Sunda pangolin

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Sunda pangolin[1]
Pangolin borneo.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Pholidota
Family: Manidae
Genus: Manis
Species: M. javanica
Binomial name
Manis javanica
Desmarest, 1822
Sunda Pangolin area.png
Sunda pangolin range

The Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica), also known as the Malayan or Javan pangolin, is a species of pangolins[1] found in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Indonesia (Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and the Lesser Sunda Islands), Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Singapore.[2] These pangolins are found in Southeast Asia’s forested habitats (primarily, secondary, scrub forest) and plantations (rubber, palm oil). Mostly, they spend time within trees, resting or searching food.


In the past, this species has included the closely related Palawan pangolin (M. culionensis), as both are in the subgenus Paramanis.[3] It is closely related to the Chinese pangolin, although the Malayan species is larger, lighter in colour, and has shorter fore claws.


Photo from 1932

The skin of its feet is granular, although pads are found on its front feet. Its tail has 30 scales.

It has thick and powerful claws to dig into the soils in search of ant nests or to tear into termite mounds. The sunda pangolin has poor eyesight which improves its great sense of smell. It has no teeth. Instead, its long, sticky tongue helps it collect ants and termites in small crevices. Its body is covered by rows of scales and fibrous hair. The head-body length of this pangolin is up to a ashtonishing 65 cm, tail length is up to 56 cm, and its weight is up to 10 kg. Males are larger than females.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

Pangolins give birth annually to one or two offspring. They breed in the autumn, and females give birth in the winter burrow. Parental care will be given for about three months. Pangolins are sometimes found in pairs, but normally they are solitary, noctural, and behave timidly. They protect their soft underparts by rolling into balls when they feel threatened. They are strong diggers and will make burrows lined with vegetation for insulation near termite mounds and ant nests.

The Sunda pangolin's main predators are tigers and the clouded leopard.

Relationship with humans[edit]

Pangolins are hunted for their skins, scales, and meat for the superstitious belief that they possess special healing powers. Scales are made into rings as charms against rheumatic fever, and meat is eaten by indigenous peoples. Skins are also used to make shoes.[4]


  1. ^ a b Schlitter, D. A. (2005). "Order Pholidota". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 530. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ a b Challender, D., Nguyen Van, T., Shepherd, C., Krishnasamy, K., Wang, A., Lee, B., Panjang, E., Fletcher, L., Heng, S., Seah Han Ming, J., Olsson, A., Nguyen The Truong, A., Nguyen Van, Q. & Chung, Y. (2014). "Manis javanica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  3. ^ Schlitter, D. A. (2005). "Subgenus Paramanis". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 530. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  4. ^ "The Sunda Pangolin has a long history of being traded internationally. In Asia it has the undesirable status as the mammal most frequently found in illicit trade.". IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group. 

External links[edit]