Pangolins are an interesting African animal, native to around fifteen African nations. Similar in appearance to an Armadillo, Pangolins have a series of scales which act as a deterrent for attacks and aid in its protection. The Pangolin finds its home as far north as Chad and Sudan and stretches down through eastern African nations such as Kenya, Tanzania, parts of Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. They prefer dense forest and forested savannas for their natural homes. Typically solitary, they will only meet to mate. In parts of the world, including in Africa, it’s believed that Pangolin scales can be used as a variety of medicines including to cure cancer and asthma. Despite a ban on the sale of Pangolin materials, the humble Pangolin is experiencing a decline in numbers due to some forms of poaching and hunting. It’s a common bushmeat, however the scales and other parts of the Pangolin continue to make their way onto the animal trade market. There have been international bans put into place to help the Pangolin numbers stabilise. Their natural predators include leopards, lions and hyenas. Pangolins are typically 30-40 pounds in weight, with males weighing more than females. Their gestation period depends on their species, however the period is typically between 70-140 days. If left alone in their natural environments, a typical Pangolin lifespan is an impressive 20 years. It’s interesting to note that the scales of the Pangolin are actually not bone, but are actually made of keratin which human hair and nails are comprised of. The Pangolin will curl up in a ball and allow its hard keratin scales to protect it when it comes under attack from predators.
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