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The Binturong, also known as the Asian Bearcat, the Palawan Bearcat, or simply the Bearcat, is a species of the family Viverridae, which includes the civets and genets. It is the only member of its genus. The binturong is not a bear, and the real meaning of the original name has been lost, as the local language that gave it that name is now extinct. Its natural habitat is in trees of forest canopy in rainforest of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

It is nocturnal and sleeps on branches. It eats primarily fruit, but also has been known to eat eggs, shoots, leaves, and small animals, such as rodents or birds. Deforestation has greatly reduced its numbers.

Overview of the Binturong

Overview of the Binturong

The binturong, also known as the Asian Bearcat, the Palawan Bearcat, or simply the Bearcat is a nocturnal mammal that sleeps on the branches of trees during the day. While it is classified as a carnivore, itís diet is mostly fruit, and other plant matter. The binturong have a length between 2 and 3 feet, and an average weight of 20-31 pounds (although there have been some individuals who have reported weights of over 49 pounds). This makes the binturongís size more similar to a cat than that of a bear.

The binturong has a long tail that is bushy and prehensile. It can act as a fifth hand, and is equal to the animalís own length. Binturongs, like many animals, have certain scents which they use to convey information. Surprisingly, binturongs have a very unique smell: that of buttered popcorn. They use this smell to indicate to other binturongs that they are trespassing into anotherís territory. Binturongs also have an important job: through their feces, they help spread the seeds of the fruits that they eat.

Binturongs live over 20 years in captivity, with one reported to have lived for nearly 26 years. There are six subspecies recognized, and they are listed as vulnerable. Some experts believe that the female binturong is one of the only mammals that can have delayed implantation. This allows the female to time the birth of her young, so that it coincides with good environmental conditions. Due to this, mating can take place anytime of the year. Females are about 20 percent bigger and heavier than the males, and are the dominant gender.

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Jacob Maddox manages content for Wildlife Animals an educational wildlife and animal website. Jacob also guest writes for Dog Pound

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