Saturday, December 4, 2010

PANGOLINS


Maybe you think you have never heard of a pangolin, but if you have ever heard of a spiny anteater, then you have heard of a pangolin because it's the same thing.  I don't know why some of these animals have a bunch of different names, but they do.  And it's pretty darned confusing, if you ask me!

Anyway, pangolins don't even have spines.  What they have is scales all over them, so they look like lizards or some kind of reptile, but they are really mammals, just like dogs and people are.  There are 8 species of pangolin, and 4 of them live in Africa, and 4 live in Asia.  The African species are the ground pangolin, tree pangolin, giant pangolin, and long-tailed pangolin.  The Asian species are the Indian pangolin, Chinese pangolin, Malayan pangolin, and Philippine pangolin.


The smallest pangolin is the long-tailed pangolin, which has a body that is 12--14 inches long, and the biggest pangolin is the giant pangolin, and it is  49--55 inches long.  I am going to mostly talk about the giant pangolin because it's one of the pangolins that live in Africa, which is where basenjis come from.  But a lot of things are the same with different species of pangolins, except that some live in trees and some live under the ground in burrows.


The name "pangolin" comes from a Malaysian word, and it means "rolling up in a ball."  This is a very good name for this animal because the way it keeps from getting eaten by predators is to make itself into a ball with the scaly parts on the outside to protect it.  The main predators of pangolins are lions, tigers, leopards, hyenas, and humans.  Besides using their scales to protect themselves, pangolins can also lash out with their tails or spray yucky-smelling stuff like skunks do.



The main food that pangolins like to eat is ants and termites, but sometimes they will also eat other small insects.  Pangolins sleep all day and then they come out at night and they go around looking for termite nests that they can break open.  Pangolins can't see very well, but their hearing is very good, and so is their sense of smell.  Which is how they find all the ants and termites.  Also they can walk on their hind legs, and that way they can use their front feet to dig into nests.

Pangolins don't have any teeth, but they don't need any because they have these really long, sticky tongues.  In fact, a pangolin tongue can be more than 14 inches long!  So when they dig into a termite or ant nest with their sharp claws, they just put their tongues in there, and the insects stick to their tongues.  The ants and termites get swallowed whole, and to help get them digested, pangolins also swallow a few little stones.


Baby pangolins have very soft scales when they are born, but these scales are already starting to get hard by the second day.  When the babies are about a month old, they go out with them moms to learn how to find termites and ants.  The mama pangolins can protect the babies by rolling their bodies around the babies' bodies.


The Malayan pangolin and the Chinese pangolin are ENDANGERED, and the Indian, tree, Philippine and giant pangolin species are THREATENED.  In China and some other places in Asia, pangolin scales are used in herbal medicine to make blood flow better, to reduce swelling, to help mothers nurse their babies, and for some other stuff.  Also pangolin meat is something that a lot of Chinese people like to eat.
Pangolin fetus soup
So many pangolins have been hunted down in China that there aren't a whole lot left, and now African species of pangolins are being sent to China.  There are people who are making a bunch of money doing this, even though it is ILLEGAL because the pangolin is an animal that is supposed to be protected.  And another thing that is happening to the pangolin is that the places where it lives are being destroyed so that people can make farms and cities.

Anyway, that's what I know about pangolins.  I wish I had happier news about them, but I don't.  I just hope they don't go extinct, because that would be very sad.

22 comments:

  1. Dodi here! I get to write because Di got to write earlier. Yucky is all I can say about the pangolins! When my mom saw the pangolin soup she said yucky too - but she also said that just because we might choose not to eat it, doesn't make it wrong that others do. I certainly disagree with that thought! My mom also said she hates to think of any animal, reptile, etc., become extinct - whatever that means. OH...Di wrote a long comment on the blog before this one. My mom just got back in town, so is/was behind in reading "Pipers Blog."
    Love, Dodi

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  2. Dodi forgot to say, "HAPPY belated BIRTHDAY" to Barry!! Sorry for the late wishes. I hope your day was wonderful, and I also hope the rumor of you getting some fish or was it chicken is TRUE! :)
    Love, AP

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  3. Dear Dodi,
    My mom also said "yuck" when she saw the pangolin soup picture, but to be honest, it looked really yummy to me! I think I could gobble it up in no time at all. But I guess if eating pangolins will make them be extinct, it is better to eat chickens and fish and stuff like that.

    Barry said to tell you thanks for the birthday wishes. He got some fish-and-potatoes food like Gabe gets to eat, so that made him happy.

    Love, Piper

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  4. Happened upon this via Google, you seem to have been mislead about the pangolin's nickname: it's the "scaly" anteater, not the "spiny" anteater. The "spiny" one is the critter also called the Echnida, which does have spines.

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  5. Dear ayellowbirds,
    I don't know where I came up with "spiny" anteater. You are so right -- it should be "scaly" anteater. Anybody can see that these animals have scales and not spines! I am sure this is all the fault of my mom, who is my Chief Research Assistant. I would fire her, except that nobody else wants the job! Thank you very much for pointing out this mistake in my blog.
    Sincerely, Piper

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  6. These are wonderful animals, but are at risk of becoming extinct. A fetus is an animal that's not yet been born. Soup made of the fetus of an endangered species is grotesque and illegal. Only a human monster could eat this. I can hope that the person who killed this creature and its mother are eaten by the ants and termites that these animals would have eaten. Shame

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  7. Pangolins are endangered and it's illegal to kill them. Where did you see this crime?

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  8. Dear Anonymous,
    I agree that people who kill and eat pangolins are very bad people. This is why the pangolins are almost extinct in some places. I found the picture of the fetus soup on a National Geographic site where they are talking about pangolin poachers. You can see the article here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/photogalleries/pangolin-poaching-soup-pictures/index.html

    Thank you for reading my blog and writing a comment.

