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What you need to know to use this site:
- Animals are not people
- They deserve to be treated humanely
- Wild animals do not make good pets
- Animal behavior is fun and interesting
Is There Really an Animal Called a Bearcat?
Bearcats, binturongs (Arctictis binturong), are related to neither bears nor cats. However, their catlike head and bearlike bodies have earned them this nickname. Factors, including deforestation, hunting, habitat degradation and collection for the pet trade have caused their numbers to drop by roughly 30 percent in the past 30 years. They're currently listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Bearcats measure between 24 and 38 inches long, excluding their tails, and weigh in at roughly 20 to 44 pounds, with females slightly larger than males. Their tails are prehensile ( they can grasp a branch, same as monkeys) and almost equal in length to their bodies. The long, dense fur that covers their bodies is mostly black, sometimes with gray tips, but their faces have lighter fur and black whiskers. Their long claws help them to hold on to branches while climbing.
You can find bearcats or binturongs in certain areas of southeast Asia, including Cambodia, China, India, Bhutan, Vietnam, Thailand and Nepal. As primarily tropical creatures, they live in forests, but their exact habitat varies according to what kind of environment is present in their geographical location. For instance, they’re usually found in rain forests, but in Laos they live in evergreen forests and in the Philippines they live in lowland forests and grasslands. While they spend much of their time in the trees, they have to climb down from one and up the next when they want to move from tree to tree, as they’re not acrobatics.
Mating and Reproduction
Female bearcat and young
While there’s no set breeding season for binturongs, who can mate anytime throughout the year, there’s a marked increase in births between the months of January and March, each year. Little is known about their mating rituals, but males and females utilize internal fertilization to reproduce. After mating, females can choose to delay fetal implantation to control the time of year at which they give birth. Once implantation has occurred, the gestation period is 91 days, after which, females give birth to between one and six young.
Eat or Be Eaten
Adult male bearcat
Although binturongs are technically carnivores—belonging to the taxonomic order Carnivora—they’re meat eaters but they eat what is available, mostly fruits. However, they’re also skilled hunters who will eat insects, small mammals, birds and fish. As a large, predatory species, they’re mostly safe from predation. However, tigers and dholes (a wolf-like creature native to southeast Asia) will sometimes make them a meal. Despite not having many natural predators, they certainly smell tasty. These creatures have an extremely unusual odor: that of buttered popcorn.