Beast Fluich

blargtheawesome

... is very scientifical.
Staff member
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Fluich (Flew-uch-ks)


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(Art by Egregore Design)

“A bloomin' nightmare. Not something you could ride into battle mind you, what with the big nashing teeth. Where did those things even come from? I've been hearin' bout them since I was a wee lad, but surely they can't be that old?"


Physiology:
Fluich’s are devious in appearance, likened to that of a fierce black stallion. They are believed to be related to equines, but this can be disputed by their aquatic nature. Up close and personal, these creatures bear a striking resemblance to an average steed. Around 1.5-2 metres tall, as well as circa 2.5 metres in length, a long neck, muzzle, and pointed ears. They can weigh anywhere from 400-1100 kilograms in weight, although this vastly differs depending on the dryness and water retention of its fur. This however, is where the similarities stop.

Despite having hair, each fibre is seemingly coated in a jelly-like substance. This has been known to drip from the Fluich, and is generally a good tool for tracking them. One must be careful to avoid directly touching the fluid, as it is known to be a fairly strong adhesive. Along the back of each of their extremities, Fluich’s bear frills (likened to fish dorsal fins), that aid in maneuvering throughout the water. They do not have hooves like a regular horse, who have three digits combined into one to bear the full weight. Instead, they have three individual digits, similar to that of a giraffe or camel’s two-toed feet. These digits are webbed by a thick membrane, allowing them to propel themselves through the water. They also do not have the typical blunt teeth of regular equines, but rather have sharp, pointed teeth reminiscent of wolf canines. This is purely due to their carnivorous diet.

It appears that the Fluich also has a mane along its back, but this is not exactly the case. While it appears to be just hair, there is actually a thin mucous stretching between each fibre to increase their mobility through murky water. This liquid is not adhesive, like the rest of their hair, but rather just incredibly slimy. Large gills expand horizontally to the upper neck on either side. These gills are believed to be either vestigial, or for facultative respiration in fresh and saltwater bodies. Finally, their tails function pretty similarly to their mane, clumping together to act as a caudal fin while swimming. Eye colour can range from browns, to reds, to blues, to blacks.

Polymorphisms:
Darker colours usually lend themselves a distinct advantage within the water, with dark blacks, browns, greys, and sometimes navy’s. Fin colour is probably their most distinct feature, ranging from bright hues of yellow, red, orange, to purple and even pinks. It appears that fin colour is caused by genetic inheritance, as foals will share colours of a parent or even a mixture of the two. General differences in height and weight share a roughly even distribution throughout the population.

Sexual Dimorphisms:
Females are larger than males, though males tend to have more distinct and colourful fins, in brighter hues than the dulcet tone of females. These brighter colours are not believed to be due to female sexual selection, akin to many birds - but rather a method for hunting. During infancy of a foal, a mother will spend most of her time caring for the child, while the father hunts. As such, it is believed these fins are used for attraction of prey.

Climate & Habitat:
Fluich’s could be considered nocturnal amphibians, dwelling in large bodies of water while only emerging to hunt for prey. These are primarily freshwater locations, however there has been reports of individuals living either on coastal lines or in direct oceans. It is unknown if these are a separate species, or the individual is adaptable enough to stand the change in salinity. Following this, it is much more common to see Fluich’s in damp and humid environments, such as swamps, marshes or forests. This is likely due to the consistency of their mucousy skin, avoiding dry and arid regions. As such, their habitats exist in the low midlands of Altera, or the eastern marshes.

Fluich’s much prefer ponds and lakes which have a large amount of debris from the surrounding ecosystem. This usually includes leaves, sticks, algae, silt, and fallen trees. Fluich’s use these debris not only for low visibility in the water, but providing nesting material on the banks of rivers or edges of ponds.

Diet:
Fluich’s are obligate carnivores, as they cannot digest plants or fungal material - relying on animal prey to sustain themselves. They require almost 25% of their body weight in food every day because of their incredible metabolism, and are also the apex predator within their ecosystem. Their diets cannot be rigidified, as these are opportunistic scavengers and hunters - eating pretty much whatever they can catch. In the water, this is mostly larger fish, turtles, frogs, and occasionally terrestrial animals which live along the river banks. This includes beavers, deer, and even bear cubs.

Predation:
When food is low in their natural habitat, the Fluich will disembark to its nearby surroundings. It will feed on cattle, sheep, goats, and other smaller mammals. Their adhesive outer coat provides an excellent advantage out in the open air. Fluich’s are surprisingly intelligent, and will mimic horses or other grazing animals, waiting for birds to land on its back. Their mucous causes them to stick, essentially capturing them. Fluich’s will even attempt to entice people through whinnie’s, grunts, snorts, and flaunting of their colourful fins and hair. This is to entrap the individual, as when they pet or mount the aquatic steed, they will become stuck through the surface that came into contact with it. Seizing its opportunity, the Fluich will gallop back to its body of water, dragging the individual down into its home. Upon drowning, they will then feast on the recently deceased carcass.

Mating & Behaviour:
Fluich’s are solitary, and incredibly territorial, and it is rare to see more than one in the same area outside of breeding season. They are also shown to be incredibly hostile, especially when cornered or threatened. Fluich’s use their loud whinnies and grunts to warn other individuals about encroaching on their territory. When a female is in heat, she will release pheromones within her mucous to attract potential mates. Despite their appearance, females do not give birth to live young - instead laying eggs, similar in size to that of an ostrich. These are protected in nesting areas on the embankments of rivers and lakes, and both parents will remain until the newborn hatches, with the mother typically nursing and caring for the child. The parents are known to become much more docile towards each other at this stage. As such, the father often remains to hunt on behalf of the mother and child for about a week or two after hatching. This is to supplement the foal’s food while the mother recuperates. However, it is not unusual for the mother to cannibalise the father, as he presents more competition for food, as well as providing nourishment for the foal.

The eggs of a Fluich is perhaps its most infamous feature. It is smooth, but covered in the many hues matching that of its parents. These can vary greatly from egg to egg, similar to cuckoo bird eggs. The shell is also quite rigid, and not easily breakable. As such, hunters will sell their eggs to act as trophies, decorations, and sometimes dining ware.

Lifespan & Ageing:
Fluich’s tend to live 30-40 years. They do not die of natural old age, but continue to grow in size. Due to their speedy metabolism, these animals can grow quite big rather quickly. This gets to the point where the animal can no longer find enough food to sustain itself, essentially starving to death. It can lead to them being too large for their habitat, and thus search for a new home. On this search, it can wander into territories of other Fluich’s, sometimes perishing to other individuals.

Eggs will hatch within 2-3 months, with newborn foals being quite vulnerable. As such, wandering into a new mother’s territory can lead to disastrous consequences. These foals will become independent and full grown at the age of about 2, with puberty taking place at around a year and a half old. At this stage, the mother will view the child as a burden, and will no longer care for it - forcing it to leave to find a new territory. If the child for whatever reason does not leave, it is not uncommon for the mother to commit infanticide.

After leaving, the young foal is vulnerable to the natural elements, as well as predation via bears, hunters and gryphons. Yet, these animals are resilient and stubborn, and are not afraid to put up a fight - using their powerful kicking ability and sharp teeth. Pairs of foals can get into territory disputes, with many invaders killing existing Fluich’s for their home.

Yield:
-Their mucous can be cooked into a chewy but nutritious stew.
-Eggs can be sold due to their beauty.
-Meat is often fatty, and will feed a person for at minimum a week or two.
 
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