    Piper

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  9. WOW! I am so ill looking at the soup. Our 8year old daughter is doing a report on pangolins. I have to say that I wish she would of never came across that photo. It made all of us ill but just broke her heart so bad and cried. I can understand people eatting different things we all live in different parts of this world, but do eat some thing like that, to get your hands on it the way they do. Now that isn't human at all.

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    1. Yes, it is very sad what people eat sometimes, but I guess tastes are very different in other parts of the world. Some people even eat dogs, which is totally uncalled for, if you ask me! Anyway, I am sorry that your daughter got upset when she saw the picture. I think she must have a very kind and caring heart.

      Piper

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  10. i love basenji's

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    1. What's not to love about basenjis? Hahahaha! I'm glad you liked reading about pangolins.

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  11. soooo much soooo dam much

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  12. my favorite pangolin is the tree pangolin

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  13. all i can say is that these are wonderful creatures, and the people who eat them are truly heartless monsters. i feel sick when i look at that soup, not because it looks 'yucky', but because it is so incredibly sad that people could bring themselves to eat an endangered species. its so sad that so many humans are so horrid. its an honest fact that the world would be better without us. loved this blog by the way.

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  14. I wonder whether ppl would CHOSE to eat pangolins if other available options are chicken, duck or beef (easier to prepare, right?)
    AND I wonder where from did the author get the impression of "Also pangolin meat is something that a lot of Chinese people like to eat"
    Because I'm Taiwanese Chinese, and I also have worked with Mainland Chinese for long years and NEVER EVER heard any CHINESE fellow saying "I'd like to eat some pangolin" or "Hey, my wife just got some pangolins to nurse our babies!"
    Were my family, uncles, cousins and friends, and customers and suppliers just the LUCKY FEW being able to afford meat and proper medicine instead of hunting down pangolins?

    But if pangolins are so "delicious AND healthy" why haven't anyone tried to breed them like lobsters or pandas (if Chinese could breed pandas, surely they could breed pangolins, if their meat are sooooo high in demand)

    Have you ever set foot on any Chinese territory to say "Also pangolin meat is something that A LOT of Chinese people like to eat"?? How many Chinese have you ever met to make such insulting statement, civilized ppl?

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  15. Btw, that "Pangolin fetus soup": SINCE WHEN are Chinese table set ups looking like that?!
    Have you ever been to any Chinese home or restaurant and they would use such table cloth, such patterned plate, knife and spoon on dinner table? Would you use chopsticks to eat beef steak??
    And WHAT kind of a Chinese would cook pangolin meat like a onion soup?!

    Don't frame Chinese with that "yucky" fetus killing photo, just because you are too lazy to do researches and think Chinese are too dumb to read English.
    Chinese are HUMANS like you, there are bad ppl and good ppl. rich, fat or starving or uneducated, genius and elites, killers and rapers like you got in your environment.

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    1. Hate to tell you Kimberly but Chinese people eat anything that moves, bear gallbladder, birds nest, snakes and dog meat which is cooked up in festivals every year. Do you live under a rock in China? Chinese people will eat anything and they also use pangolin scales as medicine. I think you should know the country you live in so lets not pretend Chinese people don't eat any animal they can get there hands on, I am not trying to offend you but I know its the truth. Here is a article about how Chinese people are killing pangolins to extinction for meat and scales, so before you get up on your high horses YOU SHOULD READ AND RESERACH what you claim. And like I said Chinese people eat just about every animal out there, I live in British Columbia Canada and we have a massive population of Chinese people and I have had two Chinese boyfriends and I have been to Honk Kong, mainland China and Macau and the horrors of how people treat animals in China is sickening so please cut the crap Kimberly Lin. I think you need to quit lying to yourself and check out some them street markets and vendors where you live because you are in denial.

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    2. Here is just one article about pangolins I could post an article and pictures to any of the claims I made because I have read research and seen with my own two eyes.
      http://t.news.ca.msn.com/meet-the-pangolin-being-eaten-to-extinction-7#image=13
      http://t.news.ca.msn.com/meet-the-pangolin-being-eaten-to-extinction-7#image=14

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  16. Hi, Kimberly,

    This is Piper's human "mom." First, I want to say that I am very sorry that you were offended by this blog entry, since it was never my intent to be judgmental or to imply that anyone was less than human. I have been to China twice and have met many wonderful Chinese people. I have every respect for Chinese culture. When I was in China, I ate in a lot of restaurants (always with chopsticks!) and in a few private homes. As far as I know, I did not eat any pangolin (or dog) meat. I imagine that these foods are only served in certain parts of the country, where they are traditional fare. If you do an internet search on "eating pangolin meat," you will find quite a bit of information on this topic. Here's one article, for example: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/apr/15/chinese-vessel-philippine-reef-illegal-pangolin-meat The photo that you objected to may have been taken in Vietnam rather than in China. The article in which it appeared did not make that point clear.

    Anyway, I apologize again for any offense I may have caused to any Chinese person or to anyone else. I would love to go back to China -- I just need to save up enough money to make the trip!

    Sincerely, Eva

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    1. Eva you are absolutely right in what you said about pangolins and China, Kimberly is a bully and apparently in a huge amount of denial and proud of her barbaric country. They eat and kill exotic animals, endangered animals, they kill bears just for their gallbladders and even domesticated pets like dogs are cooked in huge amounts at festivals every year in Yulin China and I applaud you for you for bringing attention to the pangolins and how they are killing them for meat in scales in countries like China.
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/06/20/animal-rights-activists-target-dog-eating-festival-in-china/

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