13 February 2018

Binturong

In Bangkok there's a zoo. I visited it one afternoon. As well as expected animals  like Asian elephants, seals and penguins there were animals that I had previously  never heard of. Most of these came from the jungles of South East Asia and of course the continuation of nearly all of these species is now threatened.

One of the animals I saw was a binturong, sometimes called a bearcat. Binturongs may be found throughout South East Asia, including Sumatra and Borneo. There are at least nine sub-species of this animal.

Though binturongs are not especially agile, they spend the majority of their time in the branches of trees. They enjoy long periods of inactivity. They are omnivores - foraging for whatever they can find to sustain life - including smaller mammals, insects and jungle fruits.
The adult creature's  strong, bushy tail is nearly as long as the head and body, which together can range from 28 to 33 in (71 to 84 cm) with the  the tail being 26 to 27 in (66 to 69 cm) long.

The binturong is normally quite shy, but aggressive when harassed. It will initially urinate or defecate on a threat and then, if teeth-baring and snarling does not deter the threat, it uses its powerful jaws and teeth in self-defence. When threatened, the binturong will usually flee up into a nearby tree, but as a defence mechanism the animal may sometimes balance on its tail and flash its claws to appear threatening to potential predators.

The creature's natural lifespan is around twenty years though some captive binturongs have lived longer than that.  They have very few predators. In fact, you will not be surprised to learn that the main threat to their existence is loss of habitat through deforestation.

I am happy to live on a planet that still hosts binturongs. I would be much less happy to learn that they have all gone the way of the dodo and the Tasmanian tiger. Frankly, there are too many people on this spinning sphere and not enough binturongs. Save the Tiger! Save the Rhino! Save The Blue Whale! Save the Binturong! For more information about the binturong please go here.

32 comments:

  1. Thank you for that. I'd never heard of it before, but, yes, it would be a disaster if it became extinct. As you say, too many people. We somehow need to tip that balance. Not that I'm suggesting genocide, mind.

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    1. They say that the world is well on its way to reaching a population of ten billion by the end of this century. The repercussions of this for the planet are enormous.

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  2. I have never in my life heard of a binturong -- amazing! I feel that same astonishment at pangolins, which are incredibly endangered by poaching and the Chinese medicine trade. And rhinos, of course. As you said, too many people. And too many people who don't consider the impact of their actions on the natural world.

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    1. It's funny how we westerners know much more about African mammals than South East Asian mammals.

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  3. Zoos, even "good" ones, make me sad. I realize that some do important conservation work, though.

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    1. I am not a big fan of zoos myself but that day in Bangkok I was at loose ends and couldn't think of anything else to do.

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  4. Thank you for this, very interesting. I have never heard of the binturong, and I like the sound of the name too. I realise how many animals I ignore the name of and that (hopefully still) exist.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. It is said that the name "binturong" came from a now extinct language. Thanks for calling by again Maria! Congratulations to Arianna Fontana on her short track speed skating gold medal! Hurrah for Italia!

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  5. The diversity of life on the planet is amazing.

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    1. Yes it is but isn't it sad that mankind has effectively reduced the diversity?

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  6. I love the way he's just chilling out in that top photo. Definitely too many people on this planet.

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    1. Sometimes I relax like a binturong. We are both cool creatures.

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  7. Yes, way too many people, and they all want cars and eat meat and use energy-consuming devices all the time. Well, not all want cars, and not all eat meat. I have no children and I do not drive, but I admit to enjoying meat and my electronic devices, central heating and hot showers. So I guess we are all guilty in some wayI have never heard of the binturong. Thank you for letting me learn something new today!

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    1. Yes. We are all guilty in some ways but some of us are more guilty than others.

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  8. I've heard our President needs a pet. Could someone mail him a binturong? (heh-heh)

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    1. I'd rather send him a garden slug!

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  9. They’re fascinating creatures. An interesting look at an animal that i’d never seen before.

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    1. Glad to have introduced you to the binturong Terry!

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    1. Have you got them in Trelawnyd?

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  11. Thank you for that link: the best part came at the end, the bit how these binturongs small like buttered popcorn. What a wonderful world we live in.

    There are indeed far too many people in this world. I've done my bit, when I chose not to reproduce and add any more humans onto the planet. I am very proud I did that, and I wish more people would consider this option. Also, compared to biturongs, human beings STINK.

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    1. I saw a woman on a TV quiz show last week. She proudly announced that she was mother to eight children. I wanted to shout at her - "That is so wrong!"

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    2. Welcome to the club, Vivian - I have decided not to have children a long time ago, and have never had reason to regret that decision.

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    3. That's funny! "The club"? In England there's a colloquial expression for pregnancy - "in the club"!

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    4. I know - they even made a TV series by that title!

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  12. Save all animals, I say!

    I've never heart of binturongs prior to now. Thanks for the interesting information, Yorkie.

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    1. I am glad I introduced you to this beautiful creature Lee.

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  13. When I think of the plight of the earth I am just appalled, distressed, depressed and inconsolable.
    I always thought two kids would be more than enough for the planet. One mistake and I doubled that so all I can hope is that I have raised them all to be as responsible as possible and to contribute

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    1. Four is too many Kylie. Which two are you going to eliminate?

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    2. whichever two are causing the most trouble at the time!

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  14. A new one on me too. In fact, if I didn't know better I'd think you'd made it up...

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    1. You got me! The pictures are all fakes. I used the wife's sewing machine and an old fur coat from the Oxfam shop.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.