The Ryanth is a herbivore, about the size of a terran musk ox, or cattle. Primarily, it is four legged, with strong hind legs and much shorter, spindlier front legs. It doesn't have feet as such, but more like pads of tough skin at the end of each leg, ideal for running across rough terrain. They have long, flat, almost human like faces, with expressive blue eyes and unlike most herbivores, it has forward facing eyes for depth perception, although it's flat head allows for easy viewing all around it. On the very top of it's head are two ears, much like the Terran rabbit ears, although somewhat smaller in proportion to the animal's body.
The skin is a pale grey in colour, and on the face, ears and feet, totally hairless in all ryanths. There are two main types of ryanth, hairy and hairless. The hairless one is covered all over in the same grey skin as it's face and feet. On it's body is a few, sparse hairs, but not enough to form any insulation. The hairy ryanth is much different, having hair all over it's body except it's face, ears and feet. It's tail is thus much like a horse's tail. The hair is typically varying shades of brown. Halfway between these two types is the maned ryanth, possibly a crossbreed of the former two. Like the hairless version, it is hairless, apart from a mane of golden hair around it's neck and shoulders, and a hairy, horse-like tail.
Other than the hair differences, all three types of ryanth are the same, and capable of breeding with each other and producing viable offspring.
Ryanths breed once a year, giving birth to one or two young in the spring. Like so many herd animals, the young ryanths are capable of walking, and then running within half an hour of birth, to provide some sort of defense against local predators.
When a ryanth runs, it stands on it's hind legs, tucking it's forelegs close to it's body and then starts running. This is where it's huge back legs, powerful muscles and strong feet come into play, allowing it to pound over any surface without losing grip or falling.
Despite it's sometimes very human appearance, particularly when getting ready to run, the ryanths are not intelligent, any more than a cow or sheep is. They must be kept in herds of at least 20, or they become skittish and refuse to eat. When panicked, the whole herd will stampede, and anyone caught in the path of what can be up to 200 ryanths on the run are very likely to get hurt.
A beast or bovine is a large herbivore, used as a dairy and protein source. They look almost exactly like terran cattle, dairy cows or meat cows, and of course bulls, except that they can have 'normal' colors as well as solid technicolors like blue or yellow or red. They produce either a thick, creamy white fluid from their udders, or a thin, wholesome fluid. Both are white in color.
Beasts are quite popular to the people of Danach, as they are the main meat and dairy source. They can be kept for meat, milk/cream, or simply pets.
Domestic hawks are normally bred by the local aviary/falconer, or by the aviary/falconer who hatched the female hawk. Two different breeding methods are employed. First, a pre-set pair can be mated. If the female already has a mate, or her owner has picked one out, then those two will be mated and the resulting eggs will adopted out by the breeder, giving the owners of the male & female first choice of one egg each. The second method is almost like a dragons mating flight. If the female has no mate, and her owner has no males in mind, she can be brought to the aviary/falconer and signed up for a Flight. A Flight consists of a total of 4 birds maximum. The female and three males. Any male may enter unless he has a mate nesting. The hawks are let loose, with their masters near of course, and are left to decide who will get the female. Whether they try to chase and catch her or impress her is up to them. There is no human intervention in a Flight. It is left entirely up to the hawks. The resulting eggs are adopted out by the breeder, and as in the pre-set clutches, the owners of the parent hawks get first choice at one egg each.
Occasionally nests of wild hawk eggs are found. If no female is present or the eggs appear to be in a dangerous area/situation, they are taken back to the aviary/falconers home and kept there with the assistance of a surrogate mother. Once they are ready to hatch, the will be put up for adoption.
The number of eggs in a clutch can vary between 5 and 10 eggs. Domestic hawks usually produce more eggs that survive than the wild onesfor obvious reasons. No one female produces more eggs than another, and any color chick can be found in any color females eggs, even white, though it is quite
Females are ready to mate when the patch of feathers on their neck turn a darker shade of orange. When this change occurs, the hawks owner may choose to mate her, or do nothing. Males will mate whenever they find a willing female.
Hawks can be used as scarecrows are used on Earth. If trained properly, they can be left unattended in the fields and counted on to keep the area pest free. For those people who are not compatible with or interesting in owning a Dragonfly/Dragonchen, hawks are the alternative companion and message carrier. They are quite obedient and when delivering messages, are just as fast as the Dragonflies, although only when flying directly. When hunting, hawks are excellent hunters and retrievers of small game.
Hawks come in ten different colours, totally unrelated to the colours of the dragons and their relatives. The females are found in copper, grey, tan, faun and white, and the male colours are gold, black, chocolate, rust and white. White is a very rare colour, and only rarely seen in clutches.
The hunterfish is mostly a resident of the deeper waters of the ocean. A solitary predator, it looks much like the extinct Terran Ichthyosaur or a Terran shark. It has six limbs though, all of which have become adapted for balance and direction while swimming. Two dorsal fins are prominent on the creature's back, and these, along with the tip of the tail are often seen protruding above the water.
Like a dragon or dragonchen, the hunterfish's skin is in fact a smooth hairless hide that comes in shades of blue-grey, from being dark enough to be almost black for those hunterfish found out in the deepest waters, to a very pale blue-grey for those found in shallower water. For camouflage, the hunterfish's underside is always significantly lighter than it's back.
