Oelot Species in Saleh'Alire | World Anvil


The Favored Livestock of Saleh'Alire

Saleh'Alire » Fauna Organic Mundane Ungulate

I've seen all the difficulties cattle farmers and sheep farmers go through with their herds, and I've never had any of those issues with my Oelots... I never had anything other than an Oelot, and I sure as Tarsellis I don't want anything other than an Oelot. They just aren't worth the trouble.
Garobel e'Cearunia, Homesteader
  Originating in, and well adapted, to harsh dry climates where food and water can be incredibly scarce even during peak seasons (such as Rasha-Ui and the Chisisi Desert), Oelots quickly became a favored choice for domesticated livestock among the people of their native regions. Their strong bodies, high quality meat and pelts, docile natures, and easy herding nature further facilitated their domestication and trade once encountered... Now they remain the most recognized, sought after, and commonly cared for livestock the world of Saleh'Alire over- being found in Castrillis, Martova, Olienn, Rusatar, and Tolara equally.

Anatomy & Appearance

  Long necked compared to other Ungulates, and Oelot's head is small and wedge shaped with a flat forehead. Two tightly spiraled horns extend from just above long ears on either side of the head. These horns grow flush with the slope of the forehead, and extend back towards the body to form a V shape.   Their horns consist of a hollow core and an exterior shell made of keratin. Unlike other species who shed their horns each season, however, an Oelot grows its horns gradually over the course of its entire lifetime- making it easy to gauge an Oelot's age based on horn length alone.   Overall they are tall and leggy, with muscular hind and front quarters that are built for strength and speed; each of their four legs end in cloven hooves, much like other members of their species. Likewise, they have short tails (less than 6 inches in length)- though an Oelot's tail differs in that they carry large deposits of fat around their base.   For the most part an Oelot's fur is short and coarse- particularly from behind the shoulders and through to the hind quarters. All Oelots regardless of sex, however, have large manes in the neck area. The length and shape of the mane can vary per individual, but is usually longest around the chest and chin- giving it a slightly bearded appearance. In addition to this mane, they have a crest of hair that extends between the shoulder blades down the center of the back- culminating in another long mane on the tail.  

Coloration & Markings

  The average domesticated Oelot's fur is usually dual or tri colored- with the mane, stripes, and body frequently being different from one another.   Body colors of domesticated Oelots frequently range from a soft rust on the lightest end of the spectrum, to a deep chocolate or chestnut on the darkest end. In areas where wild Oelots frequently have less foliage coverage, however, faun and tawny coats have also been observed. Grey, black, and white body coloration isn't unheard of either, but tends to be incredibly rare among both wild and domestic populations.   In addition to the dark color of their body coats, most Oelots have between 4 and 15 vertical stripes on their sides and hind quarters. These stripes are often either black or white, or some variation of faun, and are believed to help camouflage the Oelot from predators. Likewise, facial features include rings around the eyes, and markings on their chin, snout, and on the legs just above the hooves- all in colors that frequently coordinate with their stripes.   In contrast to the rest of their fur, the hair of their manes is soft and crimped crimped- similar to a sheep's wool, but considerably more relaxed. Mane colors lean further towards the lighter side of the spectrum- ranging from white to a tawny or faun, though the rare Oelot may have a light rust colored mane; since the hairs in Oelots manes are comparable to sheep's wool and are therefore often sheered to provide fibers for clothing, light colored manes are the result of centuries of domestication- being selectively bred for the ease it provides in dying the sheared fibers.
Domesticated   Classification
Even-Toed Ungulate   Related to
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Cattle
  • Camels
  • Deer
  • Antelope

Average Lifespan
20 to 25 years
Average Height
4 to 6 ft
122 to 183 cm   Average Length
7 to 9 ft
213 to 275 cm   Average Weight
880 to 2,200 lb
400 to 1,000 kg
Common Mane Colors
  Common Body Colors
  Common Marking Colors
Oelot Markings.jpg

