Ground pangolin at Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique
© Jen Guyton/Minden Picture
This creature needs protection. It’s not a pine cone, it’s a pangolin
Today is World Pangolin Day, an event dedicated to highlighting this unique and rare mammal. Eight different species of pangolins live in Asia and Africa, and all are known for their solitary, nocturnal lives. Those sharp, protective scales are made of keratin, the same stuff as your hair and fingernails. Pangolins also have short legs and sharp claws that come in handy when burrowing into an ant mound or a termite nest for food. By curling into a ball, the pangolin protects its belly and the inner parts of its limbs – the only parts of a pangolin’s body not covered by those thick scales. But that defence is useless against its biggest threats, which include deforestation and poaching. We’re grateful for the conservation organisations around the world that are working to protect this species and its habitat.