Pangolin, Or Scaly Ant-Eater, a burrowing edentate mammal of the old world, whose species constitute the genus manis (Linn.). These animals have the long pointed snout, toothless mouth, and extensile tongue of the ant-eaters, and the upper parts of the body and the tail armed with scales like the armadillos; the external ears are hardly perceptible; the scales are corneous and imbricated, permitting the body to be rolled up in a ball secure from the teeth of the largest carnivora; the limbs are short and robust, the hind ones the longest; the claws curved and formed for digging; the tail long, thick at the base. The skeleton has no clavicles, the stomach is simple, and the caecum is absent. They are found in the warm parts of Africa and Asia, living in holes which they dig in the ground or in the hollows of trees, and feeding upon insects, especially ants, which they capture on their long, round, and viscid tongue; the gait on the ground is awkward, as they walk on the outer side of the feet, with the claws turned in; they are harmless, though they display great strength and activity in tearing to pieces the hills of termites and ants.
The largest species is the short-tailed pangolin (If. pentadactyla, Linn.), 3 or 4 ft. long, with five toes, and the thick tail about as long as the head and trunk; it is found in India and Ceylon; the scales are deep brown in the adult animal, and hard enough to turn a musket ball. The long-tailed pangolin (M. tetradactyla, Linn.), from the coast of Guinea, is four-toed, with a flatter tail nearly twice as long as the rest of the body; the scales are large, dark-colored, with yellow margin, arranged in 11 rows on the body, and armed with three points at the end; under parts covered with rough brown hairs; the whole length is between 2 and 3 ft. From their external covering and shape they resemble scaly lizards more than mammals; both surfaces of the tail are covered with scales. The flesh of the pangolins, which are probably the best protected of mammals against carnivora, is delicate and much prized by the natives of Africa.
Short-tailed Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla).