Fun Sunda Pangolin Facts For Kids

Sonali Rawat
May 01, 2023 By Sonali Rawat
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Diya Patel
Discover interesting Sunda pangolin facts about their habitat and why they are critically endangered.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.6 Min

The Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica), also known as Malayan pangolin or Javan pangolin, is a critically threatened species of pangolin mainly found in Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Sunda pangolins have hard keratin scales covering most of their body and tails.

The diet of these animals is mainly insectivores and they feed on ants, termite mounds, and ant nests. Sunda pangolins can have 17 to 19 scales on their body and around 20 rows on their tails.

They also have a set of thick claws used for digging for food. A Sunda pangolin can curl up into a ball, hiding its soft underparts when faced with danger.

Hunting and trade practices are the major reason for the decline of Sunda pangolins. The scales of pangolins are used for traditional Chinese medicine or charms against rheumatic fever.

On the other hand, pangolin meat is eaten by indigenous tribes or smuggled as exotic food. Sunda pangolins are also used to make fashion accessories, particularly because of trade demands from China and Vietnam.

Scroll down to read more amazing information on Sunda pangolins. If you liked reading about the Sunda pangolin, you can also check out pangolin and tree pangolin facts too.

Sunda Pangolin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Sunda pangolin?

The Sunda pangolin is a species of pangolin native to southeast Asia. They are sometimes also known as the scaly anteater, Malayan pangolin, or Javan pangolin.

What class of animal does a Sunda pangolin belong to?

Sunda pangolins belong to the class of mammals and the Manis genus of the Manidae family. Their scientific name is Manis javanica.

How many Sunda pangolins are there in the world?

The exact Sunda pangolin population is unknown as they are nocturnal. Most of the pangolin species are endangered and this one is not an exception. Due to illegal hunting for trade, for their scales and meat, the Sunda pangolin populations sharply decrease every year.

Where does a Sunda pangolin live?

A Sunda pangolin lives in the tropical forests of southeast Asia including Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sumatra, and throughout peninsular Malaysia. They can also be spotted near human settlements like gardens and plantations.

What is a Sunda pangolin's habitat?

The Sunda pangolin habitat choice is versatile and they can survive as long as there is a reliable food source. Their habitats include forests, open savannah, and vegetated areas. Sometimes they can also be found in man-made plantations of oil palms or rubber as well as gardens.

Who do Sunda pangolins live with?

Sunda pangolins are mainly solitary animals that live and move alone or sometimes in pairs. Apart from the breeding season, they are not often seen together.

How long does a Sunda pangolin live?

The Sunda pangolin lifespan can reach 20 years in captivity, but it could exceed it. Not much research is available about their average lifespan in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

There is not much information about the process of Sunda pangolin reproduction. It is assumed that males have to compete for females and a polygamous system of mating is followed.

The Sunda pangolin breeds in autumn and the gestation period lasts about 130 days. Females give birth to one or two offspring in a winter burrow and the babies reach sexual maturity in one year.

What is their conservation status?

The protection status of Sunda pangolins is listed as Critically Threatened. All pangolin species are at some stage of being threatened due to illegal trade or hunting.

These animals are usually hunted for their meat, scales, and skin. Their scales are used to craft Chinese medicine or other ointments around the world, while the meat of this species is often eaten by indigenous tribes.

The body parts are often smuggled and considered exotic food. Although they have a protected status in many places, the population numbers of Sunda pangolins are steadily decreasing.

Sunda Pangolin Fun Facts

What do Sunda pangolins look like?

Sunda pangolins are mammals with tough keratin scales that cover most of their body. They are covered from the nose to the midsection with 17 to 19 scales on the body and around 20 rows of scales on their tails.

The color of pangolin scales ranges from olive brown to yellow. The gray-to-bluish underbelly is the only soft part of the body and is covered with light hair. Sunda pangolins also have powerful claws that they can use to dig into the soil.

Detail of scales of a Sunda Pangolin.

How cute are they?

A Sunda pangolin looks timid, almost as if they are afraid to ask for a favor. While their scales are reminiscent of a dragon, these pangolins look cute to us.

How do they communicate?

There is not enough information about the mode of communication Sunda pangolin uses. The main way of communication is assumed to be through smell or scent marking. They can also use sound and body language, especially with offspring, mates, and rivals.

How big is a Sunda pangolin?

The body of a Sunda pangolin can grow up to 15.7-25.5 in (40–65 cm) with a tail length of 13.7-22 in (35–56 cm). Males are larger than females and their maximum weight can go up to 22 lb (10 kg). They are double the size of a small silky anteater.

How fast can a Sunda pangolin move?

There is no research related to the speed of a Sunda pangolin. Typically, they are said to be very slow and lazy unless faced with some danger.

How much does a Sunda pangolin weigh?

The average weight of Sunda pangolin ranges from 11-15 lb (5-6.8 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and female of this Sunda pangolin species.

What would you call a baby Sunda pangolin?

A baby Sunda pangolin can be called a pangopup.

What do they eat?

The diet of a Sunda pangolin mainly includes ants or termite nests. Sunda pangolins are insectivores and use their claws to dig into ant nests. When threatened with a danger they cannot escape, the Sunda pangolin can curl up into a ball as a self-defense measure. Their main predators are humans, leopards, and pythons.

Are they dangerous?

Sunda pangolins are not dangerous. If anything, they have become an endangered species because of humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Sunda pangolins are endangered and belong either to the wild or to wildlife sanctuaries. They will not make good pet as it is not allowed to adopt them.

Did you know...

Almost all pangolin species have a very long tongue that can help them catch insects from far distances. The length of a Sunda pangolin's tongue can go up to 9.8 in (25 cm).

Do people eat pangolins?

Yes, many indigenous tribes eat pangolin meat. It is also considered to be an exotic food delicacy and is often smuggled through illegal trade.

How has the Sunda pangolin evolved?

Sunda pangolin evolution throughout the years has become necessary for its survival. They have longer tongues to reach far into animal nests while feeding. Sunda pangolins are brown to blend into their surroundings and their hard scales prevent water loss.

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 short-beaked echidna, or squirrel monkeys.

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

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Written by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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Fact-checked by Diya Patel

Bachelor of Science specializing in in Computer Science

Diya Patel picture

Diya PatelBachelor of Science specializing in in Computer Science

A member of Kidadl's fact-checking team, Diya is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science from Ahmedabad University with an interest in exploring other fields. As part of her degree, she has taken classes in communications and writing to expand her knowledge and skills.

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