Life Cycle of a Pangolin

One of the many reasons why pangolins are in danger of becoming extinct is due to their unusual life cycle.  Pangolins only have a single offspring a year. Once about month old it will catch a ride on the mother’s back as she goes about her day. At about three months old the pup is independent enough to find own food but will continue to live with the mother until a year old. This means that essentially for a year these two are functioning as a unit.

The number of offsprings would not matter as much if pangolins reached sexual maturity at the average age but it takes them 5-7 yeas. This means that the chances of survival for the species is much lower than other similar animals.

The average life expectancy of a pangolin is about 20 years which for a female pangolin would mean approximately 13-15 possible offsprings. Even with the predators they meet in the wild - leopards and hyenas - their survival rate is already reduced. With humans in the mix they barely have a chance to make it before they come extinct.