Glands under the Binturong’s tail produce a popcorn-like odour which its predator enemies can’t stand.
Description: The Binturong has a coarse black coat, with a slightly lighter face and white whiskers. It has reddish brown eyes and small rounded ears. The Binturong moves slowly and carefully along branches, using its prehensile tail to grip and keep balance. Females are larger than males.
Diet: The Binturong is an omnivore. It eats lots of fruit, which makes it important to a forest’s health because it disperses seeds in its droppings. In particular, the Binturong scars the tough outer coating of Strangler Fig seeds, allowing them to germinate in new areas. It also eats small animals including birds, fish, insects and rodents.
In the Wild: Binturong are solitary, largely avoiding each other. If they do group, usually it only includes a mother Binturong with immature females. The Binturong, like Australia’s Red Kangaroo, is capable of embryonic diapause. This means it can delay pregnancy after mating until it can give birth when environmental conditions are more favourable.
Threats: As an arboreal predator, the Binturong is rarely threatened by other predators, however, it can fall prey to tigers and dholes (Asian wild dogs). Unfortunately, Binturong numbers in the wild are dwindling due to habitat destruction and poaching for meat and fur.
Did you Know?
The Binturong has an unusual smell – fresh popcorn! The scent comes from a gland under the tail which it brushes over branches, leaving its trail behind. While pleasant to us, the smell lets other Binturong know they’re trespassing on an animal’s territory and discourages predators.