The Philippine pangolin is a medium-sized mammal covered in small triangular scales made of keratin everywhere except the underbelly and face. It regrows new scales when they are lost and always has the same number of scales throughout its lifespan. The scales come in shades of brown, yellow, and olive, making for adequate camouflage at night. Areas of the body without scales are covered in a layer of hair.
Philippine pangolins are native to the Palawan province of the Philippines. They live in primary and secondary forests, as well as surrounding grasslands, and frequently visit agricultural areas.
Philippine pangolins are nocturnal and reclusive and are usually seen singly or in pairs. Because they are mainly active at night, their eyesight is below average. While their hearing is still only about average, they make up for their lack of vision with their extraordinary sense of smell. Pangolins generally travel slowly but can move in a short burst towards safety when they become startled, and even have a limited ability to swim. Occasionally, these animals can be seen standing on their hind legs, balancing on their tail, to help detect nearby predators. Philippine pangolins are mainly arboreal, and usually stay in the tree canopy; however, they may spend some of their time on the ground foraging. When sleeping, they prefer to take refuge inside hollow trees. When threatened, they, like all pangolins, secrete a foul odor and roll into a ball, relying on the protection provided by their scales. Many even sleep rolled up into a ball to protect themselves while they are unaware. Philippine pangolins are not known for being territorial animals, but they may be seen leaving their scent to let others know they've taken refuge there for a while.
While little is known about the reproduction of Philippine pangolins, their mating habits are thought to be similar to those of the Sunda pangolin. Like most pangolins, Philippine pangolins breed in the spring. The same odorous secretion used as a self-defense mechanism is also used by males to assert against other males, attract a mate, and is used by the mother while raising their young. Baby pangolins, called pangopups are born after a gestation period of around 18 weeks and are suckled by their mothers for about 4 months. Usually, only one offspring is born at once, and they are carried around on the mother's back for a time. When sleeping or threatened, the mother tends to roll in a ball for defense like usual, but with the young cradled in a ball of their own, encompassed in the mother's ball. At the age of about 5 months, pangopups will separate from their mother. Female pangolins may even adopt lone young that have lost their own mother.
Philippine pangolins, much like every other species of pangolin, are threatened due to heavy hunting because of their valued scales and meat. Other than the meat, which is a delicacy in certain Asian cultures, Philippine pangolins are hunted for their organs, and skin, which are used in traditional medicine.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Philippine pangolin total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.
Philippine pangolins help control populations of ants, termites, and other insects that are included in their diet.