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Manis javanica


Manis javanica Desmarest, 1822

Family Name: Manidae
Taxonomic Group: Vertebrates (Mammal)
Common Name: Sunda Pangolin


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Taxonomic Group 2
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Description Body and tail covered with brown horny scales with long claws on the feet. Tail is long and tapered. Tail wrapped around body when animal is disturbed to protect non-scaly underparts. Infant rides on its mother's back at the base of its tail.

Ecology, Habitat & Location

Ecological Notes Mainly nocturnal. Feeds mainly on ants and termites from nests in trees, on the ground and below ground, using its sticky tongue. Mainly terrestrial, but also climbs trees, and often shelters in burrows. When threatened, the pangolin curls itself up into a ball.
Habitats Forest, Terrestrial
Distribution Inhabits forest, scrubland and plantations. In Singapore, found in the Central Nature Reserves, in rural and scrub areas in Bukit Batok, Western Catchment Area and on Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong. Distributed in Myanmar and Indochina, through the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, Palawan to Java, including Bali and Lombok.
Nature Reserves Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve
Nature Areas Pulau Ubin


Trends & Threats Habitat loss and poaching. Due to their wandering nature and clumsy gait, many pangolins in Singapore lose their lives on highways.
Scientific Interest & Potential Value As very little is known of the biology and ecology of the Sunda Pangolin, there is much scope for scientific investigations. Pangolin meat is eaten by some people, and their scales are sometimes used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Conservation Notes Tunnels under roads that bisect wooded areas (e.g., the Bukit Timah Expressway) should be constructed to facilitate the animals’ movements.


Species Status Native
Conservation Status Threatened
Singapore Red Data Book Status Critically Endangered (CR) [2008]
IUCN Red List Critically Endangered




References Baker, N. & Lim, K. 2008. Wild animals of Singapore. Singapore: Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte Ltd. 180pp

Davison, G.W.H., Ng, P.K.L. & Ho, H.C (Eds.). 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book (2nd Edition). Singapore: Nature Society (Singapore). 285pp

Ng, P.K.L. & Wee, Y.C. (Eds.). 1994. The Singapore Red Data Book (1st Edition). Singapore: Nature Society (Singapore). 343pp


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Species record last updated on: 19 December 2023.