Do pangolins feel pain?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Pangolins do feel pain. Pain is a universal experience among animals, and pangolins are no exception. They have a well-developed nervous system, including sensory receptors called nociceptors that detect and respond to harmful stimuli.

When pangolins are subjected to painful situations, such as being hunted or captured, they undoubtedly experience distress. These animals have a high density of sensory nerve fibers throughout their bodies, making them highly sensitive to physical stimuli. This means that any injury or harm inflicted upon them can be acutely felt.

The pain experienced by pangolins can be both physical and psychological. Physical pain arises from injuries caused by hunting methods or from being caught in traps or snares. Pangolins have long, sharp claws and strong muscles, and they vigorously defend themselves when threatened. Unfortunately, this often results in injuries that can cause significant pain.

Psychological pain can also be a factor for pangolins, especially when they are subjected to the stress and fear associated with being hunted or captured. These animals are naturally shy and solitary, and being forcibly removed from their natural habitat and placed in unfamiliar and confined environments can be extremely distressing for them.

Furthermore, pangolins are frequently targeted for their scales, which are used in traditional medicine and believed to have various healing properties. The process of extracting these scales often involves cruel and painful methods, such as boiling the animals alive or removing the scales while they are still conscious. This causes immense suffering and agony for the pangolins involved.

In my personal experiences with wildlife conservation, I have witnessed the heartbreaking consequences of pangolin poaching and trafficking. The pangolins I encountered were visibly stressed, frightened, and in pain. Their physical injuries were evident, and their behavior indicated their suffering. It was truly heartbreaking to witness the effects of such cruelty on these remarkable creatures.

Pangolins do feel pain. Whether it is physical or psychological, the pain and suffering they endure as a result of hunting, capture, and poaching is significant. It is crucial that we recognize and address the pain experienced by pangolins, and take action to protect them from further harm.