ANIMAL FACTS - Binturong
The Binturong is often called a 'Bear-cat' but it isn't a bear, or a cat!
Binturongs are renowned for the distinctive smell that they use to indicate territory and readiness to breed. Some describe it as a popcorn smell. 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.
Age: 11 Years (DOB 20/10/2005)
Meet our gorgeous little binturong boy! He is the youngest and certainly the shyest of our two binturongs. His elder sister Pip, is outgoing and confident, while this boy is very reserved.
When Jaya and Pip joined the Zoo crew in September 2009, moving all the way from Victoria. it took this little binturong some time to relax in his new environment. When he gained the courage to emerge from his den, he cautiously explored and discovered he was surrounded by lush gardens, a beautiful waterfall and lots of nice rocky ledges to sleep on. Not so bad at all!
Age: 12 Years (DOB 4/12/2004)
Pip is a very relaxed, easygoing and confident binturong, who takes all aspects of life in her stride! It doesn't seem like anything will ever faze this girl. That said, she is also one of the more notoriously lazy critters around, always looking for an excuse to sleep in, often trying to convince her keepers that she'd rather get breakfast (and lunch, and dinner!) in bed every day of the year. She always lays claim the biggest, highest snoozing spots in her home, where she can watch the world around her from a lofty perspective. Pip is also a very personable binturong who is not at all shy about giving guests a kiss on the nose when they come to visit her.