Saturday is World Pangolin Day, a time to celebrate one delightfully strange mammal

RAW: Meet the pangolin

(CNN/Gray News) – The pangolin is a fascinating animal you might not know about.

But the strange-looking mammal from Africa and Asia has its own day of celebration: World Pangolin Day.

It’s meant to raise awareness of the unique – and threatened – animal. It falls on the third Saturday in February every year, making it Feb. 16 this year.

Pangolins are covered in scales like reptiles. They can roll up into a ball like armadillos, and they eat ants like anteaters.

Believe it or not, National Geographic says they’re more closely related to cats and dogs then those other animals.

Once common, poachers are bringing pangolins to the brink of extinction because their meat is considered a delicacy in parts of Asia.

Their scales – which are made of keratin, just like your fingernails – are also thought to have medicinal value in some cultures.

Some wildlife organizations say the pangolin is the world’s most trafficked animal. More than 1 million of them have been killed in the past decade.

Mother pangolins have only one baby at a time, making it difficult for the animals to repopulate.

It’s also tough for humans to help out, because pangolins don’t do well in captivity – they can actually die from stress.

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