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Pangolins vs. Anteaters — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on December 6, 2023
Pangolins are mammals with scales, eat ants/termites. Anteaters are long-snouted, large-tongued mammals, also eat ants/termites. Distinct species, different continents.
Pangolins vs. Anteaters — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Pangolins and Anteaters

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Key Differences

Pangolins, often referred to as "scaly anteaters," are unique mammals known for their keratin scales covering their skin and their diet primarily consisting of ants and termites. In contrast, Anteaters, recognized by their long snouts and tongues, consume similar diets but belong to a different mammalian order and lack scales.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 06, 2023
Native to Asia and Africa, Pangolins are solitary animals primarily nocturnal in their habits. Conversely, Anteaters are found in Central and South America, displaying various activity patterns, some species being predominantly diurnal while others are nocturnal.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 06, 2023
Pangolins possess the unique defense mechanism of rolling into a tight ball when threatened, using their sharp-edged scales for protection. Anteaters, lacking such armor, rely on their strong, sharp claws for defense and dig shelters.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 06, 2023
Conservation status differs significantly; Pangolins are one of the world's most trafficked mammals, facing critical endangerment due to illegal trade for their scales and meat. Anteaters face habitat loss threats, yet their conservation status is generally less dire compared to Pangolins.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 06, 2023
Both Pangolins and Anteaters have specialized dietary needs, relying on ants and termites for sustenance. However, their physical characteristics, defense mechanisms, habitat, and conservation statuses highlight the clear distinctions between these two fascinating creatures.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 06, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Physical Traits

Scales, small head, conical shape
Long snout, bushy tail, no scales
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Dec 06, 2023

Habitat

Asia and Africa
Central and South America
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Dec 06, 2023

Defense Mechanisms

Roll into a ball, sharp scales
Strong claws, digging
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Dec 06, 2023

Conservation

Critically endangered (most species)
Vary from vulnerable to not endangered
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Dec 06, 2023

Activity Patterns

Mostly nocturnal
Diurnal/Nocturnal (species-dependent)
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Dec 06, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Pangolins

Critically endangered due to illegal trafficking.
Conservationists are urgently working to protect Pangolins from extinction.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Anteaters

Mammals known for their long snouts and tongues.
The Anteaters used their lengthy tongues to lap up ants swiftly.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Pangolins

Solitary and primarily nocturnal creatures.
Ants.
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Oct 17, 2023

Anteaters

Lack teeth but have powerful front limbs and claws.
Using its strong claws, the Anteaters tore into the termite mound effortlessly.
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Oct 17, 2023

Pangolins

Only mammals with protective keratin scales.
The Pangolins curled up into a ball when threatened by the predator.
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Oct 17, 2023

Anteaters

Different species vary in size from small to very large.
The giant Anteaters, unlike their smaller counterparts, have a bushy tail and can reach up to 7 feet in length.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Pangolins

Possess a long, sticky tongue for capturing prey.
Pangolins expertly use their specialized tongues to extract ants from their nests.
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Oct 17, 2023

Anteaters

Found primarily in Central and South America.
In the American tropics, Anteaters are a common sight, especially in grasslands and rainforests.
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Oct 17, 2023

Pangolins

Native to the regions of Asia and Africa.
The Pangolins are often spotted in the forests and grasslands of Africa and Asia.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Anteaters

Have low metabolic rates and a primarily insectivorous diet.
Despite their size, Anteaters consume mainly ants and termites to sustain themselves.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 17, 2023

Pangolins

Any of several long-tailed, scale-covered mammals of the order Pholidota of tropical Africa and Asia, having a long snout and a sticky tongue for catching and eating ants and termites. Also called scaly anteater.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 13, 2023

Anteaters

Any of several Central and South American mammals of the suborder Vermilingua that lack teeth and feed on ants and termites, especially the giant anteater.
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Oct 13, 2023

Pangolins

Plural of pangolin
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Oct 13, 2023

Anteaters

Any of several other animals, including the echidna, aardvark, and pangolin, that feed on ants.
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Oct 13, 2023

Anteaters

Plural of anteater
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Oct 13, 2023

Common Curiosities

What are Pangolins?

Pangolins are scale-covered, insect-eating mammals native to Asia and Africa, known for their unique defense mechanism of rolling into a ball.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 06, 2023

Are Pangolins and Anteaters related?

No, despite similar diets, Pangolins and Anteaters belong to different mammalian orders and are not closely related.
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Dec 06, 2023

Why are Pangolins endangered?

Pangolins are critically endangered due to poaching for their meat and scales, and habitat loss.
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Dec 06, 2023

Where can Pangolins and Anteaters be found?

While Pangolins are native to parts of Asia and Africa, Anteaters are indigenous to Central and South America.
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Dec 06, 2023

What distinguishes Anteaters?

Anteaters are toothless mammals with long snouts and tongues, native to Central and South America, primarily feeding on ants and termites.
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Dec 06, 2023

Where can you find Anteaters in the wild?

Anteaters are native to various habitats in Central and South America, including rainforests, grasslands, and savannas.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 06, 2023

Do both Pangolins and Anteaters have teeth?

No, neither Pangolins nor Anteaters have teeth. They both rely on their long tongues to feed on insects.
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Dec 06, 2023

What do Pangolins eat?

Pangolins primarily eat ants and termites, which they capture using their long, sticky tongues.
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Dec 06, 2023

How do Anteaters consume their food?

Anteaters use their long tongues to lap up ants and termites, and they lack teeth, so they swallow their food whole.
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Dec 06, 2023

Do both Pangolins and Anteaters have scales?

Only Pangolins have protective keratin scales. Anteaters have fur.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 06, 2023

What are Anteaters?

Anteaters are a group of mammals that primarily feed on ants and termites, recognizable by their long snouts and tongues.
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Dec 06, 2023

Are Pangolins endangered?

Yes, all eight species of Pangolins are considered threatened due to poaching and habitat loss.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 06, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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