Indian Pangolin

The Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), also called thick-tailed pangolin and scaly anteater is a pangolin native to the Indian subcontinent.

It is easily recognised by its overlapping scales that acts as an armor for its body.

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Characteristics of a Pangolin

The scales of a pangolin are aries depending on the colour of its environment. It feeds on primarily insects (insectivore) eating ants and termites, digging them out of mounds and logs. It is active during night and it rests in deep burrows during daytime

Lacking any teeth, the pangolin relies on its tongue to feed itself, relying on its strong stomach to aid in its digestion. Its characteristic scales covers its upper face and body excluding the belly and inside of the legs

Further characteristics of the Pangolin are given as follows:

Characteristics of an Indian Pangolin

Head to Tail Length 84–122 cm
Weight 10–16 kg
Tail Length 33–47 cm
Number of Scales 160–200
Latin Name Manis crassicaudata
Habitat India and parts of Sri Lanka

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Behaviour and Habitat of Indian Pangolin

The Indian Pangolin has been found in various types of forests including Sri Lankan rainforests and in hills. It inhabits grasslands and secondary forests and also can survive in dry and desert regions.

The pangolin has two types of burrows:

  1. Feeding burrows
  2. Living burrows

Feeding burrows are smaller in size and are found mostly in the spring season when prey for the pangolin is available in greater concentrations.

Burrows of living are large in space and will be used by the pangolin longer in comparison to its feeding counterparts. It is used to sleep and rest during daytime

The pangolin uses its specially adapted long, sticky tongue through which it is able to feed on a variety of insects

Conservation of the Indian Pangolin

The Indian pangolin is listed on CITES Appendix I since January 2017 and is protected in all range countries.

As per the IUCN Red List the Indian Pangolin is listed as ‘Endangered.’

The Indian Pangolin is hunted for its meat and scale both consumed locally and internationally. Its parts are used as food and medicine

Along with being made as an aphrodisiac, it is also used to make charms or bone jewelry. The leather is used to make footwear and other leather goods. The majority of hunting is carried out by locals or professional hunters. They are also threatened by deforestation and habitat loss.

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