Billy the Binturong - a real life Gruffalo!

SAY hello to a real life Gruffalo - Billy the Binturong!

Billy, a young male who lives at Linton Zoo, is a strange looking creature who hails from the forests of south-east Asia.

He has been compared to The Gruffalo by staff at the zoo because he has the characteristics of a variety of different animals, ranging from his bear like stance walking on his hind legs to his cat-like tendancies.

The Binturong is also a strong muscular animal about the size of a Labrador dog, with short legs and paws that have non retractable claws - perfect for climbing high into the tree tops.

Billy’s species is mainly nocturnal and is rarely seen in the wild. They are carnivores but have turned towards mainly eating fruit, with banana being its most favourite food of all.

Binturong are rarely seen in captivity but have had a long association with Linton as they have been kept at the zoo since the early 70’s.

They are threatened in the wild due to the rapid destruction of their rainforest home and are often trapped and killed by fruit farmers because they raid the plantations for an easy meal.

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Billy was born at Artis zoo in Amsterdam and will soon be joined by a female to make up a new breeding pair.

The Gruffalo is a children’s book about a mouse who invents a scary creature in an attempt to warn off the advances of dangerous predators.

However, the mouse soon gets the fright of its life when it encounters a real Gruffalo - monster-like hybrid between a grizzly bear and a buffalo.