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Binturong

Arctictis binturong

Description:

The binturong, popularly known as the bearcat, is not related to bears or cats; however, it perhaps resembles those two animals a bit, accounting for the misnomer. It is a species of the family Viverridae, which includes civets and genets and it is the only member of its genus. It has a unique musk odor, akin to corn chips. In the wild, it is nocturnal and arboreal, sleeping on branches. It has a prehensile tail, which it can use as a fifth appendage to hold onto branches; the tail is nearly as long as its body. It can rotate its hind legs backwards so that its claws still have a grip when climbing down a tree head first. When content, the binturong can make chuckling sounds; if annoyed or afraid, it gives out piercing, high-pitched wails. It usually moves slowly but if motivated can run fairly fast. Its average length is usually between 60–96 cm (24–38 in), and average weight ranges between 9–14 kg (20–31 lb). It is a carnivore because it has carnassial teeth and will eat rodents and birds but it much prefers fruit, shoots and leaves. It is important for the rainforest canopy, which consists partly of the strangler fig because enzymes in its stomach help break down the seeds so they can germinate. Deforestation has greatly reduced its numbers. They are also threatened by hunting for bush meat and the pet trade.

Habitat:

It lives in trees of the rainforest in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Notes:

The binturongs in the photo live a wildlife rescue sanctuary in North Carolina and are a favorite of guests who come for tours. These binturongs are especially fond of bananas and grapes. The photos were taken on different dates.

No species ID suggestions

18 Comments

Maria dB
Maria dB 5 years ago

Yes, they are indeed unusual in appearance, nicola2!

nicola2
nicola2 5 years ago

such an interesting looking animal :)

ulvalactuca77
ulvalactuca77 7 years ago

:(

Maria dB
Maria dB 7 years ago

Most of them in the sanctuary are pretty friendly, hoping for bananas and other fruit from visitors. One, which was kept as a pet before coming to the sanctuary, is not that fond of people.

Owl
Owl 7 years ago

Such a peculiar creature! Love it.

ulvalactuca77
ulvalactuca77 7 years ago

Oh wow, those are some claws! My kitty has some razor sharp talons too and he is cuddly!

Apple
Apple 7 years ago

Very cool looking animal.

shebebusynow
shebebusynow 7 years ago

This is an amazing animal I'd never heard of. Thanks for bringing it some profile! The eyes make it look a bit like a stuffed toy with button eyes, but it is clearly no pushover.

Maria dB
Maria dB 7 years ago

They do look cuddly but have very long claws, which can be seen in the fourth photo but the thumbnails cover them up.

ulvalactuca77
ulvalactuca77 7 years ago

Very cute. Looks cuddly.

Maria dB
Maria dB 7 years ago

I have not seen a baby but would like to do so. There is no breeding of animals at the sanctuary.

ShannaB
ShannaB 7 years ago

I love these animals. I saw some baby ones on a TV show about Auckland Zoo and they were just the cutest things I've ever seen!!!!

hg_williams3
hg_williams3 7 years ago

I looks like it spends hours pondering the world especially the second pic a cool and very pensive animal

Maria dB
Maria dB 7 years ago

Glad you think so. Some people don't like their eyes because you can hardly see the pupil but many of us volunteers think they are adorable.

KarenL
KarenL 7 years ago

So cute!

Maria dB
Maria dB 7 years ago

I had never heard of them before until I began volunteering at the sanctuary. They are such interesting animals!

MaryEvans2
MaryEvans2 7 years ago

Interesting animal and thanks for all the information :)

bayucca
bayucca 7 years ago

Cool spotting! Never heard of these ones...

Pittsboro, North Carolina, USA

Lat: 35.72, Long: -79.18

Spotted on Dec 21, 2011
Submitted on Feb 3, 2012

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