A BINTU WHAT?
This week I am revisiting one of my favorite creatures. I wrote a blog post on this mammal about a year ago, and wanted to repost it for some of my new readers. So this week we’ll look at a most unusual looking creature called the Binturong.
Here’s his picture. Yes, he’s a bit weird looking, but let’s not judge before we have all the facts.
I think I like him because he looks like something out of a fantasy and I do like a good fantasy. J The Binturong is one of only two carnivores with a prehensile tail, and he is a member of the civet family. However, please note that calling them a carnivore is not entirely correct. The Binturong is a carnivore, but he also likes to eat fruits, and leaves. He also will enjoy a tasty fish dish when he can catch them. So it’s more appropriate to call him an omnivore.
The Binturong is a member of the civet family. A civet is a small stocky nocturnal mammal that is mainly found in Africa and Asia. Their body type is very distinct. They are slender. They have long tails and are typically low to the ground. There are over a dozen members of the civet family.
Here are some pictures of two other members of the civet family:
Masked Palm Civet (Photo credit: Pete Oxford – Arkive.org)
Common African Civet – Photo Credit: Nick Gordon Arkive.org
As you can see, both of the above animals look strikingly similar to the Binturong. An important point to mention here is that the African Civet’s status with the IUCN is listed as least concern along with his relative the Masked Palm Civet.
For all the kids reading this blog post, you can go to the following site to learn more about the African Civet.
Here’s another link on a-z animals for the Binturong:
The Binturong is also known as a bearcat, and I think you can see why from his photos. He has a very unusual coat. His fur is very black and very coarse, and he has tufts of hair come up from his rounded ears. He sort of looks like a cat, with his long whiskers and sharp canines, but when combined with the ears the best nickname is bearcat. Then again, I think he looks like a very angry raccoon. What do you think?
Photo credit: San Diego Zoo
Binturongs grow to about two to three feet in length, weighing about thirty pounds. The females are larger than the males. Their tails are approximately the same length as their body. Their bodies are quite stout, low and long and they have short legs. This body structure is another physical attribute, along with their tail, that helps them to balance and move along tree limbs. The little guy in the picture below is demonstrating for you. J
Here’s an interesting fact! The Binturong smells like popcorn! Yes, like fresh-popped popcorn. It’s just a coincidence of course. The strong smell helps to inform other Binturongs in a particular area of the jungle that there is already someone in residence and outsiders would do well to stay away.
According to the IUCN,* the Binturong is vulnerable.
This status is due to logging, which is slowly destroying their habitat. In the Philippines, it is captured for the wildlife trade, and in some places it is also taken for human consumption. The IUCN labels them as vulnerable because their population has declined more than 30% over the last 30 years.
I found a wonderful video for everyone. Meet, Ayu, the Binturong. You'll see how she moves. Take note of her thick tail, and you'll also get a glimpse of her using that tail to hang from a branch. I just love her whiskers! Don’t you? This film was found on YouTube, and is brought to us by RedPandaVision - taken at Port Lympne in Kent. :-)
Thank you for thinking about, and learning about the Binturong this week. My sincere thanks to Arkive for their information and some of the photos. Please take a moment to visit their very informative site.
Make sure you return next week. I will be speaking about a wild dog that is very rare, and there is very little known about him.
*IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature
Citations and Resources:
Jeanne E. Rogers, Author
The Sword of Demelza
An Award Winning Middle Grade Fantasy Where Endangered Animals Roam the Pages!