Ecology & Diet

I swear one'o'em biggies'd try chewin straight through ta iron grate ya dare let'em 'lone long 'nuff ta try doin' such'a thing. But wit as dumb'n stubborn one'o'em is? I'nna recommend doin' that.   Dey great'n all, but ta havoc em can wreak onna homestead really i'nna good at all. You gotta watch'em right, is true.
Daeron Arvastani, Homesteader
  Before their domestication, Oelots originated in transitional Savanna regions such as Rasha-Ui- frequently found on on the fringes of deserts; typically they inhabit places with a hilly or rocky landscape, but as they need a regular intake of water in their diet, their natural ranges are rarely far away from a nearby water source of some kind.   As an herbivorous mammal, they're largely diurnal- feeding from dawn to dusk by browsing, as well as grazing. Their activity is influenced greatly by weather, however; in hot weather Oelots may switch to a more nocturnal schedule, allowing them to feed at night when the temperatures are cooler. By contrast, they prefer to bed down in the open and graze during the day during cooler months; regardless of season and schedule, they shelter under taller trees and bushes to rest during the hottest hours of the day.
  Like their feeding behavior, the content of their diet also changes according to the weather- which affects the availability of food resources in their territory; the proportion of grazed grasses in their diet increases significantly during the rainy season, but declines in the dry season and during droughts. During these times browsing predominates.   Wild or domesticated, most Oelots prefer to graze on grass and other short roughage. They've been known to eat succulents in times of water scarsity, however- and have been observed eating fallen fruit such as plumbs and acai berries. Legumes and forbs are also consumed. This makes wildlands, woodlands, and other uncultivated areas the ideal grazing pasture for domesticated Oelots.  

Society & Reproduction

  Oelots are herd animals, forming harems that vary in size from 6 to 100 individuals- often 3:1 sex ratio. As herds congregate close to one another year round and do not disband during the wet season for mating, Archivists believe they are inherently a social animal.   They are not territorial by nature, though they do form home ranges. These ranges can be as small as 200 to 400 acres (80 to 160 hectares, or 0.31 to 0.62 sq mi), to as large as 800 acres (324 hectares, or 1.5 sq mi) in size; Oelots rarely deviate from these ranges once established, except in times of extreme scarcity- breeding generation after generation within their borders.  
  Female Oelots reach sexual maturity at about 2 years of age, with males following at 4 to 5 years. Like most ungulates they breed year round- mating most frequently at times when food sources are abundant. This peaks during the rainy season when foliage is the most abundant, and declines significantly during the dry and cold seasons. Domesticated Oelots may breed more frequently, however, when their diets are supplemented throughout these seasons by their caretakers.   Once bred, expectant mothers gather in nursery herds separate from their harems of origin. These herds tend to be loose and have no obvious leadership. They remain with the nursery herd throughout their pregnancy, birthing and raising the new fauns as a group.
I'm tellin' ya! Nothing- and I mean nothing- is creepier than seeing a herd of the does standing around keeping watch while the others birth. Especially at night; the moonlight glints off their eyes like wildfire and I swear I've never seen a single one of them blink when they're on watch like that... Makes it a right frightening sight to watch yourself during birthing season.
Meanna Elori, Homesteader
  Pregnancies range from 5 to 6 months in length, after which a single fawn is born. Deliveries usually occur at night, with the other females of the nursery herd encircling the birthing mothers and vigilantly watching for danger. Weaning of fawns occurs at roughly 4 months of age... Interestingly, though, the nursery herd does not rejoin the harem until all birthed fawns have been weaned- continuing to provide protection to the newer mothers until the process is complete.  

Abilities & Senses

  Oelots have evolved a number of evolutionary traits that make them well adapted to harsh climates. For instance, despite needing large amounts of water in their diets they can still survive in hot climates with little water- gravitating towards succulents and other plants with high water values during times of water scarcity. Their dry dung (which is drier than that of cattle), shade seeking behavior, and ability to change schedule during hotter months allows them to retain these internal water stores better than other livestock.   Oelots do have poor eyesight and depth perception compared to other ungulates, however, and are incredibly sensitive to noise. They have also adapted to run at great speeds over long distances in order to out pace predators; they move quickly- often reaching speeds of 43 mph (70 km / h). And despite their size they're exceptional jumpers, easily clearing heights of up to 6 feet (1.9 m).  

