What the hell is that?!
What the hell is that!?

Is it a dragon? A tiny left behind dinosaur? Maybe some poor scientist genetically crafted his daughter a real live Pokémon? But in actuality, it is a Tree Pangolin, also known as the African White-Bellied Pangolin.

This animal was recently moved from the ‘of least concern’ to the ‘near threatened’ category on the Endangered Species List. I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but look at this thing! It’s just a suit of armor with a long sticky tongue, how cool is that? The long tongue is coated in mucus, which makes it useful for catching bugs while it traverses the treetops of the African rainforests. It’s bug eating ability is where it plays its largest role in the environment, keeping the insect population down. Which results in keeping those large, disgusting, scary things far away from me.

Pangolin Tongue

Oh my anti-bug hero!

The Pangolin is suffering from habitat destruction as one of  its major endangerment concerns. Which is a shame because its species is very diverse, and able to inhabit many different living conditions. However the White African Pangolin , also know as the “Tree Pangolin” (because it in fact dwells in trees preferably). Deforestation is something that is affecting not just the Pangolins but the whole planet, and if we must save the forests and conserve the earth, we must also keep the modern Dinos safe as well, along with their habitat. As it stands now there are only TWO Pangolins in North America in captivity for study and preservation. If you are interested here is a video showing one of the pangolins in captivity. http://youtu.be/OtcJJNenq8M

The Pangolin is as if you were looking back in time at a Dragon (yes debatable if they really did exist) or a Dinosaur. These creatures have a wonderful golden plated back but a soft underbelly with hair and mammal like features for being such a throw back of reptile splendor. As beautiful as the are the are often used for medication purposes and also killed for much less than ascetics or fashion  in its native lands. It is a shame that something so armored could be in fact to vulnerable.

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14 responses »

  1. Amanda Koh says:

    This creature seems almost like an armadillo and an ant eater combined! Very cool.

  2. Jacob Berrier says:

    It does look like a pokemon! They are also nocturnal and their diet consists primarily of termites.

  3. April Marcuzzo says:

    They’re so cute! I’d heard about them once before. We need more of these scaly little mammals.

  4. Leo Costa says:

    Deforestation is on a global scale. Many speceis are on the brink of extinction as a result. Its a shame that we humans are not just destroying the planet but also killing off entire species.

  5. Wow, I had no idea such a thing existed, such an awesome armor pattern. So what is it technically? a mammal or a reptile. I thought this post was a good read with all the pokemon and dragon references, the title especially attracted me in the first place. An interesting read over all… I’ll probably actually look these guys up for some further information.

  6. patrick bradford says:

    I have never seen anything like that before in my life but… I am going to steal one that thing is amazing! sad that they are used for such useless things like fashion

  7. It really is a shame that such a cool looking creature is endangered(or any creature for that matter) 😦

  8. Jillian :D says:

    This animal looks so cute. I have never heard of this animal before until today. I would definitely go to Africa to see this “African White-Bellied Pangolin”. It looks like a dragon with the scales and the soft underbelly as well as its long and lizard-like tongue. I don’t really view it much as a dinosaur. It has the potential to, but I don’t know. I would think it is a reptile by the way it looks because of its scales, but apparently it is a mammal. Reminds me of an anteater because it eats insects and because of its facial features. The fact that there are only two more left in North America is outrageous!! Why don’t we have more?? Hello!!! This animal is so freaking cool!! Why not save it? Especially if it has the potential to be a dragon or dinosaur. 🙂

  9. Since I discovered the marvel that is the pangolin years ago, I’ve held them in the highest regard as one of my favorite creatures. They’re one of the closest things to a real live Pokemon that I have ever encountered. I visited a few parts of China a year ago and during my trip had the fortune of encountering a middle aged man carrying a adolescent Pangolin in his arms whilst simply strolling down the streets of Nanchang. Such remarkable creatures!

  10. I would totally have that as a pet…or pokemon. It’s adorable, so sad there aren’t many of them. This world needs dinosaurs, but only dinosaurs that eats things we don’t like, like bugs. 🙂

  11. Dave Swanson says:

    Animals like this are the reason we need to put more resources into saving our rain forests. Every day many undiscovered species go extinct because we can’t get enough paper products. We could easily make many of the products created from wood from other more renewable resources such as cotton or even corn, yet we don’t even try.

  12. This is such a cool looking animal, I actually discovered its existence on Threadless when a girl submitted this nifty pangolin design which she humorously names infinity artichoke!

    http://www.threadless.com/submission/328943/Infinity_Artichoke

    -Victor Maury

  13. I really love how they are so cool and are really chill. You wouldn’t think that a DRAGON, would be so nice. Its a shame that people try to eat them though, but I bet its pretty HARD, to chew, because they are such a TOUGH animal to come across. lol (BAD PUNS ARE BAD.) sorry.

  14. I have heard of these creatures. I think they are in the same family as the Ant-Eater due to the similar head structure and look/use of their tongue. They are so cute I want one

    ~Mackenzie Vartanian

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