Rarely a glimpse scaly pangolins caught hugging of trees in the dark

connectVideoWhat is a pangolin?

Will this creature become extinct before most people know that it exists?

New video of giant pangolins shows this weird scaly animals, in their natural (nighttime) habitat in Uganda.

In the videos, the blunt nose beings — which are the only mammals with scales are seen meandering about the undergrowth, sniffing for food and danger. In one clip, a baby pangolin rides on its mother’s back. In another, a pangolin shimmies half to a trunk of the tree. Another pangolin (and not beautiful) tangled in a stick and marches off with the vegetation around the trunk. [Pangolin Photos Scaly Mammals Threatened with Extinction]

The videos are collected by researchers from the Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom, in addition to the Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU). Although, as the name implies, that the organization works for the protection of rhinos in Uganda, rangers working for the RFU kept running about giant pangolins while on patrol. When the Chester Zoo approached the organization about the study of the creatures, the RFU staff jumped at the opportunity, according to a statement.

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Rare, scaly mountain

Apart from their common habitat, giant pangolins (Smutsia gigantea) have something else in common with rhinos: The scales are made of keratin, the same stuff that makes rhino horn (and human hair and nails). The scaly mammals are found mainly in central Africa and weigh as much as 77 lbs. (35 kilos).

But pangolins are endangered: The International Union for Conservation of Nature, the animals as “vulnerable.” That’s partly because climate change is changing their habitat, and in part because people hunt the animals both for food and to sell on the black market. (In traditional Chinese medicine, pangolin scales have long been used for the treatment of a laundry list of ailments.)

Giant pangolins eat insects; they slurp up creepy-crawly meals with their long, anteater-like languages. But beyond that fact, there is little known about pangolins’ habits, because of their secretive, nocturnal lifestyle. The Chester Zoo and the RFU have now installed 70 motion sensor of the cameras in Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to track down giant pangolin movements. Researchers are also looking for footprints, burrows and dung. The scientists are collecting the last to the study of the animals’ genetics and nutrition.

Amazing animals

“This rare glimpse into the life of giant pangolins are very exciting for us, dedicated to the protection of Uganda’s rich flora and fauna, and [it] challenges us to ensure that we have the protection and the conservation of this highly endangered species for future generations,” Sam Mwandha, the executive director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, said in the statement.

The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only area in Uganda, where rhinos (particularly the southern white rhino subspecies) to roam free. Other animals that call the sanctuary home, parrots, cranes, and the terrifying shoebill stork (Balaeniceps rex), which grows as large as 55 inch (140 cm) and sports a huge, bone crushing beak.

  • Image Gallery: Evolution’s Most Extreme Mammals
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Originally published on Live Science.

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