Giant pangolins, the world's most trafficked animal, were recently caught on camera in their natural (nocturnal) habitat in Uganda.

In the videos shared by researchers from Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom, alongside Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU), the bizarre, scaly and blunt-nosed giant pangolins (Smutsia gigantea), which are the only mammals with scales, meander about the undergrowth, sniffing for food and danger.

One video taken at Uganda's Ziwa sanctuary featured a baby pangolin riding on its mother's back. In another clip, a pangolin climbs up a tree trunk. Another one of the scaly creatures gets itself tangled in a stick and walks away with it still wrapped around its body.

Stuart Nixon of Chester Zoo's Africa Field Programme told BBC News that there is still a lot more to learn about the giant pangolin.

"We know so little about this species, almost everything we're picking up on camera traps this year as a behaviour is a new thing," he said.

According to a statement, the RFU, which works to protect rhinoceroses in Uganda, agreed to study the giant pangolins after they were approached by the Chester Zoo. The RFU rangers apparently encounter the mammals often while on patrol.

"These rare glimpses into the lives of giant pangolins are very exciting for those of us dedicated to protecting Uganda's rich wildlife, and [it] challenges us to ensure that we protect and conserve this highly threatened species for future generations," Sam Mwandha, the executive director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, said.

Like rhinos, the giant pangolins have scales made of keratin. This is the same substance that makes up the horns of the rhinos, as well as hair and fingernails of humans. Usually found across central Africa, the giant pangolins are the largest of the scaly animals and could weigh up to 77 pounds (35 kilograms).

The giant pangolins have been listed as "vulnerable" animals by the the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Part of the reason behind their decreasing numbers is climate change, which alters their habitat. Another main reason is hunting, as giant pangolins are often killed either to be eaten or sold in the black market. Pangolin scales have long been used as a form of treatment in Chinese medicine.

According to the BBC, large numbers of pangolin scales have been seized during this month alone, including a massive bust in Malaysia.

Pangolin scales
The giant pangolin is the world's most trafficked animal. Pictured: Seized endangered pangolin scales are displayed during a press conference at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound in Hong Kong on February 1, 2019. Getty Images/Anthony Wallace