Binturong – Did You Know…

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… That the Binturong, a southeast Asian mammal, smells like buttered popcorn when excited? Binturongs are renowned for the distinctive smell that they use to indicate territory and readiness to breed. The aroma comes from a scent gland near their tails.

With shaggy black fur, stiff white whiskers, a small face and intense eyes, binturongs are very odd looking creatures! They have a prehensile tail which is used to hang on to branches like a monkey. But binturongs are not monkeys – they belong to the order of animals known as the Carnivora (which includes bears, cats, dogs and otters among others) and is one of only two of these animals to have a prehensile tail. The other is the Kinkajou of South America.

Binturongs are naturally found in north-eastern India, Burma, Malaysia, Thailand, Borneo, Philippines, Sumatra and Java. Using their bushy tails for balance and support, binturongs spend most of their time wandering treetops in the dense forests of South-east Asia, often at night, to find their food.

Binturongs are generally solitary, preferring to hang out on their own. Some will form small, family groups however, and the female is nearly always the boss! When binturongs are ready to mate they will signal to other binturongs using their scent.

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