Search This Blog

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Species Fact Profile: Binturong (Arctictis binturong)


Arctictis binturong (Raffles, 1821)
Range: Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Philippines
Habitat: Tropical Forest
Diet: Small Mammals, Birds, Carrion, Fruits, Leaves, Shoots, Insects, Fish
Social Grouping: Solitary or in Small Groups (Mother with Offspring)
Reproduction: Breed year round, sometimes producing two litters per years; 1-6 (averaging 2 - the female has 2 mammae) young born after a 91 day gestation period; males are mature at 28 months, females at 30 months
Lifespan: 20-25 Years
Conservation Status: IUCN Vulnerable, CITES Appendix III

  • World's largest civet species: body length of 61-916 centimeters, in addition to a tail of 56-89 centimeters; weigh 9-20 kilograms
  • Body covered with long, coarse, black fur, usually with gray or buff tips, especially on the face; often has black tufts of fur protruding from the ears
  • One of only two species of carnivore equipped with a prehensile tail (the other is the kinkajou) and the only Old World mammal to have one, apart from the marsupials.  Despite this appendage, binturongs do not leap or swing through the branches, and are rather slow climbers (they are, however, surprisingly good swimmers)
  • The hind legs can rotate backwards to improve the animal's grip when climbing down trees head first; the pads of the feet are roughened, also to improve grip
  • Primarily nocturnal, they often sleep with their head hidden under their tail to block out light
  • They are believed to be capable of embryonic diapauses -  females are capable of "delaying implantation" of fertilized eggs
  • Often scent-mark with the glands under the base of their tail; their odor is very distinctive, often likened to popcorn or cornbread
  • Considered an important seed disperser for strangler figs and other plants
  • Little is known about the species in the wild, but captives are very vocal - they whine, howl, growl, hiss, and may even "chuckle" when pleased
  • Kept as pets throughout their range, they are sometimes seen as pets in North America and Europe, with the prehensile tail serving as a built-in "leash"
  • The species is often nicknamed "bear cat" (though it is neither bear nor cat); the meaning of the name "binturong" is unknown - it comes from an extinct language
  • There are nine subspecies, of which the Palawan binturong (A. b. whitei) is sometimes listed as a separate species
  • Uncommon across most of its range, the binturong is threatened by habitat loss, as well as hunting for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine

No comments:

Post a Comment