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.
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.
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.
Lat: 35.72, Long: -79.18
Spotted on Dec 21, 2011
Submitted on Feb 3, 2012
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