Sunda Pangolin

Sundal_PangolinConservation status:  CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
Common name: Sunda pangolin, Malayan or Javan pangolin
Scientific name: Manis javanica
Type: mammal
Diet: ants, termites
Length: 40-65 cm head-body, 35-56 cm tail
Weight:  upto 10 Kg

The Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica), also known as the Malayan or Javan pangolin, is a species of pangolin. It is found throughout Southeast Asia, including Brunei, Cambodia, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, the Lesser Sunda Islands, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.  In Singapore, it is found in Central Nature Reserves, and in rural and scrub areas in Bukit Batok, Western Catchment Area and islands of Ubin and Tekong. It prefers forested habitats (primary, secondary, and scrub forest) and plantations (rubber, palm oil). A large part of its life is spent in trees.

In the past, this species has included the closely related Palawan pangolin (M. culionensis), as both are in the subgenus Paramanis. It is closely related to the Chinese pangolin, although the Malayan species is larger, lighter in colour, and has shorter fore claws.

The skin of the Sunda pangolin’s feet is granular, although pads are found on its front feet. It has thick and powerful claws to dig into the soils in search of ant nests or to tear into termite mounds. The Sunda pangolin has poor eyesight, but a highly developed sense of smell. Lacking teeth, its long, sticky tongue serves to collect ants and termites. Its body is covered by rows of scales and fibrous hair. The head-body length of this pangolin can measure 40–65 cm, tail length is 35–56 cm, and its weight is up to 10 kg. Males are larger than females.

Pangolins give birth annually to one or two offspring. They breed in the autumn, and females give birth in the winter burrow. Parental care is given for about three months. Pangolins are sometimes found in pairs, but normally they are solitary, nocturnal, and behave timidly. They protect their soft underparts by rolling into balls when they feel threatened. They are strong diggers and make burrows lined with vegetation for insulation near termite mounds and ant nests.



  1. Challender, D.; Nguyen Van, T.; Shepherd, C.; Krishnasamy, K.; Wang, A.; Lee, B.; Panjang, E.; Fletcher, L.; Heng, S.; Seah Han Ming, J.; et al. (2014). “Manis javanica“. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  2.  Schlitter, D.A. (2005). “Order Pholidota”. In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference.
  3.  Shepherd, Chris R.; Shepherd, Loretta Ann (2012). A Naturalist’s Guide to the Mammals of Southeast Asia.


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