Tinkits Species in Cathedris | World Anvil

Cathedris Themesong

Tinkits

Nature's ultimate criminal

One Tinkit? Adorable. Harmless. A few? Things start to go missing. More than that... well, so long as you're not on a boat made of metal, you should be fine.
— Experienced Sailor
    Tinkits are a small species of mammal found all across Cathedris; they're generally no bigger than a loaf of bread, have distinct facial and tail markings, and are known for their mischeivous habit of stealing anything shiny -- in particular, metal. This tiny animal is seen as an invasive pest across most regions of the world -- but in most places it's hard to remove them, as their cute features and the way they use their small dextrous hands to grab, steal, and manipulate pieces of metal make them popular animals for tourists and locals to both watch and feed.    

Built for Mischief

A Tinkits body is comprised of roughly 50% fur that coveres them from their head down to their exceptionally bushy tail. At their largest, they've been seen to grow up to 20" in length, but average adult Tinkets are closer to 14" long in general -- with about half of their length coming from their tail. Both males and females feature similar markings on their body -- a dark colouration on their back, banded stripes along their tail, and dark mask-like features around their eyes, adding to the mischeivous reputation that the animals command.    
Aside from how they look, the main defining feature of Tinkits, and what helps them become such skilled little thieves, are their incredibly dextrous paws. Each paw has three fingers and one thumb, ending with a short curved claw at the end; a Tinkit is able to manipulate a great number of objects with these paws, and fit them into all sorts of cramped or tiny spaces.
You think you're safe on a wooden ship? Think again. Those little bastards will steal the nails right out of the planks you're walkin' on.
Dutrius Iontide, Captain
     

Diet

Tinkits will eat just about anything that they get their tiny skilled hands on; they are omniverous, scavengers, and opportunistic hunters. In metropolitan areas, these animals often survive on a diet of scraps, garbage, or other small rodents -- but when living in the wilderness, they tend to choose a diet consisting of berries and small bugs.     A popular misconception is that Tinkits like to eat metal -- they are, after all, known for stealing almost any shiny metal bit that isn't bolted to the ground, and occassionally even stealing the bolt itself. However, their propensity for gathering bits of metal comes more from their societal, mating, and nest building habits, rather than having anything to do with diet or nutrition.
Tinkits 1.webp

Overview

Lifespan
5-10 years
Diet
Omniverous, Opportunistic Scavenger/Hunter
Habitat
Worldwide (Invasive), Russin (Native)

Behaviour

Tinkits are an incredibly social species of animals -- to the point of creating tiny little communities full of conflict, drama, and outright wars. They generally form up into groups of 10-20 mating pairs, with about half of the group at any time having a litter of 2-3 young, also known as Kits. These groups, called a Heap of Tinkits, are known to be extremely territorial against other Heaps -- going to "war" over perceived nesting territory, the best "thieving" grounds, and collections of hard, shiny objects.  
Watch this...   BOO!
— Bored dock worker

Tinkits 2.webp

For the most part, Tinkits are fairly skittish animals, reacting instantly to any perceived threat or danger to themselves or their Heap. The most popular method of keeping metal objects safe around a certain area is simply by keeping an eye out for any approaching Tinkit, waiting until it gets close, and then making a loud and sudden noise to spook the creature -- causing it to leap into the air, tail even more bushy, before scampering off from whichever direction it came from.   Of course, this is only a temporary solution for the most part, because once a Tinkit locates a treasure it desperately wants, it'll be back again and again until it's able to steal the shiny thing -- or until someone else steals it, or puts it away, first.  

Tiny Master Thieves

Once a Tinkit has wrapped its tiny grabby paws around a shiny bit of loot, it scampers back home to stash the treasure before any rivals manage to see what they've stolen. Tinkits are very protective of their loot piles, and work very hard to ensure no one but their closest fellow thieves ever find it. Once inside the stash, the treasure only ever comes out again if its new owner decides to give it as a gift during mating season, has to move the stash due to detection, or decides it'd make a handy tool in the acquisition of food -- or yet more treasure.   In cities, a Tinkit's loot pile will consist of keys, jewelry, scraps of metal, nails, screws, and other construction objects. They've even been known to unscrew and disassemble certain objects to get at a shiny piece that's caught their eye. In the wilderness, most of the loot consists of shiny rocks, or the odd metal piece that's been lost in the woods.
 
Oh. My. Gods. Look at their tiny little hands! These are so cute! I simply must have one as a pet. Eric, capture one, please! I must take it home!   And once you've caught one of the delightful little things, can you please locate my keys? I seem to have lost them somewhere...
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— Tourist exploring Russin for the first time
 

Life of a Criminal

On average, a Tinkit can live for somewhere between 5-10 years -- though that may be shorter or longer, depending on their diet, habitat, or amount of predators. They spend approximately 1 year this as a Kit, relying on their parents for food and protection; after which they leave the family nest and strike out on their own, leaving to find a new Heap to join and potentially find a mate within.  
Tinkit mating season happens during the warmest months of whatever climate they happen to call home; it can always be marked by finding suspiciously placed bits of shiny metal in odd places around their habitat. It becomes a bit of a risk/reward game for them -- the males will pick their favourite and most pristine bit of treasure, and attempt to place it somewhere on display to catch as many eyes as possible, in the hopes of attracting a mate. Of course, the male must keep a watchful eye on his displayed treasure, as other rivals will be out and about in the hopes of stealing their neighbour's best treasure to use as their own.   During this period is when the most fights happen between rival Tinkits, and the most thefts occur in the area. The animals become braver and more daring in their thefts, and are often seen attempting to loot shiny objects the moment they hit the ground; often leading to peoples keys that they just dropped being stolen right out from underneath them.  
But of course, madam. Your keys are -- h-hey! By the gods! Give those back, you scoundrel!   Someone stop that creature!
— Eric, the Assistant
 

