Fun Pangolin Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Oct 20, 2022 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Natalie Rayworth
Fact-checked by Abdulqudus Mojeed
Pangolin facts about the scaly animal of Africa who is white bellied.

Pangolin animals are known as scaly anteaters. Pangolins come from the Manidae family.

The main threats to pangolins are poaching and illegal hunting. Pangolin scales are made of keratin, which is similar to the material of the fingernails and toenails.

They are the only mammals which are known for this feature. Pangolins are nocturnal in nature, and their diet mainly consists of ants and termites. There are a total of eight pangolin species in this world.

Out of these eight species, four species are found in Asia, namely Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), Indian pangolin, Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis) and Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica). The other four species are found in Africa, namely ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii), black-bellied pangolin, white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) and giant pangolin (Smutsia gigantea).

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world. Pangolin animals use their well-developed  sense of smell in order to find the insects.

Pangolin scales are very different when compared to that of reptiles and are used in traditional Chinese medicine. This leads to illegal wildlife trade of some of the Critically Endangered species. Pangolins can curl themselves up in a ball and sleep during the daytime, whereas the long-tailed pangolins stay active throughout the day.

After reading these facts about giant pangolin, you may also look at shrew facts and numbat facts.

Pangolin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a pangolin?

Pangolin is a type of animal that is a mammal, and most people think of them as reptiles which is not true. Pangolins are the only mammals that are covered in scales that help them to protect themselves from predators in the wild.

What class of animal does a pangolin belong to?

Pangolin species belongs to a class of mammals. Pangolins have scales that are very sharp, powerful and protect them. The meat of pangolins is considered a delicacy in different parts of China and Vietnam. Some of the species are Critically Endangered and require conservation efforts.

How many pangolins are there in the world?

The estimated number of pangolins that are there in the world is 200,000, and the numbers keep changing based on different factors that determine the lifespan of pangolins. There are eight species of pangolins in the world, wherein four species are found in Africa, and the other four species are found in Asia.

These include Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii), black bellied pangolin, white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis), sunda pangolin (Manis javanica), Indian pangolin, giant pangolian (Smutsia gigantea) and Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis).

Where does a pangolin live?

The eight pangolin species mostly prefer to live in tropical forests, grasslands, and arid deserts. Pangolins mostly live on the ground and stay active mostly in the night time in order to hunt for their food. Some of the black-bellied pangolins also climb trees. The Chinese pangolin is a very good tree climber as well.

What is a pangolin's habitat?

A pangolin’s habitat consists of tropical forests, grasslands, and also arid deserts. They can also be found on trees as some of the black-bellied pangolins also climb on trees. They mostly prefer to live on the ground.

Who do pangolins live with?

Some pangolins prefer to stay alone, whereas some pangolins stay in pairs. The newborn pangolin scales are soft when they are born and, therefore, they are carried by their mother for a short period of time.

How long does a pangolin live?

The lifespan of pangolins in the wild is still unknown, whereas the lifespan of pangolin in captivity is around 20 years. The pangolin species are hunted for their meat, organ, skin, scales, and other parts of their body, and therefore they live for a short period of time as they are hunted and killed by humans.

How do they reproduce?

The male pangolins usually keep fighting with the other males during the mating season. The one who becomes the winner gets to mate with the female pangolin.

The mating period of the male and the female generally lasts for up to three to five days. Once the mating is done, the female pangolins have two to five estrous cycles during the mating season, and it lasts for 11 to 26 days.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the eight species of pangolins, as per IUCN, is mentioned as Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable. However, international trade of Endangered species can be a cause of concern in their population. They are a part of illegal international trade mainly for the usage of their scales in traditional medicine.

Pangolin Fun Facts

What do pangolins look like?

Pangolins usually look like reptiles that are covered in scales. These scales are very powerful and enable them to protect themselves from predators. Their scales are quite sharp and can cause serious injury to any predator trying to touch its scales.

They roll themselves up in a ball during their resting time, just like armadillos. They have snouts that are large and tongues. Pangolins are among the most widely poached mammals in the world.

Pangolin is a scaly animal whose might soon become an Endangered species.

How cute are they?

Pangolins are known to be curious as well as cute creatures. They are also quite possibly the most adorable creature present on the planet. They look cute as they roll themselves up in a ball.

How do they communicate?

Ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) try to communicate with each other with the help of chemical signals that they secrete throught their glands as they have the ability of strongly sensing the smell.

How big is a pangolin?

Pangolins are usually big in size and look similar to reptiles. But they are not reptiles. They are big when compared to other species of animals.  Their size varies in the range of 12-36 in (1-3 ft).

How fast can a pangolin run?

Pangolins run at speeds of about 3 mph (4.8 kmph) and are not fast runners. They don't usually move much faster than a tortoise. They are slow animals and roam around with the help of all the fours that help them in walking around the areas.

How much does a pangolin weigh?

The weight of a pangolin differs from one species to another, depending on their size as well. The average weight of a pangolin is 3.3-4.4 lb (1.4-1.9 kg), which increases according to the species.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for the male and female species of pangolins. They are known as male pangolin and female pangolin respectively.

What would you call a baby pangolin?

A baby pangolin is called a pangopup.

What do they eat?

Pangolins eat beetles, cockroaches, ants and termites. They also eat larvae. As pangolins do not have teeth, they have a tongue that is sticky which helps them in picking up the food.

Are they aggressive?

Yes, pangolins are aggressive in nature. The main feature of a pangolin is it can roll itself up into a ball anytime there is danger and come out when the danger is gone.

Would they make a good pet?

No, pangolins do not make a good pet, and also, it is completely illegal to have a pangolin as a pet in your house as they are wild animals.

Did you know...

Pangolins have a hard shell, and the scales of pangolins are made up of keratin that is the same protein that makes up our own hair and nails. The name pangolin has derived from the Malay word 'penguggling', which simply means something that rolls up.

The tongue of the pangolin can sometimes be up to 16 in (40 cm) long. Though they look spiky on the outside, they are gummy on the inside.

They have very poor eyesight, but the sense of the smell and sound that they have is supreme. In some of the species of pangolins, the males are 90% heavier than the females.

A distinguishing factor between pangolins found in Asia and Africa is that the Asian pangolins have bristles between their scales and the African pangolins don't.

What is special about a pangolin?

Pangolin scales are the most important aspect of this Endangered species. Pangolins are highly prized by humans for their meat as well. This is why this scaly animal is poached for illegal wildlife trade. The scales are used by them in order to protect themselves from the predators that come to attack them.

How to pronounce pangolin?

You can learn the pronunciation on different websites. First, break the word into three parts and start with the pronunciation of the first word loudly. The main word to pronounce when broken looks like pang-guh-luhn and then try pronouncing it loudly so that your pronunciation will get better and clear.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including echidna, or pink fairy armadillo.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our pangolin coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Abdulqudus Mojeed

Bachelor of Law

Abdulqudus Mojeed picture

Abdulqudus MojeedBachelor of Law

A versatile professional with a passion for creative writing and technology. Abdulqudus is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Law from the University of Lagos and has experience as a tutor, intern assistant, and volunteer. He possesses strong organizational skills and is a detail-oriented person.

Read full bio >