Binturongs are commonly known as the Bearcat although they are not in the bear or cat families. They are from South East Asia and can be found in forests from India to the Philippines. Binturongs are intelligent and curious by nature. They are active both night and day and they are primarily arboreal, spending most of their time in the tree canopy. Their coat is black, thick and very coarse. They have a bushy prehensile tail that is thick at the root, gradually tapering, and curls inwards at the tip. The prehensile tail is almost as long as their body and aids in climbing. They have an odor produced by scent glands that many describe as smelling like popcorn. They are normally shy in the wild, but very aggressive when harassed. They may urinate or defecate on a threat. If that does not succeed, and teeth-baring and snarling does not deter the threat, they use their powerful jaws and teeth in self-defense. They are not predators but adults rarely fall victim to the apex predators in their range such as the leopard, clouded leopard, or reticulated python. The binturong is an important agent for seed dispersal, especially for the strangler fig, because of its ability to scarify the seed’s tough outer covering. Unfortunately binturongs are listed as vulnerable in some parts of their range and endangered in others. They are no longer common in any location and are currently at risk due to habitat destruction, poaching for traditional Asian medicines, and the fur and pet trade.
They are considered carnivores, sometimes feeding on small mammals, insects, and eggs but they also eat lots of fruits. The binturong is an important agent for seed dispersal in its native range.