Unchisaru

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Image note: 1. an adult Unchisaru in its winter pelt 2. an adult in the summer 3. a baby Unchisaru

The Unchisaru can trace its ancestry to a population of Monkea that forayed into the temperate continental forests of southern Dingus. Unlike with the consistently balmy climes of northern Dingus, conditions here have greater seasonality - most importantly the presence of cold winters. At first these erratics were poorly-equipped for such conditions, but during the course of many generations, their descendants became better acclimated to the temperate south; these changes were made comparatively quick due to the increased mutation rates of Dingusian rads. In due time, enough changes took place that these mamals, now referred to as Unchisaru, split from their ancestry.

The most obvious morphological difference between the Unchisaru and the Monkea is the former’s dense fur coat, retained atavistically from its Proto Mamal ancestry. This dense integument of plumbochitinous filaments serves to keep heat within its owner’s body. Unlike Proto Mamal fur, this pelt is regularly altered in density with the changing seasons - in the summer, this coat constitutes a slate-cyan fuzz; in the winter, a denser composition of shaggy mauve-beige instead takes place, shedding with the first thaw of spring - a behavior not too dissimilar to the distantly-related Shagguliz. It is also worth noting that, due to the insulating properties of lead, the Unchisaru’s winter pelt is much denser in the stuff than with its summer pelt.

Working in tandem with the Unchisaru’s fur coat in retaining heat is its bulkier, fattier build. The combination of a rounder torso, stouter neck, and meatier limbs ensure that it’s more difficult for heat to escape its body. In a similar trend with its pelt, an Unchisaru is at its bulkiest in the winter, and least fatty in the summer. Consequently, the extra girth makes it slightly bigger than its ancestry. The Unchisaru spends a considerable amount of its time on the ground. Its digits have become somewhat robust in supporting weight on the ground, allowing it to amble with greater stability; a grounded Monkea however, could only perform an awkward hobble. Of course, a considerable sacrifice to its arboreal capabilities have to be made, making it not nearly as adept at swinging from branch to branch. Still, Unchisaru digits retain enough dexterity to allow the mamal to scale up Plumboak trunks.

True to its generalist habits, the Unchisaru boasts a wide menu of potential food items, ranging from meat to leafage to rougher material. Although flying game takes up a less prominent presence in their repertoire, an Unchisaru still possesses the equipment to take them down, as it’s not too uncommon to witness the mamals perch onto Plumboak branches and snipe Canareaters. Foolhardy Unchisaru could be seen trying their chances on Rakaws - much meatier, yet nastier game; at close quarters the mamal must contend with the Rakaw’s serrated beak, at a distance the main threat then becomes its own death lasers. Between that and the Unchisaru’s own weaponry and strength, either sort of confrontation will often result in severe casualties to both parties, thus some Unchisaru have learned the best chances at subduing a Rakaw is by sniping from behind. The opposite issue is present against weakened Baloon Animals, as the Unchisaru could easily rip the pissfauna apart, not needing to waste their death laser. With the turning of autumn, a new food source makes itself available - Plumboak fruits. Whether fallen or on the branch, both the Unchisaru and the Plumboak are in for a sweet deal; the mamal gets an easy, nectaricious snack, and the plumbo in return bolsters the chances of its spores being dispersed. From cyan to mauve and mauve to taupe, the onset of winter is when an Unchisaru’s menu is at its tightest. Often its options are limited to foraging the ubiquitous “Insects” and “Mushrooms” which must logically exist to maintain a biosphere, prying off brittle Plumboak bark (which may be seasoned with “Mushrooms” and “Insects”) or crudely digging a small pit in the winter soil just to procure some roots. To make the most of these slim pickings, Unchisaru activity becomes somewhat lower.

To process its diverse menu, the Unchisaru’s beak comes equipped with specialized compartments. At its tip is a hook for digging into and tearing off meat. To the back are pointed projections that cut up foodstuffs, and behind those are blunter projections that grind tougher material like foliage and exoskeleton into a pulp. To better distribute its bite force, its beak has become somewhat more broad.

Unchisaru are typically found in gregarious groups of around fifteen. With such lax social hierarchy, members often swap roles with one another based on current needs; one day an Unchisaru serve as a low-level sentry keeping watch for hungry Nostalgithyons, the next it would sit on a high branch to snipe passing radons. While intraspecific conflict is not unheard of, more often than not these are resolved rather quickly. In the dark nights of winter, these mamals huddle close together in a sheltered spot to keep warm. The Unchisaru is one of the brainier fauna on Dingus, possessing an impressive memory and the ability to learn from experiences it was there for. A peculiar form of enrichment among these mamals picking up elongate objects such as sticks and percussively thwacking them on solid surfaces.

Baby Unchisaru are completely dependent on their parents for their first months of life, sustained by a regular diet of pulpy crop stored within a throat pouch. As the seasons pass, babies become more robust and fueled by a newborn curiosity, start to amble away from their parents and explore the world around them, although still remaining close; these are especially crucial times for both parent and child as the former must teach its offspring the many walks of life and the dangers that follow. Developed enough to feed themselves and spend considerable time away from their parents, young Unchisaru of a few years of age are especially rambunctious - often to the annoyance of other adults. They frequently play with similarly-aged individuals, engaging in such frolic as racing up tree trunks or the odd rough-and-tumble on a Titurdle’s carapace. It will take a few more years for these bundles of energy to finally simmer down.

Gestation usually elapses for about four months - typically starting in the fall and delivery upon early spring so that their newborns get the most pleasant chances at life.