Sandshrew looks like a pangolin or an armadillo, both of which can curl up into a ball. However, it most resembles the Sunda pangolin. The Singapore Zoo took in a rescued 6-week-old Sunda pangolin in 2017 and nicknamed it "Sandshrew" because of the similarities between this animal and the Pokémon. Sunda pangolins are among the most trafficked mammals on Earth. Killed for their meat and scales, it is critically endangered, with an extremely high risk of extinction. The real-life Sandshrew was safely returned to the wild in 2018 and was tracked as part of pangolin conservation efforts, according to The Straits Times, a newspaper in Singapore.