|Pangolins have small heads and long, broad tails. They are toothless and have no external ears, although their hearing is good. Pangolins are nocturnal animals; they use their well developed sense of smell to find insects.
Pangolins have large, hardened, plate-like scales. The scales are soft on newborn pangolins but harden as the animal matures. The scales are made up of keratin. The weight of the protective keratinous scales and skin make up about 20% of the pangolin's weight. The size of pangolins varies by species, ranging from 30 cm to 100 cm. Females are generally smaller than males. The common pangolin prefers sandy soils and is found in woodlands and savannas, within reach of water.