Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford


  • Wouter SchaakeEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1186-1



The pangolin family is comprised of a variety of scaly, armored terrestrial mammals that in appearance somewhat resemble armadillos and anteaters. Depending on the exact species, pangolin size ranges between that of a rabbit and a medium-sized dog. Due to similarities in morphology and diet, pangolins may be referred to as “scaly anteaters.”


The order of Pholidota, to which the pangolin belongs, contains only a single extant family of animals. This family, Manidae, in turn contains the three genera Manis, Smutsia, and Phataginus, to which the eight currently living species belong (Gaudin et al. 2009). Besides being the only extant species within their lineage, pangolins feature a full-body scaly keratinous armor that is unique among mammals. Functionally similar to the armored bands of the armadillo, the pangolin’s scaly armor makes it relatively impervious to predator attacks when curled into a ball, and the scales’ sharp...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Utrecht (Alumnus)UtrechtThe Netherlands

Section editors and affiliations

  • Suzanne MacDonald
    • 1
  1. 1.York UniversityTorontoCanada