8 Examples of Animals Like Pangolins in 2024 (With Pictures)

Last updated on January 18th, 2024 at 08:17 pm

Examples of animals like Pangolins include  Anteaters, Armadillo, Armadillo Girdled Lizards, Porcupines, Sloths, Crocodiles, Hedgehogs, and Galapagos Tortoises.

Pangolins boast a distinctive exterior adorned with tough, overlapping scales. These mammals employ an incredibly long, sticky tongue to feast on ants and termites. Notably, when sensing danger, they swiftly roll themselves into a protective ball—a remarkable defense mechanism.

Renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough, tasked with choosing ten endangered species to save, singled out the pangolin as a priority. Describing it as “one of the most endearing animals,” he expressed concern over widespread illegal exports, notably to China, a revelation stemming from his experience rescuing one from a cooking pot in Asia during documentary filming.

How many species of pangolin are there?

Comprising eight species—four in Asia and four in Africa—pangolins share a common ancestry, with fossil evidence indicating their evolution in Europe. These unique mammals belong to the genus Manis within Manidae, the sole family in the order Pholidota.

Asian pangolins:

  • Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) – Critically Endangered
  • Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica) – Critically Endangered
  • Palawan Pangolin (Manis culionensis) – Critically Endangered
  • Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) – Endangered

African pangolins:

  • White-bellied Pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) – Endangered
  • Giant Pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) – Endangered
  • Ground Pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) – Vulnerable
  • Black-bellied Pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla) – Vulnerable

All eight pangolin species are in peril, marked as Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, signaling an imminent threat of extinction. Immediate conservation actions are crucial to secure their survival.

8 Animals Like Pangolins

Here are eight incredible animals that, in one way or another, are similar to Pangolins:

1. Anteater

Animals Like Pangolins

Scientific Name: Vermilingua

Why anteaters are like Pangolins: Anteaters resemble Pangolins as they share a similar backbone structure, allowing them to excel in climbing and burrowing activities.

Anteaters, native to Central and South America, are also known as tamanduas and antbears due to their diet of ants and termites. Belonging to the suborder Vermilingua, these mammals live around 15 years.

The giant anteater, the largest species, reaches 5 feet, 11 inches, and 90 pounds, while smaller ones range from 14 inches to 3 feet, 11 inches.

Found in diverse habitats, including grasslands and rainforests, they regulate their body temperature between 91 and 97 degrees F. With long snouts, sticky tongues, and sharp claws, anteaters efficiently navigate their environments, making them adept hunters and diggers.

2. Armadillos

Animals Like Pangolins

Scientific Name: Cingulata

Why Armadillos are like Pangolins: Pangolins and armadillos share a common feature – scales made up of keratin.

Armadillos, small to medium-sized mammals in the Americas, are unique armor-plated creatures belonging to the superorder Xenarthra, alongside sloths and anteaters. Similar to Pangolins, they utilize sharp, long claws for digging.

With approximately 20 species, they display diverse colors such as pink, gray, black, and yellow.

Nocturnal by nature, armadillos employ their sharp claws to excavate burrows for daytime rest.

3. Armadillo Girdled Lizard

Animals Like Pangolins

Scientific Name: Ouroborus cataphractus

Why Armadillos Girdled Lizard are like Pangolins: Both of these animals employ curling up into a ball as a defense mechanism.

Armadillo Girdled Lizards, native to South Africa, measure 3-4 inches in length and feature small rounded heads, large eyes, and vertical pupils. With scales ranging from gray to brown and a lighter underside, they showcase a unique appearance.

Feeding on insects and spiders, these lizards have a distinct eating habit, swallowing their prey whole due to limited chewing abilities.

Their defense mechanism of curling into a ball is reserved for times of distress, as they are generally docile creatures.

4. Porcupines

Animals Like Pangolins

Image Source Pixabay

Scientific Name: Erethizontidae

Why Porcupines are like Pangolins: When threatened, both animals exhibit defensive behavior by curling up into a ball.

