From its super-skinny, bug-seeking nose to the end of its long, scaleA hard, flat, armor-like structure that covers the bodies of snakes, reptiles, fish, and the feet of birds.-covered, prehensileRefers to a body part that can be used like a hand for grasping or holding. tail, the pangolin is the most unusual-looking animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs. you probably ever seen—or not seen! There are seven speciesA group of individuals that have many of the same characteristics, and are different from all other animals in some important way. Hamsters and mice are two different species of rodent. of pangolins, and the San Diego Zoo has a tree pangolin, one of the smallest types. Pangolins are very rareA species that has small populations, so that even a slight decrease in numbers could cause extinction. in zoos, but if you see one, you won't ever forget it! Instead of having hair or quills, the pangolin is covered with overlapping scales. The scales cover most of the pangolin's body, except for the belly, snout, eyes, and ears. Flat scales cover the top of the pangolin's head and tail, while there is soft hair on the belly and face. And like other animals that live on ants and termites, a pangolin has no teeth! It swallows its buggy meals whole, and muscles in the stomach grind the insects with sand and small stones that are swallowed while the pangolin eats.
Tree pangolins spend most of their time—you guessed it—in trees. They use hollow trees for shelter. Tree pangolins have a prehensileRefers to a body part that can be used like a hand for grasping or holding. tail that helps them hang on to tree branches. The tip of the tail is bare, giving them a better grip. When strolling along branches or on the ground, pangolins curl their clawsThe fingernails of an animal, such as a bear or cat. They help to grab prey. In birds, they're called talons. underneath their feet and walk on their knuckles (like anteaters). They are generally slow moving and often walk on their hind legs, using that strong tail as a brace.
Tree pangolin are also known as white-bellied pangolins, scaly anteaters, small-scaled tree pangolins, and three-cusped pangolins.