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|Sunda pangolin range|
It is found throughout Southeast Asia, including Brunei, Cambodia, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, the Lesser Sunda Islands, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. It prefers forested habitats (primary, secondary, and scrub forest) and plantations (rubber, palm oil). A large part of its life is spent in trees.
In the past, this species has included the closely related Palawan pangolin (M. culionensis), as both are in the subgenus Paramanis. It is closely related to the Chinese pangolin, although the Malayan species is larger, lighter in colour, and has shorter fore claws.
The skin of the Sunda pangolin's feet is granular, although pads are found on its front feet. 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, but a highly developed sense of smell. Lacking teeth, its long, sticky tongue serves to collect ants and termites. Its body is covered by rows of scales and fibrous hair. The head-body length of this pangolin can measure 40–65 cm, tail length is 35–56 cm, and its weight is up to 10 kg. Males are larger than females.
Behaviour and ecology
Pangolins give birth annually to one or two offspring. They breed in the autumn, and females give birth in the winter burrow. Den preference has been known to shift at this time to favor mature forest tree hollows. Presumably, these hollows offer more fortification and stability for the decreased mobility that comes with birthing and caring for young. The amount of time the mother will spend at any one of these dens will increase during parental care periods. Parental care is given for about three months. In these three months, the range of the mother Pangolin drastically decreases as she travels and forages with her offspring. Only a few weeks before the offspring becomes fully independent, the mother and her young can display brief spikes in diurnal activity. Pangolins are sometimes found in pairs, but normally they are solitary, nocturnal, and behave timidly. They protect their soft underparts by rolling into balls when they feel threatened. They are strong diggers and make burrows lined with vegetation for insulation near termite mounds and ant nests.
Sunda pangolins have low immunity, making them sensitive to fluctuations in temperature.
Pangolins as a genus are among the most heavily poached and exploited protected animals. Like other pangolin species, the Sunda pangolin is hunted for its skin, scales, and meat, used in clothing manufacture and traditional medicine. Scales are made into rings as charms against rheumatic fever, and meat is eaten by indigenous peoples. Despite enjoying protected status almost everywhere in its range, illegal international trade, largely driven by Chinese buyers, has led to rapidly decreasing population numbers. The Sunda pangolin is currently considered to be critically endangered.
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- Shepherd, Chris R.; Shepherd, Loretta Ann (2012). A Naturalist's Guide to the Mammals of Southeast Asia. Wiltshire, UK: John Beaufoy Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 978-1906780715.
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- Tang, Karisa N.; Buoscio, Dana; Langan, Jennifer; Adkesson, Michael J.; Chinnadurai, Sathya; Aitken-Palmer, Copper (2018). "Echocardiographic Parameters in African White-Bellied Pangolins (Phataginus Tricuspis) Without Cardiac Disease". Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. doi:10.1002/zoo.21388. PMID 29148093.
- "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. Missing or empty
- Carrington, Damian (28 September 2016). "Pangolins thrown a lifeline at global wildlife summit with total trade ban". Theguardian.com.
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