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ZBB cross-post: "Predators and Prey" - Gtx0 ?>

ZBB cross-post: "Predators and Prey"
Posted: Posted May 12th, 2011 by Cerne
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Another cross-post from the ZBB, this one obviously being about some inter-relationship between predatory species in one's conworld and their prey. More specifically, the OP asked (in a broad sense) what kinds of organisms your conpeople fear but I think we can broaden the venue a bit here.

But first, from sirred's ZBB thread titled Predators and Prey, here is what I typed:


This is another one of those things that tends to vary between species on my conworld.

Cenosaurs don't really have very many creatures to watch out for, aside from other large bipedal tracheosaurs. Their species has been an apex predator in most of the environments they have inhabited, and a sapient apex predator has even less to worry about. And then there are the giant sea serpents that can get well over 50 feet long, but they only inhabit the deeper waters so you are not likely to encounter one unless you are travelling across the sea in a sail ship.

On the other hand, if you are around 3 feet tall or less and you only eat bugs, there are many things to concern you. Salmurans fit this category, and unfortunately for them, most of the places they live in are full of large carnivores. Mostly over-sized amphibians, proto-reptiles and giant tentacled worms, but these can be dangerous enough.

One that particularly worries the Mókura is the Iknik or "Giant Green Tree-walker," a tall and lanky saurian predator with a large and sometimes gaping maw that tosses out toxic goo used to encapsulate and incapacitate its victims, a lightning-fast and razor-sharp tail (when used) and an equally fast long and sticky tongue. Plus, a film on its scales renders out the creature's physical outline when in sufficient sunlight and can make it almost invisible against the landscape of its forest habitat. There are also 5-foot long worms that hide in the surrounding dirt, mud or sand and that shoot out long tentacles at a passing animal small enough or large enough to swallow whole, as well as tiny 4-6 inch long worm-like arthropods with buzzing wings and toothed mandibles that - when concentrated in a large enough swarm - can eat anything caught in their path alive.

Outside of the Carbon Coast, there are a number of other large proto-reptiles closely related to the Iknik and then some that aren't. The Lower Basin area, on the other side of the Shondran river from the Carbon Coast, has a long serpent-like creature with six or eight legs that eats much like a snake does. On the as-yet unnamed islands east of the peninsula containing the former two regions, there are semi-aquatic reptiles that look like giant fish with scales and lobe-like appendages and long tongues. Sharing them are 70-pound sail-back proto-reptiles that look a bit like frogs with tails but without the long back legs, and huge 10-12 foot long proto-reptiles with long serpentine bodies, flat finned tails, and jaws that work a bit like the protruding jaws of fish. And there are other, but I won't list them here.

There are also some furry predators like the khazu cave monsters, the lizard-faced wolf-like shazzien, and Gremogs of all shapes and sizes, ranging from 2 feet tall and 30 pounds to 7 feet tall and around 100 pounds. There are also large bat-like creatures related to the gremogs but they don't go after anything they can't pick up and fly away with unless it is already dead.

So yeah, lots of things for a salmuran to be afraid of.


Now, like I typed above, I feel this topic could be broadened and expanded to become more inclusive so that more board members can have something to post about. In particular, do the people in your conworld have any predators? Do they fear these predators? And what kinds of steps to they take to avoid said predators? Or do they even fear these predators? Maybe it is more like some ritualized relationship designed to keep the rest of the world in balance? Or maybe your conpeople have advanced enough technologically that the predators they once had earlier in their species' history no longer pose a threat. Do these predators still appear in their culture's lore, ritual practices, and belief systems, or are they simply forgotten about?

Conversely, maybe the predator-prey relationship is reversed and your conpeople/conspecies are predators. If said conpeople/conspecies are hunters, what kinds of relationships do they have with their prey? Is it a ritualized relationship, or is it driven solely by necessity? How do your conpeople/conspecies see and treat their prey? Does the prey have some sort of place in the culture and belief system, or is it merely an environmental resource like water and building materials? Or do they even catch this prey anymore? Maybe they are ethical vegetarians.

Just something to think about. I am a bit spoiled because I have two conspecies, each being on a different side of the predator-prey relationship. Maybe I am not the only one. Please feel free to post your ideas and material here.

There are 5 Replies

People are a top predator wherever they are.

Of course that doesn't mean they don't have to be afraid of other top predators.

But I think any technological species is going to be a top predator. If they have as much tech as we have IRL, they're not really going to have to be afraid.

Posted August 2nd, 2011 by chiarizio
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How about intra-social predators, like criminals, cannibals, and vampires within a society?

Are there are similarly sapient beings that like to eat each other, openly or on the black market?

Sometimes humans are their own worst enemy, maybe it's the same in some other conworlds. I know I don't have very many extra-societal predators in mine; given technology, sapient beings are pretty much at the top of the game, short of our smaller enemies (parasites and plagues).

Posted August 3rd, 2011 by Blake
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The Tarn sometimes live near the same environment as a large, shark-looking reptiloid. As it can only survive in the ocean, and Tarn can get up onto land and even go inland a ways, and the sharkoid doesn't attack large enough rafts/boats, Tarn are only in danger when they are in the water or on smaller rafts. However, this means that in those areas, foods that can only be gotten from the sea floor or deep water are hard to get and convey a certain amount of status to the Tarn who gathers them or trades to get them. In other areas, these foods are a more common part of the diet.

Less commonly, a large harem will hunt small to medium sharkoids. At least one harem has made it a yearly or almost yearly occurrence.

Posted August 3rd, 2011 by bloodb4roses
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The Ngawei live in the tropics, and there's a hell of a lot of malaria-ridden mozzies. They solved the problem by making it a rite of passage of every individual to raise an Onone, a funny little forest-dwelling monotreme about the size of a housecat that looks something like a cross between an armadillo, badger and monkey, and has a chameleon tongue for catching insects, of which mozzies make up a decent percentage of their diet.

Posted October 3rd, 2011 by Avjunza
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Posted March 23rd by chiarizio
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