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Other name: Asian Bearcat; Palawan Bearcat
Scientific name: Arctictis binturong
Country / Place of origin: Asia
History: The Binturong is a member of the Viverridae family, which includes Civets and Genets. Binturong are native to a number of countries in Southest Asia, where their natural habitat is dense tropical rainforests. Binturong are arboreal mammals that spend most of their time moving across tree canopies. In some areas of Malaysia, they are commonly kept as pets. In its native habitat, the Binturong is classified as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Appearance: The Binturong is also called “bearcat” because it looks like a cross of a bear and a cat. It has long, course, and shaggy but glossy fur that is typically black or dark brown in color. The face is mostly gray with white whiskers. The eyes are brown. The ears are black, with long hair hanging from the tips. The limbs are short but stocky; the soles or the paws are naked and the claws are long and strong. The body length averages 2-3 feet and the bushy, prehensile tail is often as long as the body.
Average weight: 40 - 50 lbs.
Lifespan: 10 - 20 years
Grooming: Pet Binturongs will need to be occasionally brushed to remove hair tangles or bathed to remove excessive dirt.
Diet: The Binturong’s main diet is fruit but they are known to also eat leaves, tender shoots, small invertebrates, fish, birds, eggs, and small rodents. Like its cousin, the Kinkajou, the Binturong contributes to dispersing seeds and pollen in the forest area. In captivity, they appreciate fresh fruits and cooked vegetables like carrots and potatoes.
Housing: Although neither popular nor recommended as pets, Binturongs are kept as house companions in some Asian countries. They are not domesticated and can be difficult to care for because they are arboreal, nocturnal, cannot be litter-trained, and secrete an odorous musk to mark their territory.The ideal cage for the Binturong would be a large well-ventilated enclosure equipped with sturdy branches, nesting boxes, and shelving to satisfy their climbing tendencies.
Behavior / Temperament / Activity level: Binturongs are nocturnal and can be noisy when they forage at night (they screech when annoyed, chuckle when happy, and howl to call attention). They are unpredictable and temperamental and can become aggressive during the mating season. They sleep among tree branches. Under optimum conditions, they can live to more than 20 years.
Natural history: Binturongs are not domesticated and may be protected by laws depending on the jurisdiction. Pet owners are advised to consult local authorities for restrictions, permits, and licenses for capture, purchase, and ownership.
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