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A colorful and vibrant painting of an African Pangolin, in psychedelic rainbow colors. Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, consist of 8 species in Africa and Asia. They eat ants and termites using their powerful claws to dig into their mounds. They are covered in thick scales made of keratin, the same protein that makes up human fingernails, rhino horns, and the horns of cattle, goats, and sheep. When threatened, they can curl up into a ball, and they resemble a large pine cone. Some species of pangolins have long thin prehensile tails, and live in the trees; while other species have broad flat tails and live on the ground.
All 8 species are endangered, with three of those species critically endangered. Pangolins face extinction due to forest destruction, and poaching for their meat and scales. Their scales especially are considered valuable in traditional Chinese medicine. The scales are, of course, just made of keratin, similar to rhino horn, and have no actual medicinal value. Pangolins are the most trafficked animal, accounting for up to 20% of all illegal wildlife trade.
February 13th, 2020
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