Lifescapes Gallery

22 / Aug / 2013
The Kabini Armoured Corps!
Pangolin, Kabini Photograph: Dr. Ajit Huilgol Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Kabini Armoured Corps!

Gone are the days of Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad and other knights in shining armour. When you think of armour today, the mind can’t go beyond those mainstays of modern armies: Main Battle Tanks! Think WW2, and you think of Panzers steam-rolling Europe; names like Sherman, Patton, Tiger and Centurion roll off the tongue with felicity… but the one armoured vehicle that is least known is the one that hunts down enemies by night in some of the most difficult terrain around. This is the rare Indian Pangolin, or Scaly Anteater of Kabini that lives mostly on ants and termites that it digs up from the earth and logs with its long, powerful claws which are almost as long as its forelegs. For self-defense it’s equipped with large, armoured scales that overlap each other, providing an impenetrable cladding against all foes. In fact, the Pangolin can curl up into an armoured ball when threatened, and frustrate even the fiercest tigers in the vicinity. There is, however, another predator that this anteater fears more than most….and that is Man. The Pangolin has long been prized for his delicate meat and the urban legend surrounding the mystical properties of his skin and scales have created a booming market in trinkets, aphrodisiacs and medicinal oils that threaten to annihilate his numbers. With Pangolin products being such preferred aphrodisiacs, it is a wonder they manage a love life at all. But romance does bloom beneath the scales, and it is quite a sight to see a mother Pangolin carrying the next generation on her tail, curling up into a ball whenever threatened, and protecting the little one inside with the kind of armour an Abrams or T-72 would be proud to boast of.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 at 4:35 am and is filed under Mammals . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Dhandapani,P. says:

    I had been to Orange County, Kabini with my grandson,Vikas, the bird lover.Could you please give me the correct location of this photograph.It is a lovely picture. Thanks.

  2. Dr Sameer Rao says:

    Magnificent shot ,great angle. Really loved the image very much.

  3. abhiyogi says:

    Nice..incidentally you know, pangolins do not have teeth and cannot chew..they therefore suck in the ants/ termites with their tongues..SO if you try to question a Pangolin, you can expect a tongue-in-cheek reply 😉

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