Also known as the binturong, the bearcat is agile like a cat in the canopy and less adept on ground, walking flat-footed like a bear. However, it is neither a bear nor a cat, but belongs to the civet and mongoose family. Spending most of its time in the trees, it slowly and skillfully walks along branches at night while foraging for fruit and small animals.
Did You Know?
Why Have Whiskers?: Like many nocturnal mammals, the bearcat has whiskers (or vibrissae) to feel its way around or find food in the dark.
Curling its prehensile tail around a tree limb, the bearcat pulls fruiting branches to its mouth with its forepaws. As it climbs down a tree headfirst, the bearcat turns its ankles so it can still grip the trunk with its claws.
- The bearcat has a very distinctive odor; it smells like hot popcorn!
- Although it is classified as a carnivore, the bearcat primarily eats fruit.
- A bearcat eats a fig, travels a ways, then passes the seeds out the other end, helping fig trees grow in new places.