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Giant pangolin - the scaled mammal that rolls up into a ball

State Darwin Museum

State Darwin Museum
Moscow, Russia

The pangolin is the only mammal fully covered in scales. Pangolin scales are made of keratin, the same substance in fingernails and animal claws.

When threatened, pangolins roll up completely into an almost-impenetrable ball, baffling - and evading - predators.

But sadly, the pangolin is the most trafficked animal in the world - coveted for its scales, which some believe have medicinal properties, and meat. It is estimated that 100,000 pangolins are captured and trafficked every year.

There are theories that the hunting of pangolins for bushmeat may have triggered the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Pangolins are found in equatorial Africa, weigh more than 30kg, and can grow to 140cm in length. They feed on ants and termites, tearing up nests with their large claws and using their extremely long tongues to probe inside the insect tunnels and retrieve prey. Pangolin tongues can extend up to around 40cm in length.

Keeper I. Fadeev, 3d scanning by A. Akhtamzyan


  • Title: Giant pangolin - the scaled mammal that rolls up into a ball
  • Physical Dimensions: 140 cm

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