Bearcats smell like popcorn

binturong
‘Binturong’ by Thingie, 4 Feb 2006, via Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/73275371@N00/299477663/in/photolist-ssUgZ

This little fellow is a bearcat, or binturong. He is, in fact, neither bear nor cat, but is instead a member of the viverridae family (which we know mostly as civets & genets).

Shy, slow and shaggy, bearcats can be aggressive when threatened. They are one of only two carnivores with a prehensile tail, which is nearly as long as their bodies (which are usually two to three feet long). For a carnivore, they are surprisingly omnivorous, and their diet in the wild leans towards fruits, shoots and leaves.

Bearcats are native to Southeast Asia, but as arboreal forest-dwellers, they are increasingly at risk due to habitat loss and degradation through logging and conversion. They are also extensively trapped for the Asian pet, food and fur trade.

They also smell like buttered popcorn. Truly. Recent research has shown that their urine contains the same molecule that forms when corn is popped. Added to their little cat faces, flat-footed bear-like amble and general chattiness, their scent makes them nigh on irresistible.

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