The World Today

The World Today
Earth in 2013

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Roadwalker

The roadwalker is one of the largest land predators on the world of Towne. One makes a brief appearance in Stardust: Towne.
Female Roadwalker, made using Spore. Not a few things missing....
Description: The most dreaded and feared predator on Towne it the road walker. They look like the cross between a Tyrannosaurus and a Road Runner. They stand four meters high at the hips, and stretch fourteen meters in length.
Head: All have a crest of feathers upon the backs of their heads. Their skulls are overbuilt and intended to crush bone. The top of the skull is also reinforced, allowing the road walker to butt heads with each other, or to ram another animal.
Body: The males have a peacock-like tail covered with blue and ultraviolet feather.
Limbs: Road walker wings have shrunk to the point of being vestigial limbs, and their legs are built for running, not kicking. Half their body’s muscles go into locomotion.
Color: Like with most savanna species, they are covered in orange feathers, to aid in hunting and protection during roosting. Males tend to have brighter, more attention-getting colors to attract mates.
Internal Structure: Living on the savanna could mean a few days between meals. As such, the road walker has a thin layer of fat between skin and muscle that serves as an energy reserve. It also gives them a little buoyancy, allowing them to swim– that is when they actually come across large enough bodies of water that requires swimming to cross.
Diet: Road walkers are the ultimate predators and will prey upon virtually anything they can catch, though they tend to avoid the newly arrived elephants, which are shorter, yet larger than they. Road walkers run up to forty kilometers and hour, and tackle their prey depending upon its size. For small prey, they simply catch it in their toothed beaks. For larger prey, they will attempt to knock it down by hitting it with their heads.
Lifecycle: They hatch out of football sized eggs as quail-size hatchlings. At hatching, they are helpless despite their long incubation. Their body is developed, yet a couple of days is required for them to become sure footed enough to leave the nest. Upon leaving, they following the parents as they hunt, and eat from kill as soon as they can walk. When not waiting for their parents to bring down large prey, the hatchlings tackle insects and small reptiles found across the plains. They are able to fend for themselves after a few months, when they are promptly scattered by their parents. After that, the road walkers begin their solitary life that lasts for over two decades.
Reproduction: A male will stake out a good piece of land for a nest, and fight other males to keep that nest, until a female comes along. When a female is in sight, the males flare their flashy tails to get attention. Upon doing so, the female will judge the male’s health and the location of the nest, then select a mate. Females will lay up to nine eggs, where up to half may not even hatch. Both parents will sit upon the nest, guarding it from scavengers and other road walkers who might want to take it for their own.
Sociability: The species is almost always solitaire, except during mating season, where they are seen in pairs, and both parents help rear the young. While the eggs are incubating, hundreds of nesting pairs can gather in a sheltered area.
Habitat: They live on the open plains, with their range being restricted and cut up into sectors by human activity.
Communication: Road walkers do not roar, but have an eagle-like screech that can be heard for ten kilometers in any direction.
Enemies: Road walkers and dragons give each other a wide berth. Humans have taken to build walls around settlements located near where road walkers roam.

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