Sunday, July 8, 2012
The long-tailed pangolin (Manis tetradactyla), also called the black-bellied pangolin or ipi, is an arboreal pangolin native to the sub-Saharan forests of Africa. Its common name is derived from its especially long tail (average 60 cm, or 24 inches). Even with the long tail, this species is the smallest pangolin. Theone shown on these FDCs is a specimen from Gabon. This pangolin is a nocturnal insectivore. As with other pangolins, the long-tailed pangolin is covered with overlapping scales, in this case a dark brown color. The tip of the tail is bare and is used to grip branches. The abdomen is covered in dark fur instead of scales.
Pangolins are nocturnal animals which use their well-developed sense of smell to find insects. The long-tailed pangolin is also active by day. Pangolins spend most of the daytime sleeping curled up into a ball. Pangolins lack teeth and the ability to chew. Instead, they tear open anthills or termite mounds with their powerful front claws and probe deep into them with their very long tongues. Pangolins have glands in their chests to lubricate the tongue with sticky, ant-catching saliva. Merja gave me these very interesting and extremely pretty FDCs.