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Binturong

The binturong, Arctictis binturong also known as Asian Bearcat, Malay Civet Cat, Palawan Bearcat or just simply the Beercat, is neither a bear nor a cat but is a species of civet of the family Viverridae. The real meaning of the original name is lost, as the local language that gave it is extinct. The Binturong is endangered due to habitat destruction and poaching for their medicinal uses and their fur. Its natural habitat is forest canopy, and it spends most of its time in the trees of southeast Asia, Borneo, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Palawan Island.

They are nocturnal and sleep on branches. Their bushy tails are fully prehensile and act as a fifth hand. They are about the size of a large house cat, averaging about 24 to 37 in (60 to 95 cm) and 20 to 31 lb (9 to 14 kg). The tail is nearly as long as the body with size ranging from 212.65 to 35.43 in (55 to 90 cm). The ears are small and rounded and it has small eyes. They have coarse and thick black fur. They eat primarily fruit, but also have been known to dine on eggs, shoots and leaves, and small animals including rodents and birds. Deforestation has greatly reduced their numbers. When cornered, a bearcat can be vicious and mean. A binturong can also make chuckling sounds when it seems to be happy and utter a high-pitched wail if annoyed. Binturongs can live over 20 years in captivity. One is recorded to have lived almost 26 years.

Binturongs climb trees and leap from branch to branch. They use their tails and claws to cling while searching for fruit, eggs, leaves, birds, and rats. They can rotate their hind legs backwards so that their claws still have grip when climbing down a tree headfirst. Binturongs also use their tails to communicate, through the scent gland located under it. The scent of binturong musk is often compared to that of warm popcorn and cornbread. Binturongs brush their tails against trees and howl to announce their presence to fellow Binturongs. Slow and graceful, the binturong hunts in the night and sleeps during the day. The Orange Asli of Malaysia keep binturong as pets.

Binturong


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