The Pangolin

Have you ever heard of a pangolin? It's a cool creature that is sometimes called a “scaly anteater.” Its body is covered with overlapping scales that help to protect it. When a pangolin is frightened or anxious it can roll into a tight ball that only leaves the tough scales exposed. All those scales act like armor and make the pangolin a less appealing snack for predators.

Although a pangolin doesn’t have any teeth, it does have very sharp claws. It uses these claws to excavate burrows and dig for insects. It also has a long sticky tongue which makes it easy for the pangolin to eat ants and termites.

There are eight different pangolin species that can be found in Asia and Africa. However, pangolins are protected animals and some are even considered endangered species. Governments and conservation groups work to save these animals and their habitats. This pangolin was specifically donated to the museum by the Office of Law Enforcement at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They donate confiscated items to educational facilities to help teach about wildlife and endangered species.

Of the eight species of pangolin, the one pictured is a ground pangolin (Manis temminckii), also known as Temminck's pangolin or the Cape pangolin.