One-Of-Kind Infant Pangolin At LA ZooBy: Courier Staff Writer
LA Zoo became home to an orphaned wild anteater after it was confiscated by a US Fish & Wildlife Service inspector from an area family returning from a trip to Africa in February.
The baby pangolin was purchased from villagers in the Republic of Congo for the bargain price of $3 and the family managed to get it as far as LAX.
A few days later the pangolin, the only one of its kind in the US, was delivered to the zoo and Animal Care Center keeper Kelley Greene is the first to say caring for it has been a learning experience.
Greene had to wear a protective suit to enter a quarantined area of the nursery where the rare baby pangolin resided.
“It’s doing great,” she said. “Growing like a weed.” The pangolin weighed 316 grams (about 11 oz.) on arrival, a week later it weighed 354 grams and a month later tipped the scales at 475 grams.
It’s diet is high-protein KMR formula normally given to kittens. Fed seven times a day, the pangolin has proved to be a healthy eater.
Estimated to be between two and four months old now, it’s still not official as to whether the pangolin is male or female, but Greene says that most of those who have seen it think it’s male.
Though pangolins look reptilian, they are mammals with specially modified hairs that have evolved into hard, horn-like scales. They are insectivores and consume ants, termites and other insects with their very long sticky tongues. They have no teeth and their tails are prehensile, which means they can use them like an extra limb for climbing.
Seven species of pangolin exist on earth, and according to zoo general curator Mike Dee, this one appears to be a smaller-scaled tree pangolin.
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