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Ararat Ridge Zoo

Binturong

Also known as bearcats, these arboreal animals are neither bear nor cat—they are civets!

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Binturong

Day of Creation: six
Biblical Kind: civet (includes civets, genets, and linsangs)
Status: vulnerable
Length: 2 (males) to 3 (females) feet
Weight: 20 (males) to 50 (females) pounds
Habitat: forests of Southeast Asia
Lifespan: 15–20 years
Diet: leaves, shoots, fruits, insects, small vertebrates, eggs, and carrion
Family Life: solitary; sometimes live in small family groups of parents and offspring
Reproduction: 1–2 (but up to 6) babies are born after 3-month gestations

Fun Facts

The real meaning of the word “binturong” has been lost, as the language it is derived from is extinct.

Do you smell popcorn? It’s the binturongs! They communicate through scents and smell just like buttered popcorn or corn chips! They are also very vocal and will hiss, purr, chuckle, grunt, wail, and howl.

Binturongs are excellent climbers and are largely arboreal, preferring to live high in the forest canopies. They can rotate their ankles to allow them to climb down trees headfirst. They are also excellent swimmers!

Binturongs are the only Old-World mammals and one of only two carnivores with prehensile tails (the other is the kinkajou). They have leathery patches at the tips of their tails to give them extra traction and will wrap their tails around tree branches to stabilize themselves while sleeping.

They are considered a keystone species because they are one of the only dispersers of the strangler fig, whose seeds cannot germinate without assistance. They have the digestive enzymes necessary to soften strangler fig seed coats.