The Binturong

Updated July 24, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The Question:

Someone at work told me there is an animal that smells, or has an odor, like popcorn. But they couldn't remember what animal it was. If this is true, would you know the name of the animal?

The Answer:

The animal you are thinking of is called a binturong or "Asian bear cat" as it is sometimes called. Found in the densest rain forests of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and Malaysia, the binturong is nocturnal, grows to be about six feet long, and is covered in long black fur.

This same black fur is known to cast a smell that is similar to popcorn. The scent is believed to originate from a gland near the animal's tail, and is probably there to help binturongs distinguish between themselves.

Here is a link to more information about the binturong from the San Diego Zoo. And here is a picture of a binturong named "Ben." Doesn't it look like he's smiling for the camera?

-The Editors

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