Maw Ûmendmeld (Capybara) Species in Salan | World Anvil
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Maw Ûmendmeld (Capybara)

The maw are large half-tame rodents, that are commonly found in and around the Zeribian settlements. Their full name in Ngad i zerib (Zeribian language) is Maw Ûmendmeld 'the fat one that eats in the river'. Keeping maw is currently illegal in the Republic of Free West Island.  

Habitat and behavior

The maw live in wet forests and marshes near a continuos sources of water (pretty much like the Zeribians themselves.) Their diet consists of waterplants and grass, but they also like to eat leftovers from their owners. They are resonably agile on land, but are exceptional swimmers and can stay submerged up to five minutes. The usual size of a wild maw pack is 10-20 individuals. They are usually friendly towards people and other livestock, but can bite painfully if they suspect someone is hiding food from them.  


Zeribians hunt the wild populations, and often keep half-tame populations within their villages. Their main product is their tasty meat and plentiful fat. Their pelts can also be taken, and the fur is sometimes used by the commoners to weave coarse fabric.  

The naming confusion

The maw are sometimes also called water sheep by the Farens, because of their similar behaviour. Unfortunately, there is also an incredibly valuable material, Sea Silk, that is also said to be woven from the "water sheep" because it's source is not commonly known. Because of the confusing naming, a common belief is, that maw are the source of sea silk.   Once Republic of Free West Island, then ruled by the infamous King Elderoak the Mad, sent a military expedition to Uganbalžan, famous for being the source of the finest sea silk, in order to force them to reveal the secret of sea silk weaving. There they found a peasant with a herd of rare type of white spotted maw, which he was trying to hide, because he feared that the attackers were going to eat them (like the Zeribian invaders often did). The West Islanders were sure this was the secret they were looking for, and took the animals back home with them. Then they only had to figure out how to turn the coarse white fur into fine silk. They of course never succeeded, despite months of trying.   Because of this awkward misunderstanding, the King, who couldn't bare seeing any of the animals in his sight any longer, made water sheep herding illegal. Some of the locals around Marsh Cape didn't want to give away their tasty source of protein, and continue to keep them anyway. The governmental officers don't usually care, but the law is sometimes used to punish Zeribians, if they have otherwise annoyed the officers.
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Geographic Distribution
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by Anouchka Unel
A family of wild maw


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