Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bellatrix, Our Baby Binturong

Chances are the newest addition to the Wildwood Wildlife Park is an animal that is new to you. Meet Bellatrix, a baby binturong, also known as a bear cat. Its genus name Arctictis means ‘bear-weasel’ and it’s easy to see why. The name is misleading since binturongs are not related to bears or cats.

Binturong’s are native to South and Southeast Asia where they are can be found in the tropical rain forests. Binturongs are active during day and night. While binturongs spend most of their time in trees, they usually have to climb down
to get from tree to tree, since they are not nearly as acrobatic as monkeys. They move about gently, often coming to a stop, clinging to a branch often using their tail in order to keep its balance. They walk flat-footed, and, when waddling around on the ground their gait resembles that of a bear.

Binturong’s have a very distinctive smell - that of buttered popcorn! As pleasing as it might be to the human nose, that scent serves a purpose in the wild to let other binturongs know that they are trespassing on another binturongs territory; this same scent is also used to discourage a would-be predator.

Female binturongs usually give birth to 1 or 2 babies and weigh 5 ounces at birth. Adults can grow up to 2 to 3 feet in length and weigh between 30 and 50 pounds; their tails can grow from 19 to 33 inches in length. 

Binturong Area Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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