The binturong is nocturnal and sleeps on branches. It eats primarily fruit, but also has been known to eat eggs, shoots, leaves, and small animals, such as rodents or birds. Deforestation has greatly reduced its numbers. It can make chuckling sounds when it seems to be happy and utter a high-pitched wail if annoyed; when cornered, it can be vicious. The binturong can live over 20 years in captivity.
Being burly and omnivorous, the binturong is sometimes compared to a bear, but is closer in size to a large domestic cat. Its average length is usually between 24–38 in., and average weight ranges between 20–31 lb.
The binturong climbs trees and leaps from branch to branch, using its tail and claws to cling while searching for food. It can rotate its hind legs backwards so that its claws still have a grip when climbing down a tree head first.