The Ground Pangolin (Manis temminckii), also known as Temminck’s Pangolin or the Cape Pangolin, is one of four species of pangolin which can be found in Africa. They are the only one found in southern and eastern Africa. Although it is present over quite a large area, it is rare throughout it and notoriously difficult to spot. Its scarcity is partly because it is hunted by humans for its scales, which are used in love charms, and partly because it is often burnt in bush fires.
With the exception of the underside, it is covered in extremely hard scales. When threatened, it usually will roll up into a ball to protect the vulnerable belly. The scales on the tail can also be used as blades to slash at attackers. The Ground Pangolin can grow to a length of about 40 inches, with the tail typically between 12 and 20 inches. It has a disproportionately small head, powerful hind legs, and small forelegs.
Like other pangolin species, it is largely nocturnal, although it is also entirely terrestrial and usually found in savanna or open woodland, generally feeding on termites or ants. It is well adapted to this, with a very long sticky tongue which is stored inside a pocket in the mouth until needed. Although it is capable of digging its own burrow, it prefers to occupy disused holes dug by a Warthog or an Aardvark or to lie in dense vegetation, making it even more difficult to observe.