Pomeranth Species in Excilior | World Anvil

Pomeranth

Household critter

Say what you will about my mother. But if you besmirch the honor of my Mr. Squiggles, you'd best be prepared to throw down.
Onar Aptel, Thignian warlord, 1714 AoE
P
omeranths are the most common domesticated animal on Excilior. They are naturally found in the mountainous and highland regions of the Hammerhorn Mountains, the Hammerwash, and the Leung Peninsula, but they have long-since been exported to all corners of casterway civilization.

Basic Information

Anatomy

D
espite the wide variation in pet pomeranths, domesticated and wild specimens all share the following features: They are bipedal, with short, stumpy legs. Their feet end in four pads. Their hands have a prehensile thumb, augmented with three fingers. They have long tails. Their heads appear to be too large for their modest frames. Their heads always feature two prodigious horns. They have sallow "pug" faces with broad, hazy, eyes that appear to have no irises. Two small fangs protrude up-and-out of their wide mouths. And they are always noticeably furry.

Biological Traits

W
ild pomeranths are quite simple to identify. They are always blue-to-blue/green with long, ringed tails. They are covered in short, dense fur and they feature two prominent horns atop their head. Domesticated pomeranths have been consciously bred into a huge range of physical forms. There are nearly two hundred recognized pomeranth breeds, with new ones being added to the canon every fifty-or-so years. Most of the breeds are crafted for different aesthetic qualities. Custom breeds can feature long-or-short hair (with one breed being hairless), long-or-short horns (with particular value being placed on different horn shapes), and long-or-short tails. The most manipulated trait is the color of their fur. Their different colors and patterns are too numerous to document here - with particular value being placed on those breeds that feature different hues of phosphorescence. It's been noted that feral pomeranths - especially, those who have escaped back into wilderness environments - tend to revert to their natural phenotype within a couple of generations.  
Scratching
When they are not eating or indulging in some type of impish mischief, they spend a great deal of time grooming themselves and/or their colleagues. This can take the form of picking gnats or other parasites from their fur, but it often presents as simple scratching. They can scratch so frequently, and so stridently, that the uninitiated may come to believe that something is actually wrong with them. But this is standard behavior for their species.

Genetics and Reproduction

E
ven the most devout owners and admirers will admit that pomeranth reproduction can be... problematic. If left unchecked, their populations can explode at an alarming rate. A healthy pomeranth can yield two litters per year, and each litter can produce as many as a dozen offspring. A pregnant pomeranth will produce a series of glossy nodules attached to the back. After a few weeks, the nodules will become furry as they continue to grow. Once they reach a diameter of roughly four centimeters, they will drop off the mother's back, at which point their heads and limbs will become apparent and they will begin scurrying about their parents for sustenance. They will remain in the parents' close proximity for nearly two months (120 days), at which point they will be nearly full grown and semi-independent. They reach sexual maturity within three months (180 days).
When we finally returned from our unexpected journey, we were dismayed to find that our entire estate had become a seething carpet of pomeranth fur.
Nevin Stahpfung, Tollian servant, 3033 AoG
Population Explosions
Pomeranth owners rarely keep more than one in their household at a time. This is because pomeranths spend their lives cycling through two-year intervals where they are male, then female, then male again. Due to their lack of outwardly-identifiable sexual organs, they can be notoriously difficult to sex. Furthermore, their two-year male/female cycles are not synchronized within the population. In other words, there is no centralized trigger by which all of the males switch to females and all of the females switch to males. Therefore, an inattentive owner, who was previously content to own, say, two "male" pomeranths, may find, at any given time, that they are now in possession of one male and one female pomeranth. And if two pomeranths of opposite sex are left alone for even a brief period of time, it's almost certain that they will swiftly take to mating. At times, this has led to tragi-comic scenarios where a quiet pair of unmonitored pets has fueled a population explosion that wreaks havoc on the domestic environment.

Dietary Needs and Habits

T
hey are natural omnivores. In the wild, their diet is nearly 90% vegetarian, consisting largely of nuts, berries, some mosses, and even the young root bulbs of some grasses. This diet is augmented by occasional grubs, insects, and small lizards. Although they are not seen primarily as meat-eaters, they have been known to scavenge morsels from unguarded carcasses.  
Voracious Eaters
Domestic pomeranths are infamous for their willingness to eat nearly anything that they can get their furry mitts upon and shove into their mouths. This proclivity is so profound that they are apt to sicken (or even kill) themselves by ravenously consuming anything and everything in their vicinity - even when that "anything" consists of toxic or otherwise inedible materials. They are also well known for their amazing ability to consume volumes that would seem impossible, given their small size. When left to dive into an unguarded stash of food, it's not uncommon to find the stuffed critters lazing about the remaining meal, having eaten themselves into something of a "food coma". For this reason, it's fairly easy to identify the home of a pomeranth owner - because anything that is edible is almost certainly locked away or purposely placed in an inaccessible location.

