Book Chapter

Giant pangolin Smutsia gigantea (Illiger, 1815)



Hoffmann M, Nixon S, Alempijevic D, Ayebare S, Bruce T, Davenport TRB, Hart J, Hart T, Hega M, Maisels F, Mills D & Ndjassi C (2020) Giant pangolin Smutsia gigantea (Illiger, 1815). In: Challender DWS, Nash HC & Waterman C (eds.) Pangolins: Science, Society and Conservation. Biodiversity of World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes. Amsterdam: Academic Press, pp. 157-173.

The giant pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) is the largest of all living pangolins, approaching a total length of 180 cm and a weight of more than 30 kg. The species is widely distributed in West and Central Africa in a variety of habitats, including primary and secondary forest, swamp forest and wooded savanna, ranging from Senegal to western Tanzania south to central Democratic Republic of the Congo. Primarily solitary and nocturnal, giant pangolins use their large muscular forelimbs to open subterranean termitaries in contrast to Temminck’s pangolin (S. temminckii) which do little digging. Available data suggest the species is uncommon and declining in many parts of its range, with no recent data for several countries from which it has been previously recorded. Despite their presence in many protected areas and international trade controls, hunting and poaching for bushmeat and international trade remains the primary threat to the species.

Giant pangolin; Smutsia gigantea; Pholidota; Taxonomy; Ecology; Distribution; Population status

Title of seriesBiodiversity of World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online30/11/2019
PublisherAcademic Press
Place of publicationAmsterdam

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Professor Fiona Maisels

Professor Fiona Maisels

Honorary Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences