For most people who travel through South Africa's Kruger National Park, seeing a pangolin is about as likely as seeing a unicorn (seriously ... in the last twenty years, only 73 sightings have been recorded).

These critically endangered scaly anteaters are elusive animals that only step out for a roll in the mud or a T. rex-style walkabout (yes, they really do that) when the coast is clear. But every so often, a lucky few have the chance to see one in the wild.

Such was the case for YouTuber TheOuboet who spotted this Cape pangolin in early May. "This was a once in a lifetime sighting for myself and my wife who filmed it," he recalls. Unbeknown to most, pangolins are ravenously hunted for their scales, which are used in traditional Asian medicine. By the most conservative estimates, 10,000 pangolins are trafficked illegally each year – nearly ten times more than rhinos. Add habitat loss to the mix and the eight species of pangolin make up one of the most endangered mammal groups on the planet. 

Pangolins are both solitary and mostly nocturnal, which makes studying them in the wild very difficult. They spend their nights sucking down tasty ants and termites with the help of long and we do mean long  sticky tonguesA pangolin’s tongue is attached near its pelvis and last pair of ribs, and when fully extended is longer than the animal’s head and body! 

This shy guy or gal appears to be soaking up some much-needed morning sunshine. Although they will avoid strong sunshine, pangolins are known to "sunbathe" in the early morning hours when the air is cool. A slow metabolism and not much body hair to keep warm makes temperature regulation vital for these scaly mammals, which are also susceptible to catching pneumonia. Our guess is that this one has a burrow somewhere nearby and was just keeping warm before heading underground.

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