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Pangolin Rush

15 July 2015

When you are called with excitement 'RUN, QUICKLY, BRING YOUR CAMERA, QUICKLY, NOW!' Your adrenalin starts pumping, and mind starts wondering. What on earth has created so much excitement from the forest, could it be Chimps swimming in the lake, could it be a pair of Leopards playing cards or could it be 'a Pangolin'?

If you had to ask most guides in Africa what is the one animal that has evaded their careers and a solid majority will have to say the Pangolin. So for us this was our first and hopefully not last, but if it was the last we could still die happy with just seeing the one.

It was spotted by our boat driver running from the beach to the forest. We followed him for several minutes crashing through the undergrowth before he returned to the beach giving us a solid half hour of viewing pleasure.

Of the four species found in Africa, this is the Ground Pangolin, it's large round edged scales seen above tell us that. These scales are made of keratin, the same stuff as your fingernails and Rhino horns. These scales are soft at birth and harden later on and are used in defense, as when the Pangolin is threatened it will roll up into a tight ball that is just about impenetrable.

We were very grateful to this amazing animal for showing itself in daylight as they are generally nocturnal, hence the dificulty in seeing them. We can only hope that one day we come across another one.

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