Prelims 2021

Q. Consider the following animals:

To reduce the chance of being captured by predators, which of the above organisms rolls up/roll up and protects/ protects its/their vulnerable parts?

a) 1 and 2
b) 2 only
c) 3 only
d) 1 and 3
Correct Answer: d) 1 and 3

Question from UPSC Prelims 2021 GS Paper

Explanation : 

Defense Mechanisms of Hedgehogs and Pangolins

Hedgehogs: When threatened, hedgehogs are known to curl into a tight ball with their spines sticking outwards. This defense mechanism makes it difficult for predators to get to their soft, unprotected underbelly. The spines are sharp and can deter many would-be attackers.

Hedgehog 1

Hedgehog 2

Marmots’ Survival Strategies

Marmots do not roll up into a ball for protection. Instead, they rely on other strategies to avoid predation, such as burrowing and using their sharp senses to detect and escape from predators. They may also use alarm calls to warn others in their group of danger.


Pangolins’ Unique Defense

Like hedgehogs, pangolins can roll up into a tight ball when threatened. Pangolins are covered in hard, overlapping scales that provide excellent protection when they are curled up. This defense mechanism is particularly effective against predators that are unable to penetrate the tough armor of the scales.


Therefore, hedgehogs and pangolins share the ability to roll up and protect themselves, making the correct answer “1 and 3“.

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