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Please pass the popcorn

Binturong at rest

Binturong at rest

The binturong has a face like a cat, a body like a bear, a prehensile tail like a monkey and releases an aroma reminiscent of buttered popcorn. This creature is rarely spotted in the wild and lives in the  dense tropical rain-forests of Southeast Asia. The meaning of the word binturong is unknown as the language it was derived from is now extinct.

These creatures are noisy communicators. A happy binturong may chuckle, but an irritated one will utter a high-pitched wail or growl fiercely. On the prowl, it may periodically produce a series of low grunts or a hissing sound made by expelling air through its partially opened lips. A female binturong in the mood for love will purr.

The binturong plays a key role in the rain-forest ecosystem, as one of only two known animals with digestive enzymes capable of softening the tough outer covering of the fig’s seeds. Populations have declined more than 30 percent over the past 30 years, leaving scientists greatly concern for the survival of the rain-forests and the animal.

Yes, more popcorn, please.


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