Pangolin Sighting!



Sunda pangolin, or Manis javanica (photo: Konamoto Dominic)


On the evening of April 22, there was this rare sighting of a pangolin by Konamoto Dominic, who often frequents Bukit Brown, the resting place of his ancestors. This was at Hill 3, the largest of the hillocks at Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetery.

There are eight pangolin species, also known as scaly anteaters, according to SavePangolin.org. The site says:

“Pangolins, often called “scaly anteaters,” are covered in tough, overlapping scales. These burrowing mammals eat ants and termites using an extraordinarily long, sticky tongue, and are able to quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball when threatened. Eight different pangolin species can be found across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Poaching for illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss have made these incredible creatures one of the most endangered groups of mammals in the world.”

“All three Asian species are opportunistic and can be found foraging both in trees and on the ground… Some pangolin species even have semi-prehensile tails—they can grasp and hang from branches with their tails, which aids them in climbing.

“Pangolin scales provide good defense against predators. When threatened, pangolins can quickly curl into a ball, protecting their defenseless undersides. They also deter predators by hissing and puffing, and lashing their sharp edged tails. Pangolins, dependent on their strong sense of smell, identify their territories by scent marking with urine and secretions from a special gland, and by scattering feces. Scientists suspect that these odors advertise dominance and sexual status, and may also help individuals recognize each other.”

It describes the Malayan or Sunda pangolin (above) is an endangered species. For more details and images, click here.

Brownie alert: If you see this pangolin, please give it a wide berth and let it enjoy the safety of its own habitat. Animals have a right to their own safe space. We prefer a blurry photo and fond memories, than a clear close-up and a stressed-out pangolin, don’t you agree? 

You can see images of pangolins here: baby, curled up.

p/s  The English name “pangolin” comes from the Malay word peng-guling, which means “roller”, referring to the animal’s habit of rolling up into a ball. (Britannica)