Each jaw sports a row of backward pointed conical teeth, of which those in the top jaw are more numerous yet smaller. The bottom jaw has far larger and powerful teeth, but there are fewer of them, sometimes as few as only 6 or 7, and sometimes as many as 20, depending on the age of the individual. The top jaw has between 10 and 30 teeth. An older hunterfish will have fewer teeth than a younger one, as over time teeth are lost. The teeth grow larger each year, and when sliced, have growth rings inside, like those of a tree. One ring appears to equal roughly a year. The lifespan of a hunterfish is unknown, yet believed to be about 100 years barring accidents.
The hunterfish's eyes are a pale blue, and multifaceted like a dragon's, allowing for excellent vision underwater, it's primary method of hunting. It does not have binocular vision however, since it's front vision is poor due to the position of it's eyes. Therefore, when stalking it's prey, it will swim around it, gazing at it with one eye, usually the right.
The hunterfish can be sized anywhere between 2 metres at birth, to a full 25 metres as an adult, approximately the same length as a green dragon. The very oldest individuals, mere fisherman's tales, can length up to 40 or more metres, the size of a starry dragon, but these legends are often disregarded.
The smaller individuals, those between 2 and 7 metres, tend to eat mostly fish, as well as weedballs and the occasional weak seabird. The adults will eat anything they can catch, including younger hunterfish, and the occasional dragonchen. There are legends of the largest hunterfish swallowing small boats, but it is known that an adult will eat a human in the water if it finds one. The almost mythical hunterfish of 40 metres or more would be capable of eating a six month old green dragon.
The female hunterfish is adult and able to breed at the age of 10 years, when she has reached the size of 15 metres. The males are adult much younger, at 5 years and 7 metres, but it is rare such a young and small one will get to mate until he is much older and larger.
The hunterfish is the only Danach reptile to give birth to live young. Much like dragons, the female will have certain times when she is receptive to the males, and at these times she will swim as fast as she can, while the hopeful males chase her. Once caught, she is mated, and then the male leaves, since hunterfish are naturally solitary.
The young hunterfish inside her start off as eggs, but after about a month, when normally the eggs would have been lain, instead the shells degrade, leaving the embryonic hunterfish on their own, with only a yoke sac to sustain them until two weeks later they are born, at the length of 2 metres. From then on, they are on their own.
Many survive their first year, which is why the female often only gives birth to one or two young, although triplets can happen on occasions. Nothing eats hunterfish, so they are the top predator of the ocean.
The Kiliwaaja fly, discovered originally by one of the original dragonriders, is a parasite. At around 6 inches long in it's adult form, both males and females suck the blood of mammals, usually ryanths, but with the recent human colonisation of Danach, the flies have taken a liking to human blood.
The Kiliwaaja fly has six limbs, six wings in fact. It lives in a state of almost permanent flight, using the four claspers on it's tail and the two finger like protrusions on it's middle set of wings to grip onto it's prey. Roughly half of it's length is taken up with it's tail, and it's wingspan is roughly eight inches, giving it powerful flight capabilities.
The females, with their need to remain unnoticed are found in subtle shades of brown, and are often very difficult to see. The males however, come in a variety of colours ranging from vivid red to a deep green, largely depending on it's location and age. It's colours grow brighter as it ages, so the oldest, strongest males are the most brilliantly coloured and so attract the most mates.
The life cycle of the Kiliwaaja fly is complex, beginning with the female being fertilised by up to five or six different males, each mating producing one egg. The female's next task is to find a suitable host, a ryanth, paard or even human. She lands on the host, embedding her tail into it's skin so she is not casually knocked off by the host, and laying her eggs there. Often she will hold the host with her middle set of wings also. Her tail claspers are so well embedded that it is incredibly difficult to remove them, usually resulting in the female losing them in the process of laying her eggs. A new set will grow next time she sheds her skin.
The eggs, once inside the host, begin to incubate, the higher temperature required for the process to start fully. Most of the egg is in fact a yolk, which absorbs nutrients from the host's blood. The young fly inside the yolk gradually grows and matures, until three weeks later it is a miniature version of the adult, being roughly two inches long.
At this point, it has consumed the yolk faster than it was able to absorb nutrients from the host's blood, and so the young fly feels the need to escape the host, by burrowing it's way up out of the host's body. Undoubtedly, this process is painful for the host, having a two inch insect bursting out of it's skin. The young insects, once free of their host fall to the floor and require a few minutes for their wings to break free of their protective membrane before they are able to fly away. At this age, each one is a uniformly brown colour, the genders indistinguishable from each other. It is later on, when they grow enough to shed their skin for the first time that their true colouring shows. With each progressive skin shed, the colouring of the male grows more intense.
Of the five or six eggs laid, no more than four will survive, usually less in the host for the simple reason that the host would be unable to support them, and it is necessary for the Kiliwaaja fly's survival that the hosts live to be used again in the next breeding season.
There are certain chemicals excreted by the young flies when they are embedded in the host that alters the sweat of the host ever so slightly so that other Kiliwaaja flies know there are already young there. A host with too many eggs laid in it will not survive very long because all the nutrients will be absorbed by the flies, leaving none for the host itself.
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