Tree Pangolin

Manis tricuspis
Tree Pangolin © Jim Frazee

Tree Pangolin, Manis tricuspis, also known as White-bellied or Three-cusped pangolin is the most available of the three Nigerian species of these scale-possessing anteaters in the southwest region where its medicinal purpose appears to be more important than its food value. Its Yoruba name, Akika, is apparently in reference to its most efficient defence mechanism, which is to curl up into a tight ball.

African tree pangolins, are smaller than their cousin Manis gigantea, and their tails are relatively thin. They are solitary, nocturnal, and, not surprisingly, spend most of their time in trees. Their long, prehensile tail enables them to climb up in the absence of branches. Tree pangolins are able to move about by walking on all fours, walking on two hind limbs, and by climbing trees. Their claws are large and curved, which assists them in their arboreal behavior and dietary habits. Like other pangolins it has no teeth. Gestation lasts approximately 150 days and one young is by rule, born.