Cape Pangolin Facts


Latin name: Manis temminckii

15 - 20 years in captivity. Their lifespan in the wild is unknown.

Weight:  10 - 18 kg (22 – 39.6 pounds)

Pangolins diet and feeding:

Ants and termites form part of their main diet.

When searching for food they use their acute sense of smell to locate active ant and termite nests. These nests are broken open with their sharp claws.

By inserting their long sticky tongues deep into these nests tunnels the Pangolin is able to collect the ants and termites.

Distribution of the Cape Pangolin:

Cape Pangolin breeding and reproduction:
After a successful copulation the female has a 135- 140 day gestation period. She gives birth to a single youngster that’s stays and feeds in the den.

After 3 – 4 weeks the youngster leaves the den and hitches a ride on the mother’s tail or back until it is strong enough to keep up and walk with its mother.

The dens used to hide their young and to sleep in are normally old burrows dug by out by aardvarks and springhares.


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The Interesting facts on Pangolins:
They are also known by the names Ground pangolin and Scaly anteater.
Pangolins are covered in thick scales over most of their bodies. Their face and under-parts are covered with a sparse coat of fur. As a defense mechanism the Cape Pangolin will roll up into a ball to cover its face and vulnerable under-parts.
As a secondary defense they have scent glands which can be used to spray a powerful odour onto enemies.
The Cape Pangolin is a very capable swimmer and can also walk on its hind legs. When running it can reach a speed of 5km/hour.
The Pangolin has a very long tongue that measures up to 25cm (10 inches), when not in use it is “packed away” into a pouch located in the throat.
As they lack teeth, the sand that gets mixed into the ants and termites when feeding is taken into the stomach and assists in grounding down the food.
While excavating for food the pangolin is capable of closing its ears and nostrils to prevent the ants and termites form entering these cavities.
Sadly their population numbers are very low due to electric fencing, pesticides, and people hunting them to use their scales in traditional medicines and their skins for leather boots.

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