Pangolin (Manis Genus) are actually mammals, and are the only ones on the planet that have actual scales. These animals are typically found in the tropical regions throughout Africa and Asia.
Newborn pangolin’s scales are soft but harden when they mature. The scales are made of keratin which is the same material that fingernails on humans are made of. (Wikipedia compares the scales to that of a pine cone or artichoke) Their scales evolved from fused hairs!!!
The pangolin shares many qualities to other animals. For example similar to the armadillo the pangolin can curl up into a ball when threatened and the scales overlap acting as armor. They also share characteristics with that of a skunk. The pangolins can emit a poisonous smelling acid from glands near their anus, although they are unable to spray the acid like skunks can. Another animal that they share features with is the giant anteater. The pangolins have tongues that are extremely elongated-so much so that they extend all the way into t heir abdominal cavity! (Their tongues average at around 16 inches long.)
The pangolins are nocturnal and so they have a highly developed sense of smell in order to find their insects. This creature is a carnivore THAT DOESN’T HAVE TEETH!!! (There is a long-tailed pangolin which is also active by day.)
Things get a little more interesting because there are a few problems.
#1) These animals are one of the least scientifically researched mammals on earth. Nobody knows what a pangolin is. These creatures are so unique that scientists have put them into t heir own biological order: Phoildota.
#2) The pangolin is one of the most commonly poached animals in the world. Prized for their scales (In Southeast Asia and China it is believed that their scales promote menstruation, lactation, treat rheumatism and arthritis, reduce swelling and so on.)
In 2011 about 60,000 pangolins were stolen from the wild in Vietnam alone. Hardly any of these stolen animals are ever actually rescued and if they are due to trauma they usually die after a few weeks.
The Chinese and Sudan pangolins are on the endangered species list and the Indian and Indonesian pangolins are near threatened.