"Cat bears" binturongi — how is the strange beast smelling of popcorn

"Cat bears" binturongi — how is the strange beast smelling of popcorn

Categories: Animals | Asia | Science

Among the most ridiculous mammals of our planet, binturongs will definitely not get lost. They are confidently guaranteed a place in the top ten. This beast is so unusual that scientists have been arguing about its belonging to a particular family for decades to the point of hoarseness. Judge for yourself what else you can expect from a guy who is called "cat bear" in his habitat. And add here an even more exotic smell ... but about everything in order.

"Cat bears" binturongi — how is the strange beast smelling of popcorn

Binturong, which is called Arctictis binturong in Latin, is a mammalian predator belonging to the family of viverra. This is the only species of its kind that does not have close relatives. "Cousins" of these animals are considered ordinary musangs. These are the very animals from whose droppings luvak is extracted — the most valuable kind of coffee for gourmets.

"Cat bears" binturongi — how is the strange beast smelling of popcorn

Binturong litter is not interesting to anyone, but this does not mean that this animal is not worth attention at all. Even one look at him is puzzling. It is a clumsy, short-legged animal, with a long and very stiff coat of black or dark gray color. On the muzzle of the binturong, snow-white whiskers-vibrissae stand out, which play an important role in the study of the surrounding world.

"Cat bears" binturongi — how is the strange beast smelling of popcorn

Externally, binturong looks like a raccoon, so at one time it was referred to the raccoon family. Some of the luminaries of zoology disagreed with this and the animal was transferred to the wyverns. But even here, as it turned out, he does not belong. The "cat bear" has at least three serious differences from its family members. Probably tired of the arguments, the scientists decided to leave everything as it is for now, but binturong will most likely not linger among the wyverns.

First of all, this beast is too big. The body length of an adult animal can reach 96 cm . This is 2 times more than the largest representatives of the wyverns. Secondly, the binturong has a long tail, almost the same as the body. And it's not just a tail, but a real fifth limb! With its help, the beast, whose weight can be 18-20 kg, masterfully moves in the branches and even hangs upside down on it. It is the only predator of the Eastern Hemisphere using its tail in this way.

"Cat bears" binturongi — how is the strange beast smelling of popcorn

By the way, a large mass is the third reason to expel the binturong from the wyverns. Judge for yourself, musang weighs up to 4 kg, and he is one of the largest representatives of the family. And if you just look at how the musang palm marten runs, graceful as a cat, and then how clumsily the "cat bear" paws, there will be no more questions.

The habitat of binturongs is very extensive. This is the whole of Southeast Asia, from India to the Indonesian archipelago. This is a forest animal that prefers moist tropical thickets. We have already said that the "cat bear" is a predator. Yes, it is, but it is difficult to call him bloodthirsty. It eats fish, birds and their eggs, small reptiles and rodents. But at the same time, he will always prefer sweet fruits and young shoots to juicy meat.

"Cat bears" binturongi — how is the strange beast smelling of popcorn

In difficult times, binturongs do not disdain even carrion, so they can safely be called omnivores. Clumsy on the ground, the beast is swift and agile in the trees. Also, the animal swims perfectly, and can stay under water for a long time. The "cat bear" leads a predominantly nocturnal lifestyle, but you can also see it during the day.

Although it's not so easy to get close to binturong in the forest. The poor man has many enemies, including leopards, jaguars, tigers, crocodiles, birds of prey, wild dogs and, unfortunately, man. Binturong fur is not very popular because of its rigidity. But meat is considered a delicacy in Vietnam, Laos and some parts of India.

"Cat bears" binturongi — how is the strange beast smelling of popcorn

Binturong looks like a clumsy bumpkin. But in moments of danger, he remembers that he belongs to predators. To take it with bare hands, and in mittens, definitely will not work. The animal desperately bites, tears everything around with its claws and twists its muscular body in different directions with all its might. But with the help of nets and clever traps, it is not difficult to capture a binturong.

Not all binturongs caught in the jungle end up in the kitchens of Asian restaurants. These animals are sometimes kept as pets. Although, to be honest, you can't call this bumpkin a "good boy". Firstly, binturongs are very restless animals. They make desperate noises at night, stomping, turning everything around and exploring every corner of the house. Sleeping with such a pet next to you definitely won't work.

"Cat bears" binturongi — how is the strange beast smelling of popcorn

In addition, the binturongs are not too neat. It is impossible to teach them to do their business in the tray, even if they do it from infancy. And now about the most unusual — the smell of an animal. "Cat bears" smell strongly... popcorn! This smell gives off a secret that predators mark their territory with. Binturong's urine also smells the same.

Someone will say that this is not the worst thing, because they keep cats and even ferrets at home. But believe me, if you do not have a chronic cold, housing, thoroughly soaked in the smell of the cinema, will begin to infuriate in a couple of days. And the fact that even the ceiling will smell of binturong is guaranteed. The fact is that the beast, after going to the toilet or marking a place, carefully smears everything with its tail. So the territory where this cute guy lives soon turns out to be covered with a solid layer of his vital products.

"Cat bears" binturongi — how is the strange beast smelling of popcorn

Despite all these nuances, there are plenty of people who want to get an exotic pet. In many countries, binturong hunting is not regulated at all. It is believed that there is a lot of it and there is no danger to the population. But there was a time that the same reasoning was about the marsupial wolf, which, alas, disappeared.

Binturongs reproduce quite actively. This is a lone animal, carefully choosing a mate, but only in order to give offspring and part. He has a mating period twice a year. In the temporary family, the dominant role is played by the female. This animal gives birth to from one to six cubs, weighing up to 300 grams. They grow up to 2 — 2.5 years old, and live in nature for no more than 10 years. At the same time, it is not uncommon to find specimens in zoos that have reached the age of 25.

"Cat bears" binturongi — how is the strange beast smelling of popcorn

The number of "cat bears" in nature is slowly but surely declining. In addition to connoisseurs of juicy steaks from his meat, there are also healers. They use the fat, bones, and insides of the poor guy in their potions. Deforestation also affects the population, because of which there are fewer and fewer habitats for binturongs.

The Indian authorities have already come to their senses and brought the animal into Annex III of the CITES Convention. This means that you already need to get a permit to hunt the beast. In the International Red Book, binturong is designated as a "vulnerable species" so far. I would really not like this furry eccentric to become a "disappearing".

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