Sunda Pangolin

Sunda Pangolin

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About Sunda Pangolins

The Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica), also known as the scaly anteater, is a shy, nocturnal, solitary mammal covered in scales that are made of compressed hair. Pangolins feed on ants and termites, using the claws on their forelimbs to break into nests and mounds found in the ground and trees. Once in, they will use their long sticky tongue to gather the insects. One adult pangolin may consume about 70 million insects per year. Their digging action used when feeding also helps to loosen and aerate the soil.

When threatened, they curl up into an armoured ball. They may also use their anal glands to produce a foul smell to deter predators. Sunda pangolins can be found across Southeast Asia. In Singapore, they are mainly distributed in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the surrounding nature parks. They can also be found in forested areas in the Western Catchment Area, and on the islands of Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong.

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Sunda pangolin (Photo: Mandai Wildlife Group)

Why am I seeing pangolins in my neighbourhood?

Pangolins sometimes wander into residential areas from nearby forests when they explore new territories.

Do's and Don'ts

What should I do if I see a pangolin in an urban area?

  • Do not be alarmed. These animals are shy and will not attack humans.

  • Do not touch, chase or corner them, as they will feel threatened by your approach.

  • Observe them from a safe distance. It is not very often that you get to see a live pangolin. Share your sightings with the Singapore Pangolin Working Group!

  • If you’re driving near a nature area, slow down. The slow-moving pangolins are often injured or killed by vehicles when they stray too far from the forested areas onto roads.

  • If you see a pangolin on/near a road, or roaming around in an urban area with no forested patch nearby, the pangolin might be lost. Call NParks’ 24-hr Animal Response Centre (1800-476-1600) or ACRES (9783-7782) for assistance.

What should I do if I see a pangolin in or next to a forest?

What should I do if I see an injured or dead pangolin?

Call NParks’ 24-hr Animal Response Centre (1800-476-1600) or ACRES (9783-7782) to help rescue and relocate the animal.

Conservation efforts in Singapore

In Singapore, it is illegal under the Wildlife Act to remove wild animals, including pangolins, from the wild. Those found in nature reserves and other areas managed by NParks are also protected by the Parks and Trees Act 2005. Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, a total trade ban has been placed on wild pangolins under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 2006.

How can I help?

  • If you witness any illegal trading or poaching:

  • Collect information. Take photos or video evidence of the traps, snares, nets, trapped animals, poachers, and/or their vehicle licence plate number.

  • Call NParks at 1800-476-1600. Alternatively, you can contact the local police at 999.

  • Do not buy or consume any pangolin products, such as meat, scales, and products claiming to have medicinal properties.

  • Raise awareness by sharing with your friends and family about the threats to pangolins, and what they can do to help.

  • Record your pangolin sighting and contribute resources or media you have to assist in research and conservation efforts.

Learn More

To learn more about pangolins in Singapore, visit the Singapore Pangolin Working Group (SPWG). There, you can download learning resources, watch past SPWG webinars, and read materials about pangolins in Singapore.