Ice takin are large mamilian (ungulate) herd animals common to the mountains, tundra and dense forested areas of the northern continent. They have been known to be domesticated and bred by several of the larger humanoid species such as Giants and Goliath. Male Domestic ice takin are used as beasts of burden, transportation, wool and dairy production, and companions.
Ice takin are large, quadrupedal ungulates that averaged in height 2 to 2.5 meters. The females are about one-third the weight and are about 30% smaller in their linear dimensions when compared to bull wild yaks. Both males and females of the species have large, spiraling horns that extrude from their skull and grow at a nob per year. They are heavily built animals, with a bulky frame, sturdy legs, and rounded cloven hooves. They may weigh up to 4000kg. Their bodies are covered in a two tone coat. During summer, they have only a dense brown woolly undercoat over the chest, flanks and thighs. In the winter, they grow a long white shaggy hair that serves insulation against the cold and provides additional concealment in the snowy forests. In the late spring, they shed this shaggy overcoat. The ice takin's skin secretes an oily substance that covers the undercoat, and acts as a natural insulator and raincoat in storms and fog. The secretion also appears to neutralize many of the toxins found in the Northern Continent's fauna and flora.
Genetics and Reproduction
Mating takes place in July and August. Adult males compete for dominance by sparring head-to-head with opponents, and both sexes appear to use the scent of their own urine to indicate dominance. A single young or occasional twins are born after a gestation period of around eight months. Female ice takin lactate for approximately 500 days, and produce between 30-90kg of milk per day. A single nursing ice takin can sustain an entire human village if they are not caring for their young.
Ecology and Habitats
They are found in mountains, forests and tundra at elevations from 1km to 5k above sea level. They migrate from the northernmost tundra to lower, more forested areas in winter to coincide with the coming of total darkness. Despite its bulk, the Ice takin moves easily down steep mountain slopes and through thick forests. Ice takin are found in small family groups of up to 20 individuals, though older males may lead a more solitary existence. In the summer, herds of up to 200 individuals gather high on the mountain slopes. Groups often appear to occur in largest numbers when favorable feeding sites, salt licks, or volcanic hot springs are located. They overlap in range with multiple potential natural predators including bear, snow leopard, dire wolves and (more seldomly) sabre tooth tigers. Anecdotally, both bears and wolves have been reported to prey on ice takin when they can, which is likely given the opportunistic nature of those predators. However, the only confirmed natural predator of takin is the snow leopard, although mature adults may be exempted from regular predation (due to their size and speed) from that predator. The main predator of ice takin are aggressive humanoids, who hunt them usually for their waterproof golden pelts and sweat tasting meat. Goblinoids have long exploited ice takin's fondness for salt licks, where they can be cornered and (with the coordination of large groups, and great risk) killed.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Ice takin are herbivores, feeding off of grasses, as well as several species of forest foliage. They have been observed standing on their hind legs to feed on leaves over 4 m high. Ice takin also seek out salt licks, which provide minerals and supports the development of their skin oils that neutralize plant toxins. This resistance to toxins has led to a reputation that ice takin will eat anything. They are subject to a number of diseases including pneumonia, foot rot, and pregnancy toxicosis. They are not often subject to intestinal parasites or feed poisoning.
Several species of Giants and Goliath have domesticated the ice takin. As herd animals, they often follow their owners around and form close bonds with them. While not an issue for Giants (and Goliath), this can become a significant problem for smaller species such as goblinoids and humans. Domesticated ice taken can be used for milk and cheese, wool from their winter coats, transport, and companionship. Due to their affectionate nature, they are not often raised for meat.
They are naturally curious. Their curiousity combined with their natural agility means domesticated ice takin are notorious for escaping their pens by testing fences and enclosures. Whether this is intentional or simply because they are used to climbing depends on who you ask. Ice takin have shown significant levels of intelligence on par with canines. They can be trained as steeds, companions and for the patient, beasts of burden.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Ice takin have arrhythmic eyes with horizontally elongated pupils, giving them a wide field of vision. Their pupils can change in pitch with the movement of their heads, maintaining this orientation to the ground surface. Their eyes that contain features appropriate to both diurnal and nocturnal life. These eyes are capable of color vision, but appear to be unable to distinguis light blues from greys, dark purples from black, and oranges with red. It is suspected that their vision extends into the infrared range as they can detect and avoid forest predators that appear to be totally concealed.
2 to 2.5m
3.5-4.75m, excluding tail.