Tzelkin are a great dane
sized mamma-reptiloid carnivore sometimes seen on the open, sun-drenched
plains of Darnya.
There is also a sub species of tzelkin known as 'Erlec' (eh-er-lek)
that inhabit the salt-plains of Jervan.
Unless in starvation mode Tzelkin avoid contact with humanoids,
when they have sufficient sunlight they only require small amounts
of meat and so have no reason to approach possible threats. However
when cornered or hunting they will leap at an opponent to knock
them down and then attempt to tear at the face, throat and chest.
Their claws are stubby and more designed for running than weapons,
however their toes are slightly prehensie and they use these to
hold onto prey.
When threatened or agressive Tzelkin flare their neck frill to
increase apparent size. Ambush when can. Use pack hunting methods
A highly social species, Tzelkin packs consist of 6-8 adults,
3-5 of these are likely to be female.
On the plains they hunt in the early and late hours of the day
for small reptiles, mammals and, when prey is sparce, insects
and birds, spending much of the hotter hours of the day sunbaking.
Pups of the alpha and beta females are raised by the pack, born
in late spring as daylight increased and are almost independant
at birth. They are weaned onto sunlight and meat in early summer.
Pups reach maturity after two and a half years, generally leaving
to join another pack.
No real attempt has been made to domesticate the plains Tzelkin,
their need for large quantities of sunlight or meat makes them
difficult pets and they do not do well in constrained captivity.
However there have been several reports of nomads on the Jervan
plain capturing Erlec pups and raising them as a form of hunting
hound. The Erlec riding on the roof of the caravans or trotting
along side in full sunlight.
Tzelkin are unusual in that they are supplimentary solavores using
their large frill to absorb the sunlight that is the staple diet..
They have a high metabolism and unless disturbed go into a torpor
over night and on cloudy days to conserve energy. If sunlight is
scarce or a Tzelkin is forced to expend energy when it cannot readily
replace it with absorbed sunlight they must increase the amount
of meat they consume to prevent starvation.
Occassionally stray into forested areas while chasing game - the
individual becomes ravenously hungry due to the lack of direct sunlight
to 'feed' upon - chase and devour anything they can at any risk
to self. This is where most tales about the ferocity of Tzelkin
Den areas are generally a small scraping where all the pack curl
up for the night and are marked with acrid, unpleasant scent to
keep nocturnal visitors away.
Tzelkin are skinned like a skink, smooth very fine scale makes
up their hide and they shed twice a year. The scale on the neck
frills is larger and rougher, rather like that of a frill neck
lizard, it forms a sort of scale mail that helps protect the throat.
In general Tzelkin are sight-hunters though their night vision
is almost non-existant.
The species make a grating noise when hunting or angered and a
twittering noise in submissive and playful behaviour. Plains Tzelkin
tend to be a variety of dark coppery colours with an occassional
black Tzelkin being seen. The darkness of their skin aiding in
absorption of sunlight
Mature males have coloured splashed on their frills that flush
brighter hues in the mating season to attract a mate. Females
can be distinguished by their duller colouring.
Jervan Tzelkin are smaller than their cousins, being about the
size of a whippet and are reported to be less agressive - this
has been suggest to do with the intensity of the light available
for them to absorb, and that there is no shade to trigger the
single minded hunting mode that most associate with Tzelkin. Other
visible differences between the subspecies are the smaller neck
frill, pale silvery grey colouring and a gland near the eyes through
which the Erlec excrete excess salt, the tear marks of which give
them a mournful expression.
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