Existing as parts of every day Drakari life since before recorded history, the origins of the Rakiki are unknown. Skitter mules, as they are known by terrans, multi-legged, flat, long creatures commonly used by Drakari as pack mules for carrying and hauling loads. Over the past century, however, this practice has been slowly replaced by more mechanical means, resulting in fewer and fewer rakiki bred and used for work. This, coupled with the species absolute dependence on their master's care to survive and a recent drop in successful birth rates, has resulted in quickly dwindling numbers of living skitter mules.
The Drakari' beloved ancestral pets are now only seen among the very high class, and in certain 'rakiki reserves' started by Terrans in a conservation attempt.
Rakiki are characterized by their wide, almost flat bodies, colorful carapace, and many legs. While the top of the creature is protected in a hard carapace, its underside is instead covered in soft fur. Along either side of their bodies are a series of legs, five along each side, for a total of ten limbs. These legs are double-jointed and articulate together in a manner comparable to Earth centipedes.
Located at the front of their bodies is a neck and head that protrudes forward instead of upward. Their head is also covered in carapace along the neck and top but exposed and fur covered everywhere else. Their faces are characterized by a set of four eyes - Two front facing, and two situated more along the sides of the head that offers skitter mules a wider field of vision. Below their eyes is an elongated muzzle, similar to most creatures found on the Drakari homeworld. This muzzle has a series of slits for sensory organs and splits open into a mouth filled with a combination of sharp teeth, and crushing molars.
While quite unsettling in appearance to most terrans, skitter mules are usually viewed as cute, magnificent creatures by the Drakari. A level of endearment rivaling the way the human race is known to love cats and dogs.
Growth Rate & Stages
Like most creatures of the Drakari homeworld, rakiki have live births. A newborn skitter mule has no carapace and little to no fur and was once described as a 'wriggling gray mass of legs and flesh' by Terran biologists. Drakari tend to refer to them as 'adorable little raito'.
"WHAT IS THAT?!"
'Oh, by the God-king, it's adorable!'
".. Adorable?! That thing?! It's a.. A wriggling gray mass of legs and flesh!"
'It's a little raito! A baby rakiki! Here. Hold it.'
"What - No-.. Okay. I'll admit, it's kind of warm and soft but.. The legs. That just isn't right."
'Aren't you a scientist? You see things like this all the time right?'
The infancy stage lasts for two years, as the rakiki grows its carapace and increases in size. Byt the end of this two year period, however, the creature will have reached its full adult size, and be considered ready to work for masters that don't raise a rakiki solely as a pet. However, even as fully grown adults, rakiki are not capable of dending for themselves and are entirely dependent on their Drakari owners to keep them groomed, cleaned, fed, and generally healthy.
At around two hundred years of age, a working-class rakiki begins to show signs of age - Wear and tear on the joints tend to reduce the load it can carry, and the speed and agility by which it can move. Skitter mules are usually retired at this age by their owners, and spend the remainder of their lives as family pets.