How’d I miss that? It’s perfect for Wacky Wednesday!

by Janie Jones

Apparently today was Earth Day.  Silly Janie, I thought I missed Earth Day back in March.

Well, Leif texted me earlier this morning to tell me to take the Google Earth Day quiz.  It just takes a couple minutes and it will tell you what kind of animal you would be if you weren’t a person.

It would seem we are both pangolins.

You're a pangolin

Happy Earth Day, indeed.

Now, if you are like me and have never really heard of a pangolin before, here’s the skinny:

According to Wikipedia, they are also known as scaly anteaters or trenggilings.

The pangolin is a mammal of the order Pholidota. The one extant family, Manidae, has one genus, Manis, which comprises eight species. These species range in size from 30 to 100 cm (12 to 39 in). A number of extinct Pangolin species are also known. The name Pangolin comes from the Malay word “pengguling”, meaning “something that rolls up.”  It is found naturally in tropical regions throughout Africa and Asia.

Pangolins have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin. The pangolin is the only known mammal with this adaptation. They live in hollow trees or burrows, depending on the species. Pangolins are nocturnal, and their diet consists of mainly ants and termites which they capture using their long, specially adapted tongues. They tend to be solitary animals, meeting only to mate and produce a litter of one to three offspring which are raised for about two years.

-Wikipedia

Other curious facts about pangolins, courtesy of Wikipedia:

  1. They are the most trafficked mammal in the world.
  2. The front claws are so long they are unsuited for walking, so the animal walks with its fore paws curled over to protect them.
  3. It can curl up into a ball when threatened, with its overlapping scales acting as armor and its face tucked under its tail. The scales are sharp, providing extra defense.
  4. Pangolins can also emit a noxious-smelling acid from glands near the anus, similar to the spray of a skunk.
  5. Pangolins lack teeth and, therefore, the ability to chew, however, they ingest small stones while foraging, which accumulate in the muscular stomach and help to grind up ants.
  6. The tongues of pangolins are extremely elongated, extending into the abdominal cavity and are longer than the pangolin’s entire body length.  Large pangolins can extend their tongues as much as 40 centimeters (16 in), and have a diameter of only 0.5 centimeters (0.20 in).

Want to see this bizarre critter in action?  Here’s a National Geographic Wild video on YouTube.

pangolin video

Well, now, that was fun, wasn’t it?  And I learned something new.  How about you?

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