After a solid 5 years of searching, I finally found my second Pangolin! This scaly ant-eater was heading back to her daytime hideout when we found her walking close to a dry river bed.
I nearly had a heart attack when my tracker flung his left hand upward, pointing to the disappearing brown lump in the grass. The pangolin is not an animal you see everyday – not matter how much time you spend in the bush – and it causes quite a stir!
The last time I saw my only other pangolin, was 5 years ago, and that young female had rolled herself up into a defensive ball, and would not, no matter how nicely I asked, show me her face. This young lady on the other had, allowed us to get off the vehicle, and approach her without rolling up! I managed to lie down right next to her, and take a few photographs of her, sniffing the ground, and picking up any unlucky ants or termites she happened across.
I was extremely fortunate to have the sun rising behind her, which added a little extra to an already lucky sighting! She was very co-operative, and not once did she seem to even notice all the commotion going on around her.
They are very slow moving animals, and use the defensive roll, and their hard scales to keep predators at bay. Having seen the way she moved through the bush, I would also think that simply hiding away gets them off the hook a lot. They are very easily missed, as they look just like a flat rock lying in the grass. If they stand still, I would imagine 9 out of 10 predators would just walk right passed them!
I am truly happy that I finally have an image of a pangolin! I hope I don’t have to wait 5 more years for the next time I get a chance to photograph one of these bizarre and beautiful creatures!