Twigfisher Shrog

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Twigfisher Shrog
(Virgalutra novipus)
Main image of Twigfisher Shrog
Species is extant.
CreatorDisgustedorite Other
HabitatDixon-Darwin Boreal, Darwin Temperate Woodland, Vivus Boreal, Vivus Rocky, Darwin Chaparral, Dixon-Darwin Rocky, Dixon-Darwin High Grassland, Darwin Plains, Vivus High Grassland
Size1.5 meters long
Primary MobilityQuadruped, Erect Legs
SupportEndoskeleton (Bone)
DietOmnivore (Vermees, Gamergate Gundis, Minikruggs, Teacup Sauceback larvae, Grovecrystal crystals, Berry Arbourshroom berries, Crystal Brambