The diet of the thick-tailed pangolin consists of ants and termites, and it has some very effective tools to allow it to hunt these tough little insects. The strong claws on its forelimbs are used to hack into termite mounds and ants nests, but also allow the pangolin to climb trees to feed on harder to reach ants (5). It has a strong prehensile tail that provides support when feeding (4), and an extraordinarily long, sticky tongue, which flicks through the passageways of the nest picking up ants or termites (5). When feeding, this pangolin is capable of closing not only its eyes, with thick eyelids, but also its nostrils and ears, to protect these delicate parts from biting ants. The thick-tailed pangolin has no teeth, but instead has small pebbles in its stomach to grind up food for digestion (5).
The thick-tailed pangolin is only active at night, spending the day in a burrow, which is often situated under large rocks. It is a solitary species except for during the mating season when an adult male and female may share the same burrow (1). The female’s gestation period is around 65 to 70 days and, after birth, the single offspring (occasionally twins) will remain in the mother’s burrow for 2 to 4 weeks(1) (4). The young is then carried out on the mother’s back or tail outside, where it will remain until it is weaned after three months. It is not known if male thick-tailed pangolins play any role in bringing up the young (4).