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Whistler (Capybara)

Very few mammals survived the Quake and fewer yet have found a way to thrive. The Whistler is such a creature. These creatures were at first a source of meat for the warlord bands during the Chaos Phase. Sadly they were hunted to near extinction or it was thought. These furry rodents found a way to survive in a ingenious way. The whistlers created nests in the ruins of the surface world and scavenged what little plant life survived and as those food sources dried up, they searched desperately for another. This led to many becoming poisoned or diseased as they searched for alternatives. This also limited their use as a food source as many people started getting sick when eating them. Eventually they would disappear from sight completely. It wasn't until much later that their nests were found again and thriving in the wild. They appear to be have moved to eating algae growing on the walls and floors of the ruins. This algae is particularly toxic to most people, but the whistlers both to eat and to protect themselves. The algae also gave the fur a particular stench drove the bats away.

Basic Information

Anatomy & Morphology

The Whistler has a barrel shaped body with gray or black fur. They can grow to be 3-4 ft long and almost 2 ft tall. They typically weigh 100-150 lbs. They have slightly webbed feet allowing to swim in the many smaller ponds of the ruins.

Genetics and Reproduction

When a female is ready to mate, she will whistle through her knows. She gets to choose her mate from anyone in the group. During the mating month (usually Nexin) the whistling can be heard throughout most of the cave, which is how they are named. The mother can have 3-8 in a litter.

Growth Rate & Stages

The children will become full size around 100 cycles after birth. Those first 100 days are the most dangerous, since their fur has not fully developed the defensive smell to ward off the bats from above. The are usually hidden inside a nest, but occasionally one wanders out and won't ever return. Even in the nests they are too slow to run from the snakes that slither around and hunt the young. Their fur will start creating the protective smell after several meals from the fungus, usually around 200 cycles.

Ecology and Habitats

They have found a way to live in the ruins. Small pools of water allow them to hide from predators and the ruins create many places for their nests.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Whistlers are herbivores and will eat any number of the small plants fighting for survival, but their main source are the variety of fungus that grow in the ruins. The shear abundance of the fungus has allowed their numbers to swell.

Additional Information

Social Structure

They live in small groups of 10-20, with their territory usually just being one old building and the ponds surrounding it.

Domestication

It is rare to have a whistler for a pet. Primarily is the smell. The smell of their fur is rather putrid and intense. Some will keep one in their house to just to keep visitors away (people assume the owners have lost their own sense of smell). Others have found alternative food sources that will mitigate the smell a bit and combine it with frequent washes with perfumed soup seems to make it somewhat tolerable. Sadly the alternative food sources also mean a slightly shorter lifespan. Most usually live 10-15 years in captivity.

Facial characteristics

Sharp teeth that always grow. Noses can be long or short which does not seem to effect their ability to smell.

Average Intelligence

Average animal intelligence, but will work as a group to fend off predators. Good survival instincts.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Whistlers have several protective sources. First is the smell their fur generates when eating specific fungus. This smell appears to keep the bats at bay that hunt from the walls. Once the bat gets within a few feet of the whistler it quickly swoops back up looking for tastier prey.
They are also pretty fast and nimble in the ruins. They are smart and seem to learn their area very well, which includes using loose rock and walls to their advantage when running from predators.
Swimming is also a primary defense. They will swim into one of the many pools and kick up a ton of muck from the bottom to cover themselves and evade predators.

Lifespan
18 years
Average Height
3-4 ft
Average Weight
100-150 lbs
Average Length
1-2 ft
Average Physique
A barrel like body with four legs. Webbed feet for swimming.

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