This silly looking beast is a Southeast Asian Bear-Cat. Otherwise known as a binturong.
Binturongs are distant relatives of civets. They walk low to the ground, have prehensile tails and are the size of a very large dog. They waddle like raccoons, except when they leap straight up in the air (all four paws off the ground) to jump on ducks. No, not kidding. I had the pleasure of meeting one at the San Diego Zoo – he was one of their “Animal Ambassadors.” He did, as binturongs are reputed to do, smell exactly like Fritos.
I often hope that Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) got to meet a binturong. With their funny tufty ears, their habit of hanging upside down from tree branches to sleep, and their spray of whiskers, they are as close to a Dr. Seuss animal come to life as anything on Earth.
Our friend, Linda, is having a terrific contest in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. The contest ends on the 16th of March. If you haven’t joined in yet, please do – even if you’re not “a real poet.” Dr. Seuss is for everyone.
I haven’t, myself, written a poem for the contest yet. My six year old has, but I haven’t been able to. Why? Partly because I’ve been overworked, but mostly because I’ve been a bit blue – a delayed effect of a lot of kind of yucky stuff from the past couple of months finally sitting down on my head.Until today, I have been waiting to “feel happier” before trying to write my Seussian poem. Which is why I ended up looking up pictures of binturongs. And it was when I found this little guy that I realized that…as a writer, you can’t always wait to be happy before you write. Because sometimes it’s the act of writing, the being at one with your creative nature, that is happiness. I’m happy when I’m writing – even when I’m grumpy about what I’m writing or even just bored. So instead of waiting to write until I am happy, or trying to jolly myself into happiness, I’m going to write myself happy. In fact, I’m going to do it now. This post is just by way of thank you to Linda H., and all the other writers I know (at PA friends, and HMPDYWT, and Posted Asides), for reminding me, however indirectly, that to be happy, writers…we write.
Thanks for posting this, Ina. Though we’ve received some very nice work so far, we’d still love more poems to read.
And yes…write, Ina, and be happy 🙂
ooh, forgot to say. That’s a very interesting animal. I’d never head of the binturongs. Definitely a “seussical” animal.
Aren’t they funny? I just love the huge tufts on the ears (hard to see in these pictures). They look like someone put them together out of spare parts 🙂
How nice Ina – I haven’t seen a binturong in a long time but there was one in the Calgary Zoo when we lived there…if I remember correctly, they’re nocturnal aren’t they? They’re so cute – not really like any other animal I can think of…
Yes, I understand they’re pretty zonky during the day. The Animal Ambassador we met though had kind of gotten used to day (like domestic cats) and liked the human attention as he walked around the zoo on a leash. They couldn’t let him near the ducks, though.
I’d like to see that. 🙂