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Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for...

BINTURONG!!!


That's right everybody, today's topic is the marvelous Binturong.  For those of you who have never heard of this enchanting animal, pay attention.  The Binturong is a medium sized carnivore from Southeast Asia.  This beautiful animal can grow up to six feet long, nose to tail, with the females being larger than the males.  The really cool thing about the binturong is that they possess prehensile tails, which is rare among carnivorous mammals (the only other example is the kinkajou of South America), and as they spend most of their time in the trees, they certainly need them.

The Binturong is also known as the bearcat.  If you look at the picture above you can probably see why.  They are relatively large creatures with long white whiskers.  The thing that really makes binturongs unique, however, is their scent glands.  As with most other animals in the Civet family, the binturong has scent glands located under the tail.  These glands are used to mark territory and identify individuals, as most scent glands are.  The cool part is actually the scent.  The binturong smells like popcorn.  Yes, you read that right.  Most people agree that the scent given off by the binturong smells like popcorn, as do their newborn cubs.


One of the zoos near my house has had a binturong for about as long as I can remember, introducing me to this really interesting species.  Recently one of my friends also discovered the charm of the binturong.  She has decided to own one.  While I'm not sure this is the best decision, it's not actually illegal.  I do not, however, recommend this to anyone.  Wild animals need to be respected as such.

Sadly the binturong is classified as vulnerable in the wild due to habitat destruction as well as it's passive nature toward humans.  As much as I wish to view this magnificent creature in the wild one day, it is highly unlikely.  There have only been a few sightings within the past decade.  There are thousands of other species out there facing the same setbacks as the binturong.

Due to the number of comments I received about the narwhal post that had never heard of the species before, I would like to ask each of you to click on this link and check out some more of these animals.  This world is full of beautiful and amazing creatures, most of which are not well known by the public simply because of their decrease in population numbers.  So go out there and educate yourself on some of the wonders this world has to offer!!