Five Fun Facts about the Indian Pangolin

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The shy Indian pangolin, also referred to as the thick-tailed pangolin and scaly anteater (Manis crassicaudata), is a species of pangolin found in Sri Lanka and the wider Indian subcontinent, though uncommon anywhere in its global habitat range – mainly due to only a single offspring being born every mating season, as well as illegal poaching. Here are some fun facts you might not have known about Indian Pangolins in Sri Lanka: 

  1. Scaly armour – Identical to other pangolin species, the Indian pangolin has large, overlapping scales on its body which act as armour, and are made up of keratin! Pangolins have around 160 – 200 scales, with about 40% – 46% of them located on the tail. When in self-defence mode, they curl into an impenetrable ball!
  2. Toothless – Indian pangolins have no teeth, so their stomach muscles have to actually break down their food for digestion!
  3. Two burrows – Pangolins have 2 burrows: the feeding burrow and the living burrow. Feeding burrows are generally less spacious in comparison to living burrows and are created more frequently with the varying availability of prey. Living burrows are generally wider, deeper, and more circular, and are used for longer periods of time when compared to feeding burrows, as they are mainly used to sleep and rest.
  4. Newborns – Baby pangolins are born with their eyes open, and own soft scales with protruding hairs between them!
  5. Mama pangolins – Female pangolins carry their young on their tail. If the mother and baby are disturbed, the baby pangolin is held against its mother's belly and protected by the mother's tail!

Pangolins in Sri Lanka are mostly solitary and generally nocturnal – which makes them harder to find. They have been spotted in habitats surrounding Ahaspokuna, and even seen during Ahaspokuna Camp’s world-famous Bush-walks in Sri Lanka. So go ahead and take on the many walking trails forged by wild elephants at Ahaspokuna with your naturalist and bushman, and perhaps you might come face-to-scale with the shy Indian Pangolin of Sri Lanka!


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Ahaspokuna Stories

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A H A S - P O K U N A

In the Sinhalese language (spoken in Sri Lanka), “Ahas” means “Sky” and “Pokuna” means “Pond” or “Pool”. Ahaspokuna is so named in reference to the lake here, high up in the hills, that is only fed by rainwater. A former settlement that sprung up on its shores was subsequently also named “Ahaspokuna”. Today, the jungle tide has washed over where people once lived and the camp provides a wilderness retreat for those in search of something different.
Ahaspokuna by Eco Team