Focussing on the vertebrate
 fauna of SE Asia


SE Asia fauna ...  
 Other Large Mammals
 Squirrels & Small Mammals
 Lizards & Crocodilians
FFrogs & other calls
Species Lists

  SE Asia Vertebrate Records  (SEAVR) 2018  
New Guinea fauna ...  
 Articles & Publications
 News Links

Search this site ...




Recently added ...
    Links :  
  HOSCAP Borneo  
  Context Institute
  Herpetological Soc. Singapore
  Intl. Otter Survival Fund
  Orang Utan Appeal (UK)  
  Wallace Online  
    Citizen Action for Tigers  
    Nature Society (Singapore)  
    Wild Singapore  
  Email :
  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2018


Sunda Pangolin

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Family : Manidae
Species : Manis javanica

Head-body length : Up to 65 cm
Tail length : Up to 56 cm
Weight : up to 10 kg

The Sunda Pangolin, also known as the Malayan or Javan Pangolin, is a curious, unmistakable inhabitant of Southeast Asia's forested habitats (primary, secondary, scrub forest) and plantations (rubber, palm oil).

Its other common name is Scaly Anteater : it feeds wholly on ants and termites, which it locates by its strong sense of smell. It possesses thick, powerful claws which it uses to dig into the soil in search of ant nests or to tear into termite mounds. The insects are gathered with its long, sticky tongue and swallowed whole - the Pangolin has no need for teeth. It is estimated that on average a Pangolin might eat around 200,000 ants or termites per day.

Its body is covered by rows of scales which are formed by a compressed, fibrous hair-like material. The belly, however, lack scales and the animal thus protects its soft underparts by rolling into a ball when feeling threatened.

Nocturnal in habits, the Pangolin will rest by day in burrows and tree holes. The species is also an adept climber, aided by its prehensile tail : it is also known to hide by day amongst the foliage of large epiphytes such as the Bird's Nest Fern.

One or two young are raised, and the infants are carried astride the base of the mother's tail until such time as they are independent.

The Sunda Pangolin ranges from Burma, Thailand and Indochina through Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to Borneo, Sumatra and Java.

Fig 1 : Juvenile from lowland, secondary forest : sunda pangolins are expert climbers.

Figs 2 and 3 : An adult Sunda Pangolin is disturbed whilst digging in the soil in Singapore's central forests.

Fig 4 : Large juvenile, clinging to its parent's tail. Photo thanks to Connor Butler.

Fig 5 : Rolled into a defensive ball.

Fig 6 : Detail of the interleaved rows of scales.

All photos from Singapore.

References : M1, M2, M3



Fig 4
ゥ  Connor Butler

Fig 5

Fig 6