africa
  • Type: dermoplastic
  • Rights: Sven Tränkner Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
  • weight: 1,6-3 kg
  • size: 40 cm
  • scientific name: Phataginus tricuspis
  • geological Age: recent

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