THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT. IS A BLOG BY STEVEN SANDE WHO IS BASED OUT OF GUELPH, CANADA. His goal in writing is simply to develop personally and professionally and therefore the theme of his posts can vary greatly.

Pangolin Appreciation Day

Pangolin Appreciation Day

I don't know if there is an official day for pangolins, but for me it is today because I am writing a whole post about them. Pangolins, also known as real-life Sandshrews, may bear striking similarities to other animals such as anteaters and armadillos, however they are actually a distinct group of 8 species that span much of Africa and south Asia. Pangolins are unique because of their their keratin-scale armour, ball up defence strategy, bizarre body shape, long tongue, and two legged hobble. Despite their peculiarities, or perhaps because of them, they are among my favourite living things.

Unfortunately, just like so many other cool creatures, their existence is threatened. They taste pretty good apparently, and their scales are falsely believed to have medicinal properties. Combined with habitat loss, this has resulted in all 8 species of pangolin having IUCN classifications ranging from vulnerable to critically endangered. Ahead is a brief summary of each species. Sadly, since they are usually shy and nocturnal there are few creative commons photographs available. I encourage you to look up each on your own!

Long-tailed Pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla)

Distinguishing Characteristics:
- 60 cm tail (2/3 body length)
- smallest species of pangolin, despite long tail (5.5 lbs)
- diurnal, all other pangolins are nocturnal
- primarily arboreal, sleeps in tree cavities
- strong swimmer
Range: equatorial Africa
Status: vulnerable

Tree Pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis)

Distinguishing Characteristics:
- primarily arboreal, sleeps in tree cavities
- strong swimmer
Range: equatorial Africa
Status: vulnerable

Giant Pangolin (Smutsia gigantea)

Distinguishing Characteristics:
- largest of all pangolins (73 lbs, 4'6")
- capable of climbing trees but sleeps in burrows
- appreciates both savannah and forest environments
- particularly effective at raiding termite mounds
Range: equatorial Africa
Status: vulnerable

Ground Pangolin (Smutsia temminckii)

Distinguishing Characteristics:
- likes to occupy abandoned warthog and aardvark burrows
- very picky eater, only eats specific ant and termite species
- prefers scrubby savannah environments
Range: south and east Africa
Status: vulnerable

Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata)

Distinguishing Characteristics:
- can be found in grasslands, forests, and even deserts
- does not climb trees, sleeps in burrows
- skin and scales account for up to 1/3 of body weight
Range: India
Status: endangered

Philippine Pangolin (Manis culionensis)

Distinguishing Characteristics:
- extremely isolated (one island)
- rarely studied or documented
- recently classified species
Range: Palawan, Phillippines
Status: endangered

Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla)

Distinguishing Characteristics:
- most often found in forests and is a treeclimber, but prefers to sleep in burrows
- kept as a pet by US pilots in Laos during covert Vietnam War operations, after its inevitable death it was preserved and delivered to western natural history museums for documentation
- unable to be kept in captivity despite numerous attempts
Range: south China, north Indochina
Status: critically endangered

Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica)

Distinguishing Characteristics:
- primarily arboreal, sleeps in tree cavities
- until recently the Philippine pangolin was included in this species classification
Range: southeast Asia
Status: critically endangered

Environmental Feats of the Developing World

Environmental Feats of the Developing World

Lists Are Lazy

Lists Are Lazy

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