Dondokos

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Dondokos (ドンドコ dondoko) are one of Tal's primitive creatures belonging to the Talyxian species group. They are the most well-known wildlife on Tal, found everywhere on the planet. There are a few subspecies living in the desert zone.

Newcanon.png This article contains information classified under the New Age canon.

Biology

Anatomy of dondoko, and sergals who are running away from them.
Their bodies consist of red muscular systems, belt-shaped bones, gray reproductive organs, and digestive organs. Their skeletal and muscular structures are arranged in such a way to give them a high mobility.

Their longitudinal (horizontally jointed) mandibles show that there is specific front and back to their head and body, but they can run in any direction with their legs, regardless of the direction they face. They are found in sizes as small as 1 foot 9 inches and can grow as large as 9 feet 8 inches in length.

Their running speed is similar to that of most Eltus races, but they can continue running for hours thanks to their abundant stamina.

They eat meat, attacking prey by biting off chunks with their toothy mouths. These mouths also serve as a waste vent, the function of use being divided by a valve. Ingested foods will travel through their stomachs clockwise, in the digestive organs and return to the mouth opening, to be excreted.

There are soft sensory organs on the soles of their feet, to detect vibration, and around these soft organs is a hard and rubber-like covering the feet. The sensory organs have a unique fingerprint-like pattern, and experts can distinguish between individual dondokos by examining the pattern.
 

Ecology

Dondokos are completely omnivorous, and they will hunt anything if they detect the movement vibration nearby. An especially strong aggression is triggers in these hunters when they notice vibrations that differ from their own, usually caused by creatures who are differently sized than themselves (however, because they hunt exclusively by tracking vibration, they are not scavengers and will never choose to eat carrion). They have a lack of developed senses, relying instead on predatory instincts. They are quite prone to cannibalism, the mere notice of vibrations from another dondoko being enough to trigger a frenzy. They travel in groups, usually comprised of up to a few dozen individuals of roughly the same size, though in rare cases, they can be found in groups with as many as several hundred members. All dondokos reproduce by the method of parthenogenesis.

They are very sensitive to vibration, and will take advantage of their high stamina to run long distances, tracking and chasing their enemy or prey until it no longer has the strength to continue fleeing. As a group, they will gnaw any prominent parts off of their target, finally making it a round lump of meat. They also exhibit this behavior when encountering smaller members of their own species, by gnawing the legs off of the body.

This behavior of cannibalism helps to function as their reproduction system. When a single dondoko is preyed upon in this manner, the remaining torso will root to the spot, and will bear egg-like sprouts. These eventually mature into infants of the donodoko species. After some time, the infant dondokos will form a small group, but there are high mortality rates during their infancy due to rapid growth and blind cannibalism. In contrast with the infants, mature individuals grow more slowly, and can form larger groups.

Do note, dondokos, like most Talyxians, are meant to hunt other Talyxians. If they chance upon an Eltus, they may chase and hunt, but their natural prey is the Talyxian creatures that live around them.

Relation with Eltus people

While dondokos are treated as terrible and harmful creatures, the Eltus people also identify them as a common food source. Almost the entire body can be eaten, and their meat is healthy and flavorful. Thanks to their taste and the presence of dondokos found in in most of Tal's various ecosystems, dondoko meat is a staple food in almost all inhabited areas of the Eltus.

Smaller groups are not as formidable and will flee when they perceive footsteps from something larger or more numerous. But they become more aggressive as they grow larger, or as their groups gain more members. The large individuals or large groups (even composed of small individuals) are especially dangerous.

They mainly react to footstep-like vibrations, so thankfully there are some safe methods to move near them, including crawling on the ground like a leech, vaulting from cliffs, or riding a wheeled vehicle. To these non-footstep vibrations, they are not usually attracted or aggressive. Because of this, people usually use cars for safe transport in dondoko-inhabited areas. Another option to avoid detection is to hide in a tree until the swarm moves on.

Though the sensory perception of dondokos is very limited, as a group increases in size, the collective dondokos become more sensitive to heterogeneous sources of vibration (such as those caused by Eltus travelling on foot). This only makes them more likely to attack. Lots of large vehicles often indicate the nearby presence of a large group of dondokos, and can signal an area as being dangerous. Thankfully, these dangerous areas are easy to identify, with the sight of many vehicles travelling to avoid such groups of dondokos. Large vehicles are the safest way to travel through the dondoko areas, since the vibrations caused by wheels do not trigger the dondoko attack instincts.