The Facts

  • Genus/species: Arctictis binturong
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable
  • Location: South East Asia


The Scoop

Sharp Claws, Long Tail

Binturongs are found in the dense, moist tropical forests of South East Asia. They are also known as bearcats and Asian civets. They are large animals with long, coarse hair that is dark brown or black and tipped with grey. Their long tails help them to climb and to grip things. They also have very sharp claws. Binturongs are solitary, cautious animals   that move about in trees, mostly at night. They are excellent climbers, good swimmers and divers. Binturongs are rather noisy, and make chuckling sounds when they are happy and high pitched wails when annoyed. The binturong has scent glands which are located just under its tail. These glands are used to mark trees that are its territory. 

Binturongs can grow to be over three feet tall- around the height of an average four year old kid. They weigh about as much as an average two year old- around 30 lbs. Their diet consists mainly of fruit, though sometimes they do catch insects, birds and rodents. Because they swim well, they occasionally hunt for fish too. They hold fruit with their front feet, and can open it with their agile toes. Humans are the binturongs’ greatest enemy. Binturong’s population had decreased due to hunting by humans as well as destroying the forests that are the binturongs’ home. Today, the Binturong is rarely seen in the wild.


Did You Know? 

  • A binturong cannot leap between one tree and another. It must climb down to the ground to go from tree to tree.
  • When binturong cubs are born, they smell like popcorn.
  • The scent glands under the binturong’s tail also leave a smell like popcorn. 
  • A binturong is able to rotate its legs backwards.


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