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Basic Information

The pangolin, or scaly anteater, is a nocturnal mammal, native to the tropical regions of Africa and Asia. They lack teeth - and by extension, the ability to chew, have claws and long tongues used to dig up and probe anthills and termite mounds for food, and large, keratin scales covering their skin, an adaptation unique to them. Coupled with the scales and the ability to spray a noxious-smelling deterrent from glands near the anus - much like a skunk - the pangolin is well adapted for defense.

They're hunted in Africa, where they're a popular bushmeat, and Asia, more specifically China, where their scales are used for traditional medicine and their meat is prized as a delicacy. Pangolin hide has also been used to make hide armour … although possibly not all that often.

Despite resembling the anteater and the armadillo, they are exclusive to their own order, Pholidota. Recent genetic evidence shows that their closest relatives are actually those of the Carnivora order, which includes tigers and bears, and together the two orders from the clade Ferae.

Pangolins are currently amongst the source organisms suspected for the zoonotic transfer of COVID-19 to humanity … possibly their posthumous revenge for the bushmeat trade.



Game and Story Use

  • The pangolin's unique adaptations could make for great additions to your chimera.
    • Or maybe all these adaptations are a result of a chimera - that would explain the anteater, armadillo, and skunk similarities.
  • Maybe they're ancient dinosaurs, who've survived through the ages.
  • A giant pangolin could always make for an interesting threat. If they curled up and rolled after you, Sonic-style, you'd have a neat challenge on your hands.
    • Couple that with the "ancient dinosaur" and you could set yourself up with a variant glyptodon.
  • The descent from the order of carnivora sounds promising until you're confonted with the complete lack of teeth. Vampire pangolin anyone? Or perhaps some far-fetched medieval bestiary dweller that stamps its prey into a paste and then sucks it up?
  • For a silly campaign, there is always Captain Corelli's Pangolin.
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