Tag Archives: Myanmar

The Binturong: A Sweet Smelling Tree-Climber

If you look up in the trees of South-east Asian countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam, you might catch a glimpse of a Binturong snacking on some fruit. Despite being known to most Asians as a sort of bear-cat, the binturong is actually a civet (a small, nocturnal mammal), and lacks any of the ferociousness of it’s namesake; enough so that it’s sometimes kept as a pet by people in Malaysia. The binturong actually makes a lot of sense as a pet since it has a calm demeanor, a long life-span (around 20 years) and is known to make a “chuckling” noise when it’s happy. It’s even said to have a sweet scent when clean, similar to that popcorn and cornbread! It’s a wonder that these cute little guys, who only weigh around 20-31lbs (9 to 14kg; about the size of a large house cat), aren’t more popular as pets throughout the world. The biturong also possesses some interesting biological traits; like it’s ability to rotate it’s hind paws so that when it climbs down a tree head-first, it still has traction; and it’s ability to time the birth of it’s young ( a trait known as ‘embryonic diapause’). Deforestation has thinned the binturong population in recent years, making them vulnerable to extinction. With that said, it’s import that this wonderful species is protected so that the world can enjoy their peaceful, endearing presence.

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