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Binturong (Arctictis binturong)



Binturong (Arctictis binturong)
Order: Crocodylia, Family: Viverridae

The binturong's tail is as long as its body (2-3 feet) and is immensely strong with a small leathery patch at the end for extra grip; the binturong is the only Old World mammal with a prehensile tail. The binturong's face is lighter in color than its body; binturongs are very similar in appearance to raccoons, badgers or wolverines. The binturong weighs about 25-30 pounds (females usually weigh about 20 percent more than males), making it the second-largest member of the Viverridae family. Its coat is shaggy and fairly solid black with white tips. Females' genitals are similar in appearance to the males.



I. DESCRIPTION:
  • The binturong's tail is as long as its body (2-3 feet) and is immensely strong with a small leathery patch at the end for extra grip; the binturong is the only Old World mammal with a prehensile tail.
  • The binturong's face is lighter in color than its body; binturongs are very similar in appearance to raccoons, badgers or wolverines.
  • The binturong weighs about 25-30 pounds (females usually weigh about 20 percent more than males), making it the second-largest member of the Viverridae family.
  • Its coat is shaggy and fairly solid black with white tips.
  • Females' genitals are similar in appearance to the males.
II. GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
  • Viverrids are an ancient group of animals found only in the Old World, ranging from southern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, India and most of Southeast Asia (mainland and islands).
  • Within Southeast Asia, binturongs can be found in Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Palawan.
  • They live in tropical and subtropical rain forests, spending most of their time in the trees and rarely coming to the forest floor.
III. DIET
  • The binturong is classified as a carnivore, though it primarily eats fruit (such as figs). However, it will also eat carrion, insects, lizards, eggs, chicks and rodents.
  • Binturongs swim well enough to catch fish.
IV. LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
  • The average life span of a binturong in the wild can be up to 20 years, relatively long for a small mammal.
  • The binturong spends most of its time in small family groups consisting of mother and young, with the father around during the training of the offspring (males teach the young how to survive in the trees).
  • Females usually have one to two cubs at a time.
V. SPECIAL NOTES/ADAPTATIONS:
  • Only members of the viverridae family have bursae (slitlike pockets along the edge of the ears, and scent glands).
  • The binturong's scent lands are located in such a position that as the animal moves through the trees, the gland drags on branches, leaving a trail of scent behind (the odor is said to be similar to that of popcorn).
  • Binturongs are nocturnal with excellent night vision, good hearing and a sense of smell reinforced by very long and sensitive facial whiskers.
  • They are known to be somewhat playful in the forest.
  • Binturongs make noises, including grunts, snorts and snuffling (similar to bears).
  • Binturongs are often domesticated because of their affectionate nature and ability to eliminate mice, rats and cockroaches from their owners' homes.



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