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Rare Unicorn

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HollowWorld

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Unicorn


"A delicate four legged creature, similar in height to a large horse, that is known for a single horn protruding from the front of its head."

Physiology
Body- The unicorn is somewhat similar in physical appearance to a horse, although its biological makeup is closer to a goat. The unicorn stands between 64 nd 72 inches from cloven hoof to withers, making it as tall as some of the largest horse breeds currently known. However, the unicorn is not built as a beast of burden, like horses are. Instead, they are built for bursts of speed (60mph for short distances) and sustained running (30mph), which means they lack the muscular strength to pull objects or carry riders for long. Its body is thin and small, leaving the height to be attributed to its incredibly long, delicate legs.

Hair, Tail, & Mane - The unicorn has a long tail, although it appears much longer due to the long, silky hairs the grow to impressive lengths at the end. The same type of silky hair grows as a mane from its neck, and around their cloven hooves. Males even have a short beard at their chin. Coloration ranges from white, silver, to silver and gold.

Horn- The unicorn has a single horn that protrudes from its forehead. They are are born with a dull knob on the top of their head that grows approximately 1/2in to 1in per year, but rarely exceed 14-16 inches.. The horn can be a light golden brown or a creamy white. The horn is straight and forms ridged rings around it as it grows. It is useful for fending off predators, such as gryphons that might try to fly in from above. It is also used for scraping bark from trees and spearing fruits from low hanging branches.

Eyes & Ears - A unicorn's eyes are quite large. The iris is a dark golden brown, although they appear almost black due to the large oval pupil. They have extremely keen eyesight on which to rely when dealing with predators. Their ears are long and upright on their head, though their hearing is not as honed as their vision.

Vocals- Unfortunately, the unicorn has very little ability for vocalization. The most it can do is huff, grunt, wheeze, and blow air. It does not have fully developed vocal chords, meaning that it is an almost entirely silent animal, outside of expressive breathing patterns.

Lifespan - The unicorn has a life expectancy of 15-25 years

Diet
Unicorns are solely herbivores. The unicorn gets most of its nutrients from grazing open plains and grassy knolls, though if predators push them into forested areas they nose through the leaves to eat what they can find. The creature is attracted to sweets, such as fruit and trees that produce thick sap. The unicorn is known to scrape the soft, thin bark off of the blue flowering trees of the south and chew on the chunks, though the taste is far from sweet. They also tend to eat the blue and purple flowers that fall on the ground around, meaning that they can be found near where the trees grow.

Behavior
Unicorns mate for life, and are almost always found with their partner. However, when in the company of its mate, the unicorn will run, gallop, and play. These creatures are highly social with one another, and if one is kept in captivity by itself, or its mate is killed, the unicorn will exhibit signs of grief. In some rare cases, the unicorn will lay down and stop eating altogether. If kept isolated for long periods of time, it's mental state will quickly deteriorate, much like rats that are denied socialization. If this happens, the creature becomes unpredictable, mad, and frantic.

When encountered in the wild, they are skittish and wary of other animals and people. They tend to keep their distance and are ready to run at smallest of startles. Getting near one is a difficult feat, as they are so jumpy that they'd rather keep to themselves than to approach a group of people. It has been noted that they are more prone to timidly approaching small children (and consequently, halflings) than any full grown humanoid. Because they are fiercely protective of their offspring, if they encounter the young of another animal that seems to be in distress, they will try to protect it so long as it doesn't pose a threat to them. This means that a unicorn that chooses to approach a child may have interpreted them as abandoned and will try to protect the child (or lucky halfling), even if means fending off the parents that are nearing.

In the presence of a threat, they will lower their horn to face the danger, drag their hoofs across the dirt, and swish their long tail from side to side. If dealing with aerial threats, such as gryphons, they will jerk their head upwards to try and fend off attack, or to injure its wing.

Credit:
NIAH for writeup a while back
Elz for art
 
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