With their black tufts of fur, sharp curved claws, long bushy tails, and large white whiskers, binturongs look like a cross between a small bear and a large cat. Sometimes called “bearcats,” they are really members of the mongoose family.

What They Eat

Binturongs love fruit. They are especially fond of figs and are notorious banana thieves! These animals are known to hang by their long, muscular tails to reach a variety of foods, including insects, small animals, eggs, and leaves.

Where They Live

These tree dwellers are native to the dense, high forests of Burma and Indochina, the Malayan peninsula, and Indonesia. When resting, they keep a firm grip on branches with their tails.

What They Do

Wild binturongs live alone or in small family groups. In addition to scent, they also communicate with loud screeching howls and chuckling noises. Most active at night, these shy animals sleep in high branches during the day and are difficult to see.

How They’re Doing

Binturongs are not considered threatened in most areas, although there is increasing pressure on their populations due to habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade.

Where in the World



Island Tropical Forest

Conservation Status


Animal Facts

Body & head: 24-38 in.
Tail: 22-35 in.
Weight: 20-45 lbs.
Lifespan: 18-20 years

Taxonomic Category

Mammal, carnivore Other mammals

Where at the Zoo

Tropics Trail

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