Binturong Fast Facts
Meet Dougal and Ted! Binturongs are also known as bearcats, however this is misleading since they are not related to bears or cats. Instead, they belong to the same family as civets and genets, Binturong are arboural, spending most of their time in the trees. They have sharp claws to grip the trunk and they can rotate their ankles 180 degrees to enable them to climb down a tree headfirst. They also have a muscular, prehensile tail which can be used as an extra hand when climbing.
Although binturongs are classified as carnivores, they will eat most things including fruits, vegetables, birds, small mammals, fish, carrion, invertebrates, eggs, leaves, and plant shoots.
Binturong are solitary and only come together to breed. The female binturong is one of only a few mammals that can delayed implantation, meaning she can choose to delay birth until there are good environmental conditions with lots of food. Females give birth after 92 days to one to three offspring. The pups are born with sealed eyes, and hide in the mother's fur for the first several days. The young wean after 6-8 weeks.
Threats + Conservation
Binturong are classified as VULNERABLE on the IUCN Red List, their populations are estimated to have declined by more than 30% over the last three decades. Their main threats in the wild are habitat destruction, poaching for traditional Asian medicines, and the fur and pet trade. They are also considered to be a delicacy in some areas and are illegally hunted for food. Our binturong as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) to help preserve this species in captivity, as well as supporting in-situ conservation.
1. Binturong are one of only two carnivores with a prehensile tail. 2. The real meaning of the word binturong is unknown as the local language that named it is now extinct. 3. They have a scent gland under their tail which is used for communication. This gland smells of buttery popcorn.