This weekend brings us World Pangolin Day – so let’s take a minute to celebrate these adorable, tree-climbing, hole-digging, ball-rolling, T-Rex walking, weird little creatures! 

Earlier this year, we paid a visit to the Rare and Endangered Species Trust (REST) in Namibia, a centre devoted to rehabilitating wildlife – including pangolins like this guy, who is clearly having a ball of a time in the dirt.

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are insect-eating mammals native to Africa and Asia. You might be familiar with ground-dwelling pangolins like the one in the clip, but there are actually eight different species. Some, like Vietnam's Sunda pangolin, live arboreal lives, denning in hollow trees. 

Pangolins are known for their overlapping scales, which form a protective suit of armour over their entire bodies, much like those of an armadillo. By curling into a ball, they deter would-be predators, protect their babies, or simply nap in peace.

Their T. rex-like walk is the result of those extremely long front claws, which might be perfect for digging, but are not that great to walk on. 

And this isn't the first time we've seen a pangolin really digging the dirt – it seems they enjoy a dust bath as much as a good romp in the mud. 

Unfortunately, these amazing animals are also increasingly threatened by illegal trade – both for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in some countries, and their scales, which are used in Asian traditional medicine. That growing demand has put pangolins on the list of the planet's most poached animals.

Thankfully, places like REST (and volunteers all over the world) are working hard to give these unique creatures a fighting chance. For ways to get involved, head on over the REST website.

And just in case you're a total pangolin novice, here are some more facts about these endangered anteaters:

Pangolin Facts Infographic 2015 03 03