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Malay common name: Binturong

English common name: Binturong

Scientific name: Arctictis binturong


rank: Vulnerable

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If you look up into the forest canopy, you might see me curled up to sleep or slowly climbing one limb at a time. I’m a mammal and I look like a cross between a cat and a bear, hence my nickname “bearcat”. However, I’m not related to either bears or cats; my closer relatives are civets who live throughout Asia. I spend most of my life up in the trees and depend on them for shelter and food. As I climb, I use my large claws to grip the branches and my long tail to keep my balance.

I’m an omnivore, which means I eat both plants and meat, but mostly prefer to eat fruits. Strangler figs are my favorite snack and make up the bulk of my diet. Much like the Malayan Sun Bear, Malayan Tapir, and other fruit-eating animals, I help fruit trees by spreading their seeds wherever I roam. If I do come across eggs or carrion, I will also eat those; I never pass up a meal.

Even though I’m rare, you can come try to spot me in Crocker Range Park in Sabah as well as Taman Negara National Park and Endau Rompin National Park in Peninsular Malaysia.

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