Domestication Benefits

Oelots? Now those are a gift from the almighty Divine, I tell ya. Before them I tried sheep. I tried cattle. I tried goats... Hell, I even tried raising wyverns if you can believe it. But Oelots are easier'n all of them combined'n they can do it all.   You need meet? Milk? Wool? Hide? Somethin' to carry your stuff? An Oelot'll do all that'n more... I even used mine to pull down that ugly old chook coop over there last year; all you need is some food'n they'll do nearly anything you want long as you don't ever spook 'em.
Amabelle Jaddur, Homesteader
  Oelot's ability to survive with little water makes them well suited to harsh climates. In addition to this, they can eat coarser foliage than most, and can even ingest poisonous plants that frequently prove fatal for other livestock animals. As Oelots can survive on a highly varied diet, it is easy for caretakers to supplement during times of food scarcity. Additionally, Oelots are immune to common diseases that plague livestock herds of more common types.   Their ability to become hefted to a particular range means that they don't roam freely in unfenced landscapes- making it much easier to establish and maintain territory for them. Oelots are also docile creatures by nature, and being food oriented, are easily trained to associate caretakers with regular feeding. This keeps them closer to the caretaker's dwelling naturally once hefted- and the behavior can even be exploited by caretakers in order to move herds to new hefts, simply by leading them with buckets of feed.
  The downside is that fawns often learn the boundaries of their heft from their mothers. If whole flocks are culled, heft boundaries must be manually retaught to any replacement Oelots. For this reason, caretakers rarely cull entire herds- choosing to retain at least one breeding pair from the original, who can teach the heft to any replacements.   Their poor eyesight and sensitivity to noise, however, does make them highly unsuitable for areas with high populations and noise levels- leading to their popularity as livestock for homesteaders in wildlands, deserts, savannas, mountains, and other more inhospitable areas. It also makes them more difficult to handle in some regards, as caretakers cannot make loud noises near them without risk of scattering the herd; herds may be desensitized to some noises while they're still young, but the risk of a herd scattering in the presence of danger remains high regardless.   Unfortunately scattering can mean the loss of a herd if a caretaker isn't careful, as Oelots may easily surpass the boundaries of their heft during their effort to remove themselves from an area of danger... They will eventually return to their home ranges once they know the danger has passed. But even in light of this, scattering frequently means the loss of several members of the herd- either to predators, or as a result of being unable to find their way back.  

Domestication Uses

  Keeping a Oelot herd is both easy in some regards, and difficult in others. Despite this, most people prefer to raise Oelots due to the numerous benefits that they provide as a livestock animal.   As a food animal they give large quantities of tender meat even if fed a low-quality diet. Their milk is comparatively richer than that of common cattle, and has about triple the fat content and twice the protein. Additionally, Oelot hides are high quality, and their skin thick and tough- making their hides perfect for use in trade and the production of heavy leather goods. Likewise, the hair of their mane and tails can be sheared and regrows quickly, allowing them to be used as fiber animals similar to sheep.   Oelot bodies are strong and thickly muscled- particularly around the chest and front and hind quarters. These powerful muscles make them perfect candidates as beasts of burden- often being used to pull plows and carriages by those who keep them. Unfortunately, however, attempts to use them as a riding mount have been largely unsuccessful across the board; only a few people have been able to train an Oelot to take to the saddle- though they can be led as a pack animal as long as they aren't frightened.
Gentle, and easy to herd, breed, and overall care for, Oelot provides one with a creamy meat that is high in nutrition while being lean in fat. This results in the perfect steamed meat, dumpling, pastry, and pie filling, or stew meat... Though they require supplemental fat in the form of butter or lard, or a good soak in their own milk, should one wish to partake of a steak, or a rump or loin roast.   Light but rich in flavor, they take to seasoning well and are recommended seasoned with thyme, rosemary, and other lighter herbs.
A Homesteader's Guide to Oelot

Cover image: Animal Fur by Tim Foster


Author's Notes

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I absolutely love getting feedback on my setting and its worldbuilding. I love it even more when people poke and prod at it, and ask questions about the things I've built within it. I want both. I actively encourage both. And it makes me incredibly giddy whenever I get either. However, there's a time and a place for critique in particular- mostly when I've actually asked for it (which usually happens in World Anvil's discord server). And when I do ask for critique, there are two major things I politely request that you do not include in your commentary:   ➤ The first is any sort of critique on the way I've chosen to organize or format something; Saleh'Alire is not a narrative world written for reader enjoyment... It's is a living campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons. To that end, it's written and organized for my players and I, specifically for ease of use during gameplay- and our organization needs are sometimes very different than others'. They are especially different, often-times, from how things "should be organized" for reader enjoyment.   ➤ Secondly, is any critique about sentence phrasing and structure, word choice, and so on; unless you've specifically found a typo, or you know for a provable fact I've blatantly misused a word, or something is legitimately unclear explicitly because I've worded it too strangely? Then respectfully: Don't comment on it; as a native English speaker of the SAE dialect, language critique in particular will almost always be unwelcome unless it's absolutely necessary. This is especially true if English is not you first language to begin with. My native dialect is criticized enough as it is for being "wrong", even by fellow native English speakers ... I really don't want to deal with the additional linguistic elitism of "formal English" from Second-Language speakers (no offense intended).   That being said: If you want to ask questions, speculate, or just ramble? Go for it! I love talking about my setting and I'm always happy to answer any questions you have, or entertain any thoughts about it. Praise, of course, is always welcome too (even if it's just a casual "this is great", it still means a lot to authors)- and if you love it, please don't forget to actually show that love by liking it and sharing it around. Because I genuinely do enjoy watching people explore and interact with my setting, and ask questions about it, and I'd definitely love to hear from you... Just be respectful about it, yeah?

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