Complications associated with pregnancy and parturition in african white-bellied pangolins (phataginus tricuspis)

Copper Aitken-Palmer, Thomas W. Demaar, James G. Johnson, Jennifer Langan, Jonathan Bergmann, Sathya Chinnadurai, Hector Guerra, Deborah A. Carboni, Michael J. Adkesson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are no studies to date on the normal reproductive physiology of African white-bellied pangolins (Phataginus tricuspis). As a reclusive species, little is known about normal gestation, successful parturition, and potential complications during pregnancy. Ten female P. tricuspis were diagnosed as pregnant and monitored under professional care. Five developed complications during pregnancies or during parturition and are detailed in this case series. Dystocia occurred in two dams each, with malposition of a singleton fetus. Both dams were successfully treated with surgical intervention by caesarian section. Of the two individuals, one fetus was nonviable, but the other neonate survived and was reared by the dam to weaning. A third pregnant female died during pregnancy from septicemia resulting in death of the preterm fetus. The two additional dams of the five gave birth to full-term neonates. One fetus was stillborn with evidence of fetal distress, and the other died immediately after birth (perinatal death) with undetermined etiology. Based on this case series, complications associated with pregnancy occur in P. tricuspis, indicating the need for further study and close monitoring during impending parturition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-687
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 23 2019


  • African white-bellied pangolin
  • Caesarian surgery
  • Dystocia
  • Pangolin
  • Phataginus tricuspis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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