How lucky am I to see my first Pangolin!
From my normal afternoon game drive I saw something moving to cross the road from left to right, first I thought it was a Lizard, but when we approached closer we discover it was something completely different. I shouted out to the guests, Pangolin! And everybody replied, “What?” Possibly they didn’t believe me, or they thought it was something like a Leopard. I had to explain to them how lucky they are to see this nocturnal creature.
In Africa, we believe that Pangolin can predict the future, so what we do is to put three different things in front of a Pangolin and see what it will go for. Mostly it will be water, seeds like maize or beans and a weapon like a bush knife, so if the Pangolin goes for water it means we will expect to have a lot of rain and possibly some floods. If it goes for the seeds, it means a lot of food, and the bush knife predicts war. However, for the Maasai, they use it in the same way, but may keep it in a cage. For some other tribes in Africa they use Pangolin scales for circumcision ceremonies.
Pangolins are nocturnal and highly secretive, which makes it harder to find them on a normal game drive.
They are covered in tough, overlapping scales for protection, and these burrowing mammals eat ants and termites using their long, sticky tongue. If they feel threatened they are able to quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball.
Poaching for the illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss has made these incredible creatures one of the most endangered groups of mammals in the world.