Rock Snapper Species in Niorath | World Anvil

Rock Snapper

In the mountains there is not a single rock that you can trust. The reason for this are the Rock Snappers. You never now if casually walking by will be the last thing you do.
— Yamaderis
  Rock Snappers are a tortoise like predator living in mountainous regions. It is most common on the northern continent of Idravil but can also be found in several mountain ranges of Farlis and Pavanor. They are among the most dangerous creatures living there. The Aina Elves have learned how to avoid them but those who are not familiar with their hunting tactics are destined for an early grave.  

Extra Information

Scientific Name
axeta . doroa (Atheta Doroa)
Rock Snapper
Most can be found in Idravil but they also live in various mountain ranges of Farlis and Pavanor.
5m height, 6m length




  At first view they appear to look like a gigantic tortoise but their are some key differences. First is the fact that they really prefer cold environments and are seldom seen outside of them. Their shell is also quite different as it's main purpose is to camouflage the Rock Snapper. To the untrained eye it is very difficult to tell the shell apart from the surrounding rocks when the Rock Snapper is hiding itself. The shell has an additional layer on top which is made of icy rocks. It is extremely cold and can even be used to freeze victims to it.   Another defining aspect of the Rock Snapper are their horns. They are used to pierce prey but also serve a secondary use. While a Rock Snapper burries its head in the snow for an ambush its horns are used to sense any nearby movements and disturbances to the snow.  


  The Rock Snapper eats smaller creatures most of the time because they are the ones most commonly passing by. It burrows itself in the snow with only the shell sticking out. When a creature comes closer the Rock Snapper either waits for it to come closer or melts part of its outer shell layer to create a small water stream. Once the creature is close it snaps at the unsuspecting victim with great speed.   From time to time it also takes down larger prey and even other predators. For these creatures it does not snap them directly but tries to pierce them with its horns first. It then throws them against its shell in order to freeze and kill them. Once they are dead the Rock Snapper can eat its victim in peace.  

by kefkejaco with midjourney
by kefkejaco with midjourney


  The Rock Snapper is so far only been found in cold climates. This is also logical as its hunting tactics require it to blend in with that kind of environment.  


  Rock Snappers are known to not reproduce very frequently. However once every few years they make an attempt to find a partner. They do this with a very specific call during the mating season. For those living in the mountains it is a very eery sound especially since it echoes through the mountain valleys. Once mating is done the female Rock Snapper tries to find a good place to lay eggs. On average they have about 6 years to do so. The female therefore has plenty of time to wait for optimal conditions.   The eggs are often laid near the top of a mountain in a large hole created by the mother. A layer of snow is then placed over them. It is believed the mother lays about 20 eggs on average of which only half a believed to hatch. Once hatched the children have a hard time and need to be supported by their mother as they cant yet hunt themselves. Once large enough they move to an ice lake or river to feed on fish until they are large enough to catch bigger prey.      



Aina Elves

  The Aina Elves were the first to mention these creatures in their records and study them. They have learned to recognise the patterns of their shells and know when to stay away. However, when one comes very close to a settlement they are known to hunt them down. This is something very hard to do and often requires a lot of prior planning. It often involves decoy prey to trigger the Rock Snapper to emerge.   The shell of the Rock Snapper is often used as a form of armor by the Aina Elves. Sometimes the whole shell is kept intact and used as a sort of freezing as the shell doesn't lose its cold property if kept in one piece.
by Kefkejaco with midjourney

Cover image: by kefkejaco with midjourney


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Dec 10, 2022 22:13 by Soulwing

They sense stuff through their horns, vibrations? An antenna! And they appear like a rock when buried? W-why does this renders Patrick‘s rock house to appear in my mind? o.o   I love them!

Creator, artist and writer of the science fantasy world Kingsmaker.
Dec 10, 2022 22:21

Oh snap you discovered its secret! :o

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Dec 11, 2022 13:28

Lovely article: only question that does come to mind: How beeg do they get?

Yours truly, Nino.
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Dec 13, 2022 14:55

Good question so I added it to the article :)

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
Dec 19, 2022 02:57

I really love this creature. They are terrifying and imposing. I would think twice before venturing into these mountain ranges. Please continue making creatures like this so I can keep reading about them!

Dec 26, 2022 18:54

Thanks! Glad that you like them!

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
Jan 2, 2023 01:48 by Molly Marjorie

A friend of mine says I have a habit of creating terrifying turltes and tortoises, so it's no surprise I like this article so much. I particularly like that even though a giant ice tortoise is pretty scary, they mostly eat smaller animals. It feels very realistic.   You mention they will melt parts of their shells to create streams of water and draw in prey. I am curious how they do this.

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Jan 8, 2023 17:27

Thank you! Yeah it is not exactly clear but will update that later on :) It is not actually the shell itself melting but the rocks on top of it which can be replenished. :)

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
Jan 7, 2023 18:50 by Fall

The way that the "horns are used to sense any nearby movements and disturbances to the snow", I think, is a really neat concept and something that gives these creatures a unique place in Niorath.   Thank you for being an inspirational author!   P.s. I've featured this article in my New Year's Resolutions article <3

Jan 8, 2023 17:19

Thank you for the kind words and adding me to your article! Really appreciate it! ^^

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
Jan 23, 2023 19:24

What terrifying critters! I can only imagine how wary a traveler has to be in this area. Except if they are an aina elf, of course. The images are also really pretty too!

Hoo~ Hoo
Feb 3, 2023 16:53

Thank you! They sure a predator not to be taken lightly!

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
Feb 5, 2023 02:10 by Keon Croucher

I love them and wish to befriend them. I am the infinite druid/ranger I will befriend all the dangerous wildlife!!!!

Keon Croucher, Chronicler of the Age of Revitalization
Feb 5, 2023 14:55

Well who know perhaps if you find a young young you can train them to be friendly enough towards you :p

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
Feb 10, 2023 12:31 by LexiCon (WordiGirl)

Congrats on the feature! <3 I like the Rock Snappers. They remind me of Ankylosaurs.

Mar 24, 2023 13:07

Thank you for the kind words! Glad you like them ^^

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
Feb 21, 2023 15:22

Kelly Pawlik at Kobold Press loved this entry for WorldEmber! <3 She asked me to pass on her feedback to you. Congrats on your win!   1.I never knew I needed giant carnivorous arctic tortoises until now. These creatures are magnificent.   2.Their hunting method, hunkering down in the snow so only their antlers protrude, is very evocative. I can picture the terror felt by a troupe of beleaguered cold weather travelers as one of these rumbles toward them out of the snow.   3.They use their frigid shells to carry prey around until they want to eat. That is all kinds of awesome!   4.It is noted that they have so far only been found in cold climates, but this doesn’t preclude variant snappers adapted to other environments which might lead to future worldbuilding. There is a lot of potential there, I think.

Mar 24, 2023 13:08

Thank you so much for the kind words! It was such a great news to hear that I was picked by the amazing people at Kobold Press for this ! ^^

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!