Extant Laurasiatheria


Order: Pholidota
Family: Manidae
Species: 7

There are only 7 extant species of pangolins but are wide spread throughout the western world. Similar to armadillos, pangolins are covered in overlapping scales that act as body armour. They have long tongues that can be extended as far as 25 cm with which they collect ants and termites. They do not have teeth and so 'chew' their food with strong muscles in the stomach. Like woodlice, pangolins can roll themselves into a tight ball when threatened. The overlapping scales then act as a hard outer casing, preventing any soft areas of skin from being exposed. Some species live in trees, using their strong claws and prehensile tails for balance, other species live on the ground in burrows. One or two offspring are produced after a gestation period of 120 days.


Example species:

Chinese pangolin
Manis pentadactyla

Length: 54-80 cm
Weight: 2-7 kg
Social unit: Individual
Region: East to South-East Asia
Status: Lower risk


Temminck's pangolin
Manis temminki

Length: 50-60 cm
Weight: 15-18 kg
Social unit: Individual
Region: East to Southern Africa
Status: Lower risk

Long-tailed pangolin (Manis tetradactyla)
Bristol City Museum



Author: Emma-Louise Nicholls
Last updated: 20th November 2005
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Websites produced by students on the MSc Palaeobiology programme in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol for academic year 2005-6