Saturday, June 02, 2007


Today seems like a good day for a baby animal picture.

Indah, seen here, is... an eight-week-old binturong on display at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. The fledgling—the first binturong bred in captivity at Taronga since the species went on display there in the 1950s—was introduced to her new enclosure on Wednesday, May 30.

Though they are often called bearcats because of their appearance, binturongs are actually tree-dwelling, nocturnal mammals more closely related to civets. Native to Southeast Asia, Malaysia, and Indonesia, binturongs are becoming increasingly rare as their forest habitat is cleared for timber and cropland.

Here's a few more facts gleaned from Wikipedia: Like pandas, binturongs are members of the order carnivora who have adapted to a mostly vegetarian diet in the forest, in their case fruit. They are a little bigger than a housecat and have a fully prehensile tail. The scent of binturong musk has been compared to warm popcorn or cornbread. That sounds like they would be ideal candidates for exotic pets, but closeup pictures show that they have some very serious canine teeth and, as tree dwellers, they would probably destroy your curtains and bookshelves heading for high ground. It's probably best to appreciate them from afar.

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