Porcupines, with sharp spines for defense, inhabit North America, Europe, and various parts of the world.

Nocturnal by nature, they sleep during the day and forage at night. Similar to Pangolins, they share the defensive tactic of curling up into a ball to ward off predators.

While Pangolins rely on back armor, porcupines employ quills that protrude from their bodies, curling into a ball and thrusting these quills outward when feeling threatened.

5. Sloths

Scientific Name: Folivora

Why Sloths are like Pangolins: Their special spines have joints that help them move through trees and burrows.

Sloths, arboreal mammals native to South and Central America’s tropical rainforests, possess a slow metabolism and are renowned for their extensive daily sleep of 15 to 20 hours.

With a wild lifespan of around 25 years, sloths, as herbivores, feed on leaves, shoots, buds, fruit, and flowers from trees in their habitat.

Notably, their unique backbones feature joints enabling them to navigate their tree-dwelling and burrowing lifestyles.

6. Crocodiles

Image Source Pixabay

Scientific Name: Crocodylidae

Why Crocodiles are like Pangolins: Pangolins and crocodiles share armor-like layers for protection.

Crocodiles, formidable aquatic reptiles found in various water bodies, exhibit extreme aggression and may attack humans when threatened.

Their diet includes fish, birds, small mammals, and reptiles. With powerful jaws and the ability to swallow prey whole, crocodiles can consume prey three times their size. Similar to pangolins, both are protected by armor-like layers.

Crocodiles boast thick hides, resisting predator bites, while pangolins feature a hard shell serving as a shield against threats.

7. Hedgehogs

Image Source Pixabay

Scientific Name: Erinaceinae

Why Hedgehogs are like Pangolins: Both animals exhibit a defensive behavior of curling up into a ball when threatened.

Hedgehogs, small animals with thick spines, utilize them for protection against predators like other hedgehogs. Primarily foraging and sleeping in shrubs or under rocks, they may retreat underground in winter.

Similar to pangolins, both animals roll up into balls when threatened, providing a defense mechanism against predators. Hedgehogs rely on spikes for protection, while pangolins have armor-like scales, making it challenging for predators to consume them.

8. Galapagos Tortoises

Image Source Pixabay

Scientific Name: Chelonoidis niger

Why Galapagos Tortoises are like Pangolins: These animals possess bony armored shells.

Galapagos tortoises, sizable land tortoises from the Galapagos Islands, can weigh up to 900 pounds, making them one of the largest tortoise species.

Sporting armored shells with bony plates up to an inch and a half thick, these giants have flexible membranes connecting the plates, facilitating free movement.

Their legs feature dry, scaly skin covered in hard scales, protecting them from sunburn and sandstorms. Similar to other animals mentioned, both possess a protective layer, deterring predators.

Final Words

In conclusion, the animal kingdom presents a tapestry of wonders, with animals similar to pangolins weaving their unique stories of adaptation and survival.

As we explore creatures like anteaters, armadillo-girdled lizards, and giant pangolins, it’s evident that nature’s creativity knows no bounds.

Porcupines, sloths, and crocodiles, though distinct, share intriguing parallels with pangolins, showcasing the beauty of evolutionary adaptation.

From the armored elegance of Galapagos tortoises to the spiky defenses of hedgehogs, these creatures exemplify the richness and complexity of biodiversity.


1. What makes pangolins special?

Pangolins, often mistaken for reptiles, are unique mammals entirely covered in scales, using them as a defense against predators.

2. What is the diet of a pangolin?

Pangolins primarily consume termites and ants in the wild. Studies reveal their diet also includes insect larvae, bees, flies, earthworms, crickets, and other arthropods.

3. Can pangolins be kept as pets?

Pangolins are unsuitable as pets and owning them is illegal. Their natural habitat is crucial for their well-being, and they don’t thrive in domestic environments.


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