Tigris ([Ty] + [GriS])
At first, he saw nothing. Then he spied the green glint of eyes reflecting the firelight as the cat came closer. It was hard to tell with the creature blending into the darkness, but it looked as long as a horse, although nowhere near as tall and solid. Almost the size of a boarhound in height. It stopped just before the shield and raised its head to sniff, then slunk along the curve of the barrier in a fluid gait, aiming for the horses.The tigris, named such by the Domian, is one of the bigger natural predators on the continent. It has been hunted for its fur, chased off for hunting livestock, feared by villagers and also revered as one of the most powerful known creatures in the land.- Prince Hamish, To Poison a Prince
Dietary Needs and Habits
Due to their size and strength, most of the continent's inhabitants can be considered as prey, including humans, elves and dwarves. Their hunting method depends largely on the type of prey, as taking down a long-horned water cow is vastly different to a camel or something small like a monkey or snake. Ever an opportunistic hunter, they've been known to go after the spotted cats of Obuzan's jungle and snatch domestic livestock, such as donkeys, directly from their stalls. Other prey includes: the shortback deer, peafowl, hares, crocodiles, fish, wild pigs, feral dogs and goats.
Very little fazes a tigris. Those who spot them, often recall their confident manner and the casual way they saunter through the land. Young tigris' are particularly curious animals and are typically what is found closer to settlements. All this is not to say they are entirely fearless of humans. Tigris' are weary around spellsters, likely due to the past hunting several millennia ago and Udyneans proving themselves as a difficult meal.
Tigris, at least adult males, are solitary animals. They've clear territories and spend much of their time roaming the region to defend it from challengers, only leaving the area when it is time to mate. Females are less solitary, with their own kittens often the ones keeping their company. They raise their young for 2-3 years before the full-grown kittens venture off on their own. Even then, it's not uncommon for young from years' back will wander into their mother's territory from time-to-time. They rarely stay for more than a day, typically arriving in the early morning and leaving in the evening, and spend much of the time together lazing around, be it in the cool of their mother's den or floating in whatever nearby body of water is to be had.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
They can be found roaming the temperate areas of upper Niholia, south-western Udynea and south-eastern Obuzan and throughout the latter's jungle region. They seem to prefer temperate forested regions as opposed to open plains, but not as dense as the parts of the jungle favoured by the spotted cats. That being said, they can be found anywhere from the desert edge to the mountains.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
They share many similarities with a common household mouser in having excellent night vision and superb hearing, albeit on a massive scale. Where a mouser's fangs are a mere 1-2cm (0.5-0.75 in), those of a tigris are a more respectable 10cm (4in). Whilst they don't have the most powerful bite of all the big predators, it's still designed to crush a prey's throat and once they bite down, they will not let go until their prey is dead. The force is enough to easily snap leg bones and, with smaller prey, crack open skulls.
10 – 15 years
Hunted close to extinction by Domian nobility for their hides, they gained a chance to recoup over the centuries largely because of the Udynean ban on killing them except for in extreme times. This is likely due to the resemblance the tigris has to the spotted cats their Goddess of the Hunt rode through the jungles of their homeland. Even strong spellsters show the animal a mixture of reverence and fear in their presence. The Niholian people have no such qualms and will kill a tigris on sight.
Around 1m (3 ft) standing on all fours.
100 and 300 kgs (220 - 660 lbs)
Females: 1.5m (4.9ft) Males: 2m (6.5 ft)
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
A tigris' colouration varies in the shade of orange, but they always have a pure white underbelly. Then there's the very distinctive vertical black stripes adorning their fur, the pattern of which is unique to each individual and likely used as camouflage to help in stalking their prey. Their faces are similarly marked with big white patches above the eyes. The outer part of the ears deviates by being completely black with a single white spot. It's speculated that this pattern is supposed to mimic eyes to warn off other tigris' that their approach is being watched.