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7 Pangolin Species You Need To Know About

The incredible pangolin has been described as both a "scaly anteater" and a "cross between a sloth and an armadillo." Meet seven species of one of the most fascinating animals on the planet.

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1. Ground Pangolin

The ground pangolin is found in Africa, especially in the south and east of the continent. Though present over a large area, they are extremely rare due to their endangered designation. They are difficult to spot since they spend much time underground and in dense vegetation. In fact, the ground pangolin is the only species that is entirely terrestrial.

2. Tree Pangolin

Unlike the ground variety, the tree pangolin is the most common forest pangolin. They are more adaptable than other species. They are semi-arboreal, preferring to spend much of their time in the trees of tropical forests. Their tongues can be as long as 27 inches and actually stretch from chest to pelvis.

3. Sunda pangolin

The Sunda pangolin is a semi-arboreal species from southeast Asia. The tiger and clouded leopard are its main animal predators. It protects itself from predators and hunters by rolling up into a scaly ball.


4. Long-Tailed Pangolin / Via

The tail length suggested by its name is 24-28 inches, compared to the 12-20 inch tails of the ground pangolin. Their long tail makes them most adept at gripping branches. Despite their long tails, they are still the smallest species of African pangolin.

5. Chinese Pangolin

During a Laotian war, US pilots found a strange 'critter' that was most likely a Chinese pangolin kept as a pet in the secret base they had invaded. After the creature's accidental death, it was preserved in a mayonnaise jar filled with alcohol and sent to the Smithsonian for identification. While the institution did not respond, one of the pilots later determined its identity from a Laotian postage stamp.

6. Indian Pangolin

This native of India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal is hunted for its meat, a delicacy, and for the ingredients of a medicinal oil. Many believe pangolins possess special healing powers. Their scales are used as an aphrodisiac or made into jewelry. While their habitats are protected by national legislation, that hasn't slowed down pangolin hunting in these areas.

7. Giant Pangolin

The giant pangolin is the largest species of pangolin. It has been difficult for scientists to have direct contact with giant pangolins in the wild, so statistics on weight are scarce. One specimen weighed in at 72.6 pounds. Like many of the other species, the giant pangolin is native to Africa, but its population is in decline due to deforestation and hunting.

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