Little pangolin loves his mud baths

  • Stevie the pangolin loves adventuring, but he loves mud baths the most.
  • Stevie was rescued from poachers when he was just a baby, and was nourished back to health at the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital.
  • Now, his health has improved that he can already roam and forage by himself — and enjoy mud baths.

Meet Stevie the pangolin. He’s quite the happy adventurer, but he is the most in his element when he is taking a mud bath. He is the face of pure relaxation and satisfaction!

Photo Credit: Sarah Kempen

Sarah Kempen of the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital (JWVH) said that Stevie loves “playing with rocks, tree branches, and even tree stumps,” and loves to “roll around these elements and has even been known to roll down small embankments and termite mounds.”

Stevie, a Temminck’s pangolin, was just a baby when rescuers saved him from poachers in the South African city of Pretoria.

Pangolin is “the most trafficked mammal in the world,” said Sarah. Their meat is considered a delicacy while their scales are used in traditional Asian medicine.

Rescuers have since made sure to give them a sanctuary at an an off-site clinic where they are safe.

Photo Credit: Sarah Kempen and Lisa Tashley

Stevie was sick and underweight when he arrived, so he was quickly treated at the hospital. He had to be given a special milk formula for nourishment.

Photo Credit: Sarah Kempen and Lisa Tashley

Shortly after, he quickly put on weight and his health improved.

“He is a much more confident pangolin, and he is able to forage for termites on his own,” Sarah shared.

Stevie was separated from his mom at a young age, so the hospital staff taught Stevie about natural pangolin behavior. The love for mud baths, however, didn’t have to be taught.

Photo Credit: Sarah Kempen

Stevie would usually roll around in any puddle he finds!

“This seems to cool him down substantially, which enables him to feed for longer and be more comfortable as he doesn’t get so hot,” Sarah explained.

Sarah added, “Pangolin are known for mud/fresh dung baths. We believe this is to not only cool them down, but to also potentially offer protection against parasites.”

Thanks to his rescuers, Stevie is now doing so well that he is starting the slow process of being released back into the wild on a private reserve.

Sarah said that the first few weeks will involve him going out on daily walks while closely monitored. This will help him acclimatize to his new surroundings and food sources. Eventually, he will be fully released to the wild, where he will be free to roam.

His safety, weight, and progress will still be monitored continuously so that he remains healthy and happy.

Source: The Dodo

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