A scaly survivor

Balin, the baby scally anteater is a sweet
survivor. It's just a few days past 2 months
this adorable pangolin has bee with us.
Click photo to enlarge
Each day when I get up, I anxiously await the moment our rescued survivor whom we have named Balin, wakes up. Each day is a challenge to find the ants and termites he eats. Each day a chance to interact with such a gentle creature. It doesn't even have teeth!

When we first got him, he would wake up in the mornings between 11am and noon. Several pangolin experts across the globe suggested removing any disturbances around him that would cause him to awaken so early since pangolins are nocturnal mammals by nature. We realized our dog Max was barking right next to Balin since that is where he was stationed to keep the chickens off of our outdoor sitting area next to the animal enclosure.

A sitting area made from bamboo on our property. I had it made so I would have somewhere comfortable to sit while I observe or interact with our various rescued wild life and a domesticated talking hill myna bird.
This is Balin, pausing for a photo op in between feeding on a harvested mud termite mound.
It will eat for up to two hours, foraging with the help of his two caregivers, Jhun Solis and his young 16 year old extended family member.

Balin is emerging from a black ant's nest after eating all the eggs and pupae it could find.

Since moving Max, the guard dog, the pangolin now wakes up between 4:30 PM and 5 PM, closer to it's natural nocturnal eating schedule.

This morning while having coffee, Dave noticed a creature walking outside. It was Balin strolling back to the animal enclosure from the opposite direction! It means it was out cavorting all night! We do live near a paved main road so my fear is that it will wander in the dark and be hit by a speeding motorcycle, the most common means of transportation in this Barangay- (Village). They are slow and awkward walkers.  Later when Balin wakes up to forage, we may let him find his own way out so we can see where he gets out!  It is a good thing to see that he knows how to find his way back to his current home, the animal enclosure. Had we had our wits about, we might have let it go back to the cage and watch where it gets in. At the crack of dawn, not so swift in thinking!

Just one of the many challenges of caring for an animal with an opposite body clock as us, it's caregivers. It's telling us it needs to get out more to eat then we can provide. We don't have an all nighter caretaker.

We plan on using the small pool intended for wading, as a habitat for the ants or termites. This way maybe it's prey will come to it at night so it won't try to escape. I do, however doubt it. Balin has an indomitable spirit and he doesn't seem to let anything waylay his needs. I believe now that he has found his freedom, he will want to do so more and more.

Balin, the little survivor. This baby pangolin has such a strong will to live. It's admirable.

When Balin first came he weighed about 500 to 520 grams. Two months later he weighs only about 640 to 700 grams, very slow growing. I'm sure he does need more food. In body length he came in at 20 centimeters with a tail length of 21  centimeters, it has now grown to 29.5 centimeters, not much of a leap with the tail growing to 22 centimeters from 21 cms.

It is unfortunate that it is one of the most poached creatures on the planet no matter where it exists. It's meat and scales are sold mostly to satisfy the Chinese  palate for exotic meats and the scales they pulverize (made of keratin) and sell as Chinese medicine. I can't say I have found any scientific data verifying it's medicinal efficacy.

The scaly anteater foraging in the bamboo groves. It feasts on several varieties of ant pupae. The mosquitoes in the grove then feast on me if I don't wear a mosquito repellant.

Here is a short video of Balin foraging on a rotting log infested with termites. The voice is his alternate care giver Jhun Solis.