Difference Between Pangolin and Anteater

There are over 8.7 million species in the world today, about 1.2 million of which are animal species. Many causes, such as human consumption, pollution, dwindling genetic diversity, and a lack of reproduction, pose serious threats to the survival of many of these species.

With about a million pangolins left in the wild, they continue to be the most trafficked mammal in the world. Anteaters are not in danger of extinction at the moment, but habitat loss and poaching have caused significant population declines.

There are some similarities between the pangolin and the anteater, but there are also some important distinctions.

What are Pangolins?

Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, belong to the extremely peculiar order Pholidota of placental mammals. Though their scaly appearance leads many to mistake them for reptiles, pangolins are actually mammals. Their unique appearance is the result of epidermal scales emerging from a thick underlying skin.

Even though they lack teeth, pangolins can nonetheless grind up their food with the help of their strong muscles and some small stones they keep in their stomach. You may see pangolins all throughout Southeast Asia and in the subtropics of Africa.

What are Anteaters?

This term, which literally translates to "warm tongue," refers to the four living mammal species that belong to the order Pilosa and the suborder Vermilingua. There are now three genera of anteaters: the giant anteater, the silky anteater, and the northern and southern tamandua.

The species are closely related to the sloths and armadillos. Anteaters are able to devour insects with ease thanks to their long, slender snouts and thin tongues. Their mouths are likewise tube-shaped, with lips but no teeth. Its curled foreclaws are another distinguishing feature, allowing them to both defend themselves and rip through termite and ant mounds.

For defense against bug assaults, they have long, thick fur. With the exception of the giant anteater, all species have long, prehensile tails. Despite having limited eyesight, these animals make up for it with a keen sense of smell that helps them hunt, gather food, and defend themselves.

Anteaters specialize to consume insects, and their insect preferences range from arboreal to terrestrial. Their tongues are coated in filiform papillae, which are tiny hooks used to keep insects together.

Anteaters are found in Central America, Uruguay, southern Mexico, eastern Brazil, and South America. They inhabit rainforests, dry tropical forests, savannas, and grasslands.

Differences: Pangolin and Anteater

The following table highlights the major differences between Pangolins and Anteaters −




Individual Species

Pangolins are members of the family Minidae and belong to the genus Manis.

The orders Vermilingua and Pilosa are the ones that include anteaters.

Types of species

There are eight different types of pangolins, four of which are found in Asia (the Chinese, Sunda, Pawalan, and Indian pangolins) and four more in Africa (the white-bellied, giant, ground, and black-bellied pangolins).

The giant anteater, the northern tamandua, the silky anteater, and the southern tamandua are the four main types of anteaters.


They inhabit savannah grassland, tropical and flooded forests, cleared and farmed regions, and tropical ecosystems.

Rainforests, savannas, dry tropical forests, and tropical rainforests are all possible anteater habitats.


Pangolins inhabit areas of Asia and Africa south of the Sahara.

The range of the anteater extends from eastern Brazil and the Uruguay region south through southeastern Mexico.

Presence of fur

A pangolin's underbelly has a thin covering of hair.

Long fur covers an anteater's whole body, shielding it from insect assaults.

Presence of scales

Pangolins have a scaly exterior.

Unlike several other animals, anteaters are not covered in scales.


In conclusion, pangolins and anteaters are both unique mammals that have adapted to their environments in different ways. Pangolins are covered in scales and have sharp claws, while anteaters have thick fur and are able to climb trees. They also have different diets, reproductive rates, and sizes. Pangolins are facing a high risk of extinction due to illegal hunting and trade, while anteaters are not facing the same level of threat.

Updated on: 19-Apr-2023


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