Arctictis-binturong, Binturong

Arctictis-binturong

 Binturong

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The Binturong (Arctictis binturong), alsoArctictis-binturong, Binturong known as the Asian Bearcat, the Palawan Bearcat, or simply the Bearcat, is a species of the family Viverridae, which includes the civets and genets. It is neither a bear nor a cat, and the real meaning of the original name has been lost, as the local language that gave it that name is now extinct, Its natural habitat is in trees of forest canopy in rainforest of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.It is nocturnal and sleeps on branches. It eats primarily fruit, but also has been known to eat eggs, shoots, leaves, and small animals, such as rodents or birds. Deforestation has greatly reduced its numbers. When cornered, the Binturong can be vicious. The Binturong can make chuckling sounds when it seems to be happy and utter a high-pitched wail if annoyed. The Binturong can live over 20 years in captivity; one has been recorded to have lived almost 26 years.
Being burly and omnivorous, the Binturong is sometimes compared to a bear, but is closer in size to a large cat. Its average length is usually between 60–96 cm (24–38 in), and average weight ranges between 9–14 kg (20–31 lb), although some exceptional individuals have been known to weigh 22 kg (49 lb) or more. Its body is covered with coarse and thick black fur. The tail, bushy and fully prehensile, can act as a fifth hand and is nearly as long as the animal’s own length. The ears of the Binturong are small and rounded, and it has small eyes.

Reproduction

The estrous period of the Binturong is 81 days, with a gestation of 91 days. The Binturong is one of approximately 100 species of mammal believed by many husbandry experts to be capable of embryonic diapause, or delayed implantation, which allows the female of the species to time parturition to coincide with favorable environmental conditions. Typical birthing is of two offspring, but up to six may occur.

The Bearcat climbs trees and leaps from branch to branch, using its tail and claws to cling while searching for food. It can rotate its hind legs backwards so that its claws still have a grip when climbing down a tree head first. The Binturong also uses its tail to communicate, through the scent gland located under it. The scent of Binturong musk is often compared to that of warm buttered popcorn [3] and cornbread. This comparison was made by zoologist Ron McGill on the Today Show, when he presented a bearcat along with several other animals.[citation needed] The Binturong brushes its tail against trees and howls to announce its presence to other Binturongs.

The Orang Asli of Malaysia keep Binturong as pets.

Ecological significance

The Binturong an important animal for seed dispersal, especially those of the Strangler Fig, because of its ability to scarify the seed’s tough outer covering.

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