Meet the Pangolin, the World's Only Scaled Mammal

Kirstin Fawcett
iStock / iStock

The tree pangolin—an elusive nocturnal creature that looks like an anteater wearing armor—makes its home in forests of Asia and Africa. It’s the only mammal with scales, a feature that protects it from predators but makes it vulnerable to poachers.

Made of keratin (the same stuff your hair and nails are made from), the pangolin’s scales are believed to have healing properties. (These scales are different from the bony dermal plates called scutes that armadillos have.) Because of this, the mammals are heavily trafficked, and their scales fetch high prices on the black market. Experts don’t know how many pangolins are left, but they do know that they’re threatened with extinction.

Learn more about the pangolin by watching Great Big Story’s video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]