Pangolins are the only mammal covered in scales. The scales are comprised of keratin, the same material as our hair and nails. Pangolins feed exclusively on ants and termites. They pose no threat to humans. When pangolins are frightened, they roll up into a ball to protect themselves.
Pangolins, as well as scales, which have been removed the animal, are frequently encountered in the illegal wildlife trade.
Pangolins are not widely known outside of Africa and Asia. There is a total of eight pangolin species: four in Africa and four in Asia. All eight pangolin species are listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the highest level of international protection. In addition, pangolins are protected by national legislation in range countries.
Pangolin species are recognized by more than one common and scientific name. For the purposes of this booklet, the eight species will be identified as follows: