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Popcorn-Scented Baby Bearcat Woos Visitors to Staten Island Zoo

By Nicholas Rizzi | August 28, 2013 2:19pm
 The popcorn smelling, several week old binturong is on display at the Staten Island Zoo's nursery.
Baby Binturong at Staten Island Zoo
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WEST BRIGHTON — An adorable baby binturong is melting hearts at Staten Island Zoo — and making stomachs growl with his unique scent.

The 7-week-old cutie, named Oliver Wolf, has become the zoo's newest inhabitant after being born on July 15 at a private zoo in Las Vegas.  Now weighing 3½-pounds, the binturong, also known as a bearcat, has a perfume gland that releases a popcorn-smelling scent.

Binturongs, which are native to South and Southeast Asia, are known for their tail that is as long as their body — and smell like a movie theater.

The animals, which are omnivorous but mostly eat fruit, are primarily nocturnal creatures who sleep high in the tree canopy and love to bask in the sun, zoo officials said.

Oliver Wolf will be hand-raised at the zoo's nursery so the public can watch him grow. Familiarity with zoo staff will also allow for human interaction as he matures.

When fully grown, the animal will weigh 50 pounds and will live in the zoo's rainforest wing. The binturong will be the only animal of its kind on display at a public zoo within 100 miles, according to the zoo.