Animals

Tree Pangolin Facts You’ll Never Forget

One of the best tree pangolin facts is that this animal has sharp and strong scales made of keratin all over its body and has a particularly long sticky tongue too.
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This article is all about tree pangolins. Tree pangolins (also known as Phataginus tricuspid or the white bellied pangolin) are Asian and African insect-eating animals (mammals). Pangolins are known all around for their tough scales and, in times of emergency, tree pangolins can roll themselves up into a ball while wagging their tails briskly. They are known to use their body as their armor and their tails are also known as their 'fifth limb' as they support their body with it. Tree pangolin species are hunted regularly for their meat (which is used for both medicinal and fashion purposes), and this is the biggest reason for their Vulnerable status.

If you like reading these facts, you could also check out facts about the shrew or the rock hyrax.

Tree Pangolin

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Termites and ants

What do they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

1-2

How much do they weigh?

3.5–73 lb (1.6–33 kg)

How long are they?

Tail: 19–24 in (49–62 cm)

How tall are they?

13–17 in (33–43 cm)

What do they look like?

Olive or yellowish-brown, with some dark brown shades

Skin Type

Scales

What are their main threats?

Hyenas, python, leopards, humans

What is their conservation status?

Endangered

Where you'll find them

Lowland tropical forests, tropical savanna, and cultivated lands

Locations

Forests of central Africa

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Mammalia

Scientific Name

Manis tricuspis

Family

Manidae

Genus

Phataginus

Tree Pangolin Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tree pangolin?

A tree pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) is a pretty cute mammal with scales on its skin.

What class of animal do tree pangolins belong to?

The tree pangolin belongs to the mammals class of the animal kingdom. These creatures tend to have a body covered with keratin hair and have highly developed parental care for their young.

How many tree pangolins are there in the world?

There are eight species throughout the world, with four of them found in the continent of Asia (specifically in China, Sudan, the Philippines, and India). The other four species are found in the continent of Africa and are known as African pangolins). All eight species are listed as either Vulnerable or Endangered by the IUCN red list. With a population already so small, the steep rise in hunting and poaching makes these animals even more vulnerable. International trade is the main reason for the steep decline in their population.

Where does a tree pangolin live?

The white-bellied pangolin (Manis tricuspid) lives in tropical habitats, be it tropical forests or savannas. They are primarily spotted in two continents, Africa and Asia.

What is a tree pangolin's habitat?

Various countries (in the continents of Africa and Asia) are home to tree pangolins (the white-bellied pangolin). Countries like the Congo, Ghana, Guinea, and Cameroon are their primary habitats. Due to their nocturnal and shy nature, they prefer living in tropical forest habitats, surrounded by a minimum population and just supporting their own lifestyle.

Who do tree pangolins live with?

The tree pangolin species are solitary animals and they are usually spotted alone (apart from in their breeding season). They use their sense of smell to locate mates during breeding seasons but tend to avoid any contact with each other for the rest of the year and prefer sleeping in their underground, safe burros.

How long do tree pangolins live?

Although there hasn't been an official report on the tree pangolin species' lifespan living in the wild (due to their nocturnal and shy nature), those kept in captivity are known to have survived for up to 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Information known about the breeding and mating of the tree pangolin species is limited due to their nocturnal nature. However, they are known to have a gestation period of approximately 150 days, and their babies are not independent until the age of five months. These mammals can mate anytime throughout the year, however, this interaction is pretty brief. Also, female territories are often smaller than male territories, which makes them polygynous in nature.

What is their conservation status?

Although there aren't any particular statistics about their population, they are listed as an endangered species by the IUCN. The four species found in Asia are listed as Critically Endangered and the African species are categorized as Vulnerable.

Tree Pangolin Fun Facts

What do tree pangolins look like?

Tree Pangolins look like a scaly anteater as they have thick skin with scales all over their body. The pangolin scales cover their entire body and have thick sharp edges which are dangerous to touch, made of keratin. The entire body of a tree pangolin is covered with these scales except for its ears and belly (the belly and the face have fine soft hair all over). In terms of the color of their body, their scales are either a dark brown or pale olive color. The body structure of a tree pangolin consists of a long prehensile tail, a skinny pointed nose, hind legs, feet like claws, and a long sticky tongue. They have no teeth at all.

A tree pangolin is described as a scaly anteater.
* Please note that this is an image of an anteater, not a tree pangolin. Tree pangolins are often described as scaly anteaters. If you have an image of a tree pangolin please let us know at hello@kidadl.com.

How cute are they?

Tree pangolins (Manis tricuspis) are very cute mammals. They are known to be inquisitive as well as intelligent which makes them even cuter!

How do they communicate?

Tree pangolins are solitary animals but they use their sense of smell (using urine) to communicate with fellow tree pangolins and to mark their presence in certain areas. They are also known to make sounds using their scales, which rub against each other while they walk. Another form of interaction that is observed in this species is a male-to-male rivalry. Males don't tend to get along and often fight until one surrenders and leaves. These animals are also known to snort and chuff audibly and the males of the species are known to make a feeble hooting noise.

How big is a tree pangolin?

The biggest giant pangolin is known to be 5.9 ft (1.8 m) long and weighs up to 75 lb (34 kg). They are approximately 10 times smaller than a human.

How fast can a tree pangolin run?

They can run at a speed of 3 mph (5 kmph) as their hind legs help them run faster and climb trees. They are also known to stand up and run on two legs while using their long strong tail for support.

How much does a tree pangolin weigh?

The giant pangolin is  5.9 ft (1.8 m) long and weighs up to 75 lb (34 kg). The Chinese breed weighs up to 8 lb (3.6 kg) while the long-tailed pangolin weighs up to 6 lb (2.7 kg) and the smallest one weighs up to 3.3 lb (1.5 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Both genders are known by the same name: pangolin.

What would you call a baby tree pangolins?

At birth, a tree pangolin baby is also called a pangopup. Pangopups are known to be 6 in (15 cm) long and weigh 12 oz (340 g).

What do they eat?

They tend to feed on insects including termites and ants, found either on the ground or in trees. The diet of an average tree pangolin includes the consumption of approximately 6.3-7 oz (180-200 g) of insects like ants and termites each day.

Are they aggressive?

Tree pangolins are known to be shy in nature, however, they do tend to display male to male aggressive behavior traits. Other than this, the only mildly aggressive trait they display is whipping around their tails after rolling their body up completely.

Would they make a good pet?

Under the CITES it is illegal to keep a ground pangolin as your pet unless you have a special exemption (such as zoos have). Pangolins are not to be kept as pets.

Did you know...

In China the three cusped pangolin is killed for its meat, which is in turn used for the preparation of Chinese recipes used in traditional medications. Tree pangolins taste salty and are believed to increase immunity and reduce swelling.

The Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) is native to the Indian subcontinent.

Thanks to their scales, tree pangolins are often known as scaly anteaters.

Are tree pangolins sociable?

The tree pangolin is known for its shy nature. Pangolins live alone and tend to roll themselves up to look like a ball and whip around their scaly tail in order to tackle a predator or to avoid any interaction.

How long is a tree pangolin's tongue?

An average tree pangolin's tongue is known to extend up to 16 in (40 cm), with a thickness of 0.2 in (0.6 cm). Its tongue is often longer than its body (which is covered in scales) and is used to eat lots of insects, including ants and termites.

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 the dugong, or tamandua.

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

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