A few years ago I was climbing up a forest stream in Miaoli with a kiwi pal and came across one of these fellows. He was dead but it was a really moving experience, which inspired the following verse. These guys are in serious danger of extinction, a very sad predicament for a fascinating mammal.

A Formosan pangolin getting some good tucker in

Pangolin (2007)

Bronze warrior,

Was the muggy dusk insufficient umbrage

For your indolent perambulations?

Freak creature!

Out of order insectivore.

Did a slithering sneak-attack catch you mid-dither,

Schiltron-mode on standby,

Speckled pink underside

Exposed as you trundled through silty shallows?

Leaden lump,

What left you thus?

Shrunken foetal head submerged,

Bloated belly full of maggots,

Magnificent, ridiculous

To gourmand boors across the Strait,

With back to sun you were fair game;

So better that you rust right here,

Abandoned Panzer on a sodden field

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