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Arctictis binturong

PZ Binturong 12 22 LR 20
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Mammals
Order: Carnivora
Family: Viverridae

Paignton Zoo is home to one Binturong: a female called Fig. She arrived at the end of 2022 and lives in her home near the gorillas.

This curious small mammal is often described as a ‘bearcat’ due to its striking similarity to both a small bear and a domestic cat. They are native to the tropical forests of South and Southeast Asia.

Binturongs are omnivores. They eat a range of small animals including fish, rodents and insects, but they mostly enjoy fruits and berries.

Interesting facts!

  • They may be known as bearcats, but binturongs are neither bears nor cats; they are part of the viverridae family, which includes civets and fossas.
  • Binturongs spend lots of their time in the trees – you’ll need to look up when you visit Fig at her enclosure! They climb down by turning their ankles 180 degrees to help them grip onto the tree trunks.
  • They have strong prehensile tails, which can help them to grasp branches like an extra limb.
  • They smell of freshly buttered popcorn! This is because they release an oil from a gland under their tail containing the same chemical that gives popcorn its aroma.


Binturongs are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, with habitat loss due to deforestation being the major threat that they face. They are also hunted for their meat, for traditional medicines and for the pet trade.