Giant Nautilus Species in Telim | World Anvil
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Giant Nautilus

With spiral shells fifty feet in diameter, giant domesticated nautiluses are used as beasts of burden and long-distance transport by many aquatic peoples.

Basic Information


Giant nautiluses can be divided into two groups: the smaller, hardier type bred by the merfolk (and which are most similar to the original undomesticated animal), and the large, genetically-tailored strain created by cephalid breeders.   In general, both have large shells formed into tight spirals, which protect most of the body. The vaguely squid-like head projects out of the shell's opening, along with twenty short tentacles, which lack the dexterity of their squid and octopus cousins.

Additional Information


Nomadic merfolk tribes were the first peoples to use nautiluses as beasts of burden. They lashed their sea-fern tents and other belongings to the outside of the nautilus shells with kelp rope. Over time the merfolk bred larger and stronger nautilus stock. At gatherings of tribes they would exchange breeding animals to pass beneficial traits amongst all the herds.   The cephalids learned from the merfolk how to raise and use nautiluses, but their inquisitive nature and skill at genetic manipulation through magic and careful breeding allowed them to push nautiloid husbandry to new levels. Rather than secure objects to the outside of a creature's shell, the cephalids realized they could use the vast amount of space within a shell as storage. Once a nautilus is considered old enough to begin carrying weight, water-tight hatches are carved into the side of each segment, effectively making them storage compartments. In addition, they've been bred to have shells with natural protrusions usable as easy handholds or seats.   A nautilus driver perches above the creature's head, above which into the shell several holes have been drilled. This allows the cephalid rider access to the nautilus brain. By careful and precise simulation of various neural clusters, the beast's motion can be controlled.   Furthermore, the nautiluses bred by the cephalids are quite a bit larger, with adults regularly having shell diameters in excess of fifty feet. With enough inner shell storage for several tons of goods, the shells are necessarily thin, and caravans must rely on seahorse riders and others for defense.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

The merfolk still use their smaller, hardier nautiluses in their nomadic wanderings.   Cephalid riders and their giant mounts are much in demand throughout the sea, and they can find employ in nearly any kingdom or country. Great caravans, sometimes with hundreds of nautiluses, ply the relatively safe currents of Tritonia, while smaller groups of only a few dozen animals might travel through less settled lands - with an escort, of course.
20 years
Average Height
Bottom of shell to top: 50 feet
Average Weight
1 ton with shell
Average Length
Shell-to-tentacle: 60 feet

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