Binturongs smell like buttered popcorn

The binturong is sometimes called the ‘bearcat’, but it’s related to neither bears nor cats. It is an arboreal carnivore that mostly eats fruit and it never needs to touch the ground. It’s one of only two carnivores with a prehensile tail, which it wraps around tree branches to anchor itself while asleep. To mark its territory a binturong drags its hindquarters over trees and foliage, and humans report that their secretions smell like buttered popcorn.

The same chemical compound that gives freshly made popcorn its mouthwatering smell, is the same dominant aroma emitted by binturong urine.

The most amazing thing about the binturong is its relationship with its food. It is one of only two animals in the world that can digest the strangler fig, which needs assistance to be dispersed. The binturong feeds on the fig and its powerful digestive enzymes get to work on the fruit’s flesh, leaving the seeds exposed and ready to grow in the animal’s droppings.




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