Today we have a quick little doodlewash of a pangolin, which comes in 8 different species and lives in Asia and Africa (suggested by Tiffany Tomkinson @dreamnaut). The size of pangolin varies a lot by species from 12 to 39 inches (30 to 100 cm). These creatures have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin and are the only known mammals with this adaptation. They don’t chew their food as they don’t have any teeth, but use their massive tongues, up to 27.5 inches (70cm) in length, to catch insects. All species of pangolin are currently listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ as threatened with extinction. And it should come as no surprise at this point in our tour, that this is entirely because of its human predators.
In many parts of Africa, pangolin are a popular type of bush meat and they are also in great demand in Southern China, where they believe their scales have medicinal qualities. The increasing threats to pangolins, mainly in the form of illegal, international trade in pangolin skin, scales, and meat, have caused attention from conservationists in recent years. The IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group launched a global action plan to conserve pangolins, dubbed ‘Scaling up Pangolin Conservation’ in July 2014.
Pangolins are nocturnal and rather secretive creatures so scientists know relatively little about their life in the wild. Their scales serve as protection, but due to the lack of scales on the nose, eyes, ears and belly, pangolins have a few other tricks up their sleeve. When threatened, they can curl up into a ball of pangolin armor and if that fails to do the trick they’ll fart on their predator. Well actually, they can use the glands on their anus to produce a foul smelling acid, similar to that of a skunk. Sadly, this handy feature has failed to deter humans from killing them making them one of the most endangered mammal groups in the world. For more information on this intriguing uncommon creature, visit savepangolins.org.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Green Pale, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal