Difference Between Pangolin and Armadillo

Pangolin vs Armadillo

Pangolin and armadillo are two different animals with no close taxonomic relationship, but they both have similar type of defensive mean against the predators. They both have external shields or protective armour to defend from their bodies being pierced by the unfriendly canines of predators. These external shields are not found in any other mammalian. Therefore, it would be interesting to know the differences between these creatures with full of wonders.


Pangolins are also known as scaly anteaters, and they are any of the eight extant species of the Genus: Manis. They all have been classified under only one taxonomic family known as Manidae. Pangolin is the only mammalian with a reptilian feature, which is the presence of scales on the skin to protect its body against the predators. Those scales are keratinous, hard, and large. Therefore, it is not easy for a predator to kill a pangolin via piercing their canines through those hard and large keratin scales. The natural distribution of pangolins has been restricted to the old world, i.e. in Asia and Africa. The tropical region of the old world has been home for these animals. Four species are found only in Africa; three species are found in Southeast Asia, and one species is distributed in India and Sri Lanka. Pangolins are active in the night and sleep during the daytime. While they are asleep, pangolins are curled up into a ball, so that their protective scales make them immune to predators. They use this technique when a predator threatens them, as well. Pangolins are anteaters, as they feed on ants. They can use their strong sense of smell to track the insects, and their tapered snout is used to protrude it into the inside of anthills. The tongue of pangolin is long and sticky, which catches ants in thousands.


Armadillo is a placental mammal living in the new world or the Americas. They belong to the Order: Cingulata and there are about 20 species of armadillos distributed in the Central America and South America. The uniqueness of armadillo is the presence of leathery and hard shell-like covers or shields over their body. These are made up of plates of dermal bones, which are covered with small epidermal scales. The epidermal scales are placed very closely, and those are overlapping. Large shields cover their shoulders and hips while the rest of the body is covered with a number of bands separated by the flexible skin. Armadillo has sharp claws, and they use those to dig tunnels. Their diet is carnivorous, but they mostly feed on invertebrates such as insects and grubs. The snout is pointed or sometimes shovel-shaped, and they have small eyes. Despite their poor eyesight, the sense of smell is strong enough to find the food sources. They are nocturnal and sleep during the daytime inside their burrows. Armadillos can live in either temperate or warm climates, but many species are endangered except Nine-banded armadillo.


What is the difference between Pangolin and Armadillo?

• Pangolin is a mammal while armadillo is a placental mammal.

• Pangolins live in Asia and Africa whereas armadillo lives in Americas only.

• Pangolins love tropical climates but armadillos prefer warm or temperate habitats.

• Pangolin has large keratin scales covering the skin, and armadillo has skin covered rigid bony shields over the body.

• They both sleep during daytime, but pangolin stays curled up into a ball on the ground while armadillo stays inside burrows.

• Pangolin feeds on ants, but armadillo prefers many other invertebrates, as well.


  • Powers

    Pangolins are also placental mammals, that being merely a subset of mammals (contrast with marsupials). So…. that’s not actually a difference.

    • Farqua

      You are correct. Pangolins are placentals. The fact that you told them
      this two years ago and they have failed to correct the entry is very

    • Farqua

      Upon further examination of this posting I believe it to be in error on quite a few points when trying to list the differences between an Armadillos and Pangolins. If this is an example of this site’s expertise then I believe that all of it’s “SCIENCE” should be suspect.