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Bastoloe

A great scaled reptile common along most temperate and tropical coastlines, the bastoloe is a common beast of burden among merchant and farming folk. While often temperamental in nature, they are sturdy and capable of carrying a heavy load, making them greatly preferred over horses or oxen. Their inclination to aquatic and marshy places also places them in higher regard over their ungulate competition, as the coastline is often flooded or worse; unless you own a boat or a bastoloe, there is no fording a swollen river delta.

Basic Information

Biological Traits

The bastoloe is a cousin of the less-common and much smaller caiman that populates some of the world's warm rivers. It is greatly scaled, notably along its spine, and it bears a long, toothy snout with very capable biting power. Although wild bastoloe are typically gray or muddy green in color, domestication has given the species a wide array of colors, varying from muted white-grays and piebald morphs to specklings of reds and iridescent blacks and blue-greens.

Genetics and Reproduction

Bastoloe lay round, small eggs in large clutches, and the mother tends to them fiercely while the father acts as servant and guard, fetching food for the mother while she broods and chasing off any interlopers. When the eggs hatch and any infertile or rotten eggs are weeded out, both parents take great care in raising their young. While bastoloe can have clutches numbering up to 30 or 40 eggs, it is rare—even in domestic standards—for more than 10 young to reach the juvenile stage.

Growth Rate & Stages

From hatching to becoming juvies, the bastoloe hatchlings are closely guarded and cared for by their parents. When they become juveniles, usually after three or four months, they are turned loose into the world. It takes another six to eight months for them to reach their full adult size.

Ecology and Habitats

Bastoloe prefer warm, humid temperatures, typically around bodies of water, although some can be found in colder or drier climates. In their wild environments, bastoloe are typically the apex predator of the region. Their impressive speed and snapping jaws lend them strength in driving off any unsavory interlopers and catching as much prey as they need to survive.   They are rarely territorial; bachelors are the only ones to ever stake a territory, which they guard fiercely in hopes of attracting a mate. In domestic circumstances, male bastoloe are typically introduced to a female early on in hopes of stopping territorial behavior before it begins. Because of such, domestic bastoloe are rarely kept or owned alone unless they are a lone female.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Bastoloe are strictly carnivorous, one of the downsides of their domestic nature, as it requires their owner keep a steady supply of meat on hand. In some circles, largely the richer folk, bastoloe are given a large pasture where they may hunt down their own prey as a source of enrichment or fun. Poorer families tend to feed their bastoloes chicken, fish, or game scraps.   Wild bastoloe are stalking hunters, laying in wait for prey to cross its path before it lunges. Usually, they are able to catch the prey before it can bolt, but given a more wary or wily animal, they will give chase and usually catch whatever they are after. Once caught, they eat their fill and leave the carcass behind for scavengers.

Biological Cycle

In colder climates, bastoloe hibernate in the winter months, usually buried in mud or beneath old plant debris. Domestic bastoloe in cold climates are allowed to hibernate, and their duties are swapped with horses or oxen until spring arrives.

Additional Information

Social Structure

In the wild, bastoloe are typically loners, although they do congregate in the afternoon hours to sunbath together on riverbanks. They typically mate for life and can even become depressed if their mate succumbs before they do.   Domestic bastoloe are a little more friendly than their wild counterparts, and they enjoy roosting in packs of five or six, often forming familial bonds if they are raised together from hatchlings.

Domestication

Bastoloe did not begin to become domesticated until around midcentury of the 1360's (prima lux), as Queen Sheol took a fond liking to the once-terrifying beasts. Taming their rather bloodthirsty behavior took decades—possibly even centuries, depending on which historian you ask—but eventually they became regular beasts of burden.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Smaller variations of bastoloe are farmed for eggs and meat, with their skin—if it is good enough after skinning—sold as a byproduct to be used for leather. Neither the average nor large variants are typically farmed, and upon their death—as a bastoloe can live nearly as long as a human and people tend to get very attached to things—are usually given a respectable funeral.   Both the average-sized and large variants are typically used as beasts of burden for merchants and farmers; rarely are they used as steeds, despite their ability to reach impressive speeds. Their scales quickly wears through any sort of saddle and is uncomfortable to sit on, and generally-unusual gait is rather stomach-turning to the unskilled rider.

Facial characteristics

A bastoloe's snout is long and heavily-scaled. Their teeth are often snagly and jut out from beneath their scaled lips. Their eyes and nose are placed on the upper reaches of their head, optimal for peering out of the water with little showing, and their head is perched upon a stout, thick neck.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

In the wild, they can be found in any tropical or subtropical region with relatively easy access to water. They dwell in brackish or freshwater rivers, although some have been known to venture out into salt water in times of inland drought or cold weather.   With their domestication, bastoloe can be found anywhere their cold-blooded nature allows, with some even being kept as far south as southern Motanu and northern Euenia.

Average Intelligence

Bastoloe are intelligent enough to recognize their owners and their own names, as well as learn a few tricks and whistles which serve as invaluable tools to farmers or anyone needing to call up their bastoloe in a time of need.
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Lifespan
60 years
Average Height
Bastaloe average on 2 meters at the withers, although there are smaller and larger variations, with the smallest reaching no more than 1.4 meters and the largest reaching no higher than 2.35 meters.
Average Weight
Average sized adult bastoloe get between 270 and 360 kilos unless they are overfed or malnourished. The larger variations can get as heavy as nearly 545 kilos.
Average Length
Bastiloe average in length anywhere between 4 to 4.5 meters, from nose to tail tip.
Average Physique
When properly kept, bastoloe are lean-muscled creatures with a rather barrel-shaped body and wide chest. Unlike their caiman cousins, their shoulders are structured less like a lizard's and more like a horse's or dog's. They have long, thin yet firm legs and a thick, meaty tail.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Wild bastoloe are typically gray-green or muddy brown-greens, but domestic bastoloe bear scales varying from piebald morphs to near-whites and iridescent sheens. Most wild bastoloe carry a mottled pattern on their backs and limbs while domestic bastoloe have a more striped pattern.

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