Paolina Frazee

Paolina Frazee

Modified & Updated: 09 Sep 2023


The binturong, also known as the bearcat, is a fascinating creature that often goes unnoticed. With its fluffy appearance and unique attributes, it is definitely a creature worth learning about. Found in the forests of Southeast Asia, this arboreal mammal is known for its strong scent and prehensile tail, making it a truly unique member of the animal kingdom. In this article, we will delve into 18 intriguing facts about the binturong, shedding light on its habits, appearance, and ecological importance. From its quirky eating habits to its impressive climbing abilities, prepare to be amazed by the wonders of the binturong.

Table of Contents

Binturongs are also known as “bear-cats”.

These unique creatures have a resemblance to both bears and cats, hence the name “bear-cat”.

Binturongs are not actually bears or cats.

Despite their name, they are a species of the civet family, which is a group of small to medium-sized carnivores.

Binturongs are the largest arboreal civet.

They are excellent climbers and spend a majority of their time in trees, using their prehensile tails to navigate through the branches.

Binturongs are native to Southeast Asia.

These fascinating animals can be found in countries such as India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Binturongs have a strong and distinct odor.

Their scent glands produce a musky smell, which is often compared to popcorn or corn chips. This odor helps them mark their territory and communicate with other binturongs.

Binturongs have a prehensile tail.

Their long and muscular tails are highly adaptive and can be used to grasp branches, hang from trees, and even support their body weight.

Binturongs have a diet that consists mainly of fruit.

While they are primarily frugivorous, they also consume leaves, shoots, insects, birds, small mammals, and eggs when fruits are scarce.

Binturongs play an important role in seed dispersal.

As they consume various fruits, the undigested seeds pass through their digestive system and are dispersed in different locations, aiding in the growth and regeneration of forest ecosystems.

Binturongs are excellent swimmers.

They are known to swim across rivers and streams in search of food or to escape predators.

Binturongs have a low reproductive rate.

Females give birth to only one or two cubs at a time, and the young binturongs stay with their mother for an extended period of time before venturing out on their own.

Binturongs have a lifespan of around 20 years.

With proper care and protection, binturongs can live for two decades or more in captivity.

Binturongs have a unique vocalization.

They make a variety of sounds, including growls, hisses, grunts, and loud calls, which are used for territorial defense and communication.

Binturongs are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.

Due to habitat loss, deforestation, and poaching, the population of binturongs is decreasing, leading to their classification as a vulnerable species.

Binturongs have a slow metabolic rate.

This adaptation allows them to conserve energy in their predominantly sedentary lifestyle.

Binturongs have a unique foot structure.

They have semi-retractable claws and soles with ridges, providing them with exceptional grip and dexterity while climbing trees.

Binturongs are solitary animals.

They prefer a solitary lifestyle and are more active during the night, making individual encounters with them quite rare.

Binturongs are highly adaptable.

They can thrive in various habitat types, including forests, grasslands, and even agricultural areas.

Binturongs have a gentle disposition.

Despite their fearsome appearance, binturongs are generally peaceful and docile animals, making them a popular attraction in zoos around the world.

In conclusion, the 18 facts about binturongs highlight their unique characteristics, habitat, behavior, and the challenges they face in the wild. These fascinating creatures, often referred to as “bear-cats,” are not only important for the ecosystem but also captivate the curiosity of animal enthusiasts worldwide.


The binturong, also known as the bearcat, is truly a fascinating animal. From its unique appearance to its interesting behaviors, there are many intriguing facts about the binturong that make it a remarkable creature. Whether it’s their prehensile tail or their ability to emit a strong musk-like odor, these arboreal omnivores have adapted to life in the treetops.Binturongs play an important role in their ecosystems as seed distributors, aiding in forest regeneration. Despite facing threats such as habitat loss and illegal wildlife trade, efforts are being made to protect and conserve these majestic animals.By learning about the binturong and raising awareness, we can contribute to the preservation of this incredible species. Let’s continue to celebrate and appreciate the wonders of the animal kingdom, including the amazing binturong.


Q: Where can binturongs be found?

A: Binturongs can be found in Southeast Asia, specifically in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Q: What do binturongs eat?

A: Binturongs are omnivores and their diet consists of a variety of foods, including fruits, leaves, small mammals, birds, eggs, and carrion.

Q: Do binturongs make good pets?

A: Binturongs are not suitable as pets due to their specific dietary and habitat requirements. Moreover, they are wild animals that belong in their natural habitats.

Q: How long do binturongs live?

A: Binturongs have an average lifespan of around 18 to 20 years in the wild, but they can live longer in captivity, with some individuals reaching their late 20s.

Q: Are binturongs endangered?

A: Binturongs are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Their populations are declining primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

Q: Can binturongs climb trees?

A: Absolutely! Binturongs are excellent climbers and spend a significant amount of time in the trees, where they can move effortlessly using their strong prehensile tail.