Tinkits 3.webp

 

Habitat

The original native environment for Tinkits is the continent of Russin; a temperate, lush, almost tropical continent off the west coast of Artazia. Here the animals are able to thrive in thickly forested woods as well as the densely populated metropolis on the continent's north coast.   It's this second part of their natural habitat that caused them to become the worldwide infestation that they are today; as the city state of Russin is home to the world's largest and most active shipping port, wherein the Tinkits managed to hitch rides all across Cathedris, spreading to every major metropolis and beyond.  

A loveable nuisance

There's technically an extermination order out on them... but... I just... I can't do it. I'd rather lose my keys for the third time than hurt the things.
— Port City cleanup crew
  Tinkits occupy a strange place in public opinion; they are everyone's favourite nuisance. Everywhere around the world, the general opinion on them will be that of disdain, or even hate, as the pests steal and disassemble important things all across major cities. Yet, if you ask any individual person what they think of the pests, and all you'll get are comments on how cute, clever, and adorable they are.  

Myths and Superstitions

In some cultures, namely within their natural environment of Russin (but also the western countries of Theah Prieah and Raktana), numerous superstitions exist regarding Tinkits. These generally have to do, like all superstitions, with receiving good or bad luck. In the case of these tiny mischievous animals, should you find your path crossed by a Tinkit on your way to set sail in Russin, that means you've been cursed with extremely bad luck -- and you might as well just go home, and skip the voyage.   In Theah Prieah and Raktana, Tinkits are seen in a more favourable light; even to the point of bringing exactly one aboard your vessel before setting off, as the creature is supposed to ward off bad luck while out at sea. It's important to bring only one, however, and to keep an eye on it -- any more than that, and you're inviting disaster aboard your ship.

Too Cute and Too Smart

Due to their adorable looks and their mischievous, even playful nature, many people across Cathedris express a strong desire to keep a Tinkit as a pet -- in some cases, capturing one when it's young, and raising it in a domestic space. However, these are always very quickly released back into the wild, after the owner discovers that nothing is safe when you keep a master thief as a pet.    

A Burglar's best friend

Rather than keeping the critters as domestic pets, some like-minded people have been found training and keeping Tinkits as partners in crime; using them to steal valuables from locations that a human otherwise couldn't. The burglar and the Tinkit will share a stash of valuables, with the human burglar being careful to never take more than they put into the stash -- lest they anger their partner, and find themselves on the receiving end of a tiny relentless crime spree.  
No. No! You get the shiny rock, I get the fancy ring. Give that back! Hey!
— Partnership Troubles



Cover image: by Magalie De Preux

Comments

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Jul 9, 2023 04:00 by Polina "Line" Arteev

Obsessed with your little creatures!! I'd give them all of my mortal possessions if I could.


Seek a new dawn, in Malkora!
The Feral Sovereign sleeps peacefully, but will return...
Jul 9, 2023 04:38 by Stormbril

I'm so glad to hear that! <3   I would too, to be honest. One look at that face, those lil' hands, and I'd hand everything over.

Feb 15, 2024 00:35 by Polina "Line" Arteev

Tinkits, my beloved. Love the updated art!


Seek a new dawn, in Malkora!
The Feral Sovereign sleeps peacefully, but will return...
Feb 15, 2024 19:06 by Stormbril

yay thank you! :D I am so happy to finally finish these lil frens

Jul 9, 2023 19:24 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love them and the art. AND THE FACT IT IS CALLED A HEAP. <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 10, 2023 16:54 by Stormbril
Jul 10, 2023 20:05 by Catoblepon

Please, do not feed the Tinkits nor attempt to pet them. If you see a Tinkits, take an extra eye on whatever shiny objects you wear on yourself (such as, but not limited to, jewelry, coins and keys). If they get too close to you, get away or make a loud noise to scare them, so you are able to protect your objects.

Visit Daeliha, Iphars, Khulgran & Shattered
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Jul 11, 2023 20:09 by Stormbril
Jul 11, 2023 04:08

The best art is the startled Tinkit. Very good comprehensive article on the mischief and adorable nuisance they are.

Jul 11, 2023 20:07 by Stormbril

That one's my absolute favourite too <3 Thank you!

Jul 19, 2023 01:46 by Reanna R

They're sooo cute - even just reading an article about them, I find them endearing. Plus, the little sketches of them are the best :)   Also, petition to start a comedy show where the main character is a street-smart thief with a troublesome Tinkit as a partner, and the Tinkit keeps getting the two of them into trouble.

May your worldbuilding hammer always fall true! Also, check out the world of the Skydwellers for lots of aerial adventures.
Jul 19, 2023 19:21 by Stormbril

Thank you so much!   Also oh my god YES, that would be amazing!! I wish I had infinite time because even just making that into a little webcomic would be *so good*   Thank you for the comment, I'm gonna think about that idea and maybe do something with it later :D

Feb 22, 2024 01:09 by Ephraïm Boateng

Very cute indeed!

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