Additional Information

Domestication

We're at wit's end. We tied'im up. We caged'im. We even locked'im outside the house. But every time we crawl into bed, little Ronjon's right there, curled up next to us. Purring.
Om Hardas, Asjarian cartwright, 1481 AoE
C
asterways have been domesticating pomeranths almost from the time that they were first discovered. For this reason, many people are well-accustomed to the sight of feral pomeranths skittering about the cities' nooks and crannies, but most have never encountered them in the wild. When they do find them outside of city environs, this can often lead to nasty bites when a clueless casterway tries to pet or feed a wild specimen. They have been kept as pets for so long that most casterways have no knowledge of the process needed to domesticate them. Nearly all modern, household pomeranths hail from hundreds of generations of critters that were tamed generations ago.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

T
here is little practical use for a pomeranth other than companionship (or, in the case of rarer breeds, status). While they can cause great mischief when left alone, they always prefer to be on-or-near their owners. Many owners take their pomeranths wherever they go. And for those who are confined to their arbyr, they will squeal with joy upon their master's return. Indeed, unless they are somehow locked away, it's extremely difficult to keep a pomeranth away from its owner.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

T
heir universal adoption as household pets means that, as a practical matter, they can be found nearly anywhere throughout Excilior (even in the Ontorlands, where the Nocterns are just as likely to own them). They naturally hail from the highland regions of western Isleprimoton. But over time, it was inevitable that some populations were released (or escaped) in regions where they would otherwise have had no reach. For this reason, many casterways have simply come to believe that pomeranths are native to nearly all of the planet's regions.  
Invasive Species
In those environments ill-suited to their survival, feral pomeranths live short lives. But other regions (e.g., the swampy muddwoods of southeastern Islegantuan) are now home to large populations of wild pomeranths that, were it not for human intervention, probably would never have seen the creatures. In more modern times, cognoscenti have come to classify the pomeranth as a potentially-invasive species, out-competing local fauna and directly threatening the existence of some native species.  
Urban Vermin
Although wild populations are well-documented in lands far from their original homeland, the favorite "habitat" of feral pomeranths is: any urban center. Those critters that are not kept-and-cared-for in stable households quickly take to the casterway streets and back alleys. Without human supervision, they are inveterate scavengers and they multiply quickly - so much so that many exasperated city-dwellers frequently complain of pomeranth infestations. For this reason, casterways often have a love/hate relationship with the animals. On one hand, they adore their own pomeranths. On the other hand, they loathe the hoards of feral pomeranths as vermin.

Average Intelligence

P
omeranth intelligence lies largely in the eye of the beholder. More accurately, it lies in the eye of the owner. For pomeranth owners typically insist that their pomeranths are damn-near geniuses, capable of all manner of feats that can only be ascribed to higher intelligence. They talk to their pomeranths. They even believe that they are holding conversations with their pomeranths. They build comfortable, lavish (and expensive) miniature homes for their pets. They swear that the beasts are capable of understanding a huge range of words, gestures, and human expressions. Those who do not indulge in pomeranth ownership often take a much dimmer view of their intellectual capabilities. Some go so far as to characterize them as being downright stupid creatures. Pomeranth owners have also been (derisively) accused of treating their pets with higher regard than that which is afforded to their own children. Some of the most contentious arguments about pomeranth intelligence arise between fellow owners, because most owners invariably come to feel that their pomeranth is far smarter than "all those others" pomeranths.
Old Laslie won't shut up about her supposedly-genius pomeranth. Every time she snaps her fingers he eats. And he shits. I haven't got the heart to tell her that all pomeranths do this. All the time. Whether you snap your fingers or not.
Niklus Fotomanenta, Namgongian trader, 3250 AoG
Training
Regardless of one's view of pomeranth intelligence, they are universally recognized as being capable of responding to basic commands. Some have shown a strong proclivity for tricks - but the ability to train a given pomeranth to perform these tricks is highly dependent upon the temperament of the individual creature. While some seem to take well to training, others can be downright recalcitrant. In the worst cases, some of the more surly specimens have been known to respond angrily toward any attempt to train them.  
Vocalization
Pomeranths are highly vocal, emitting a constant stream of chirps, whirrs, coos, whistles, and purrs. While there is no evidence to indicate that any of these sounds rise to the level of being "language", there is no doubt that these sounds are used, to great effect in the wild, to signal other members of their troupe to danger or to communicate basic emotions between their comrades. They are also known for having highly distinct personalities. This tends to endear them to their owners, but can also make it challenging to broadly characterize their behavior.  
Mischievous
Although it can scarcely be identified as intelligence, pomeranths are infamous for their mischievous nature. When kept in households, they love to relocate anything they can manage to move. If the items are not locked away, pomeranth owners frequently come home to find their pets wearing their jewelry or donning any item that they can drape over their bodies. They also take great joy in stockpiling all manner of trinkets in their own private nooks and crannies. Many pomeranth owners have lamented that it is nearly impossible to entertain guests, for when they begin preparations for the party, they find that all of their utensils and finery have mysteriously gone missing.
Pronunciation
POMM-ur-anth
Scientific Name
Briops fusciatus
Lifespan
12-15 years
Average Height
15-30 centimeters
Average Weight
0.5-1.0 kilograms
Average Length
20-40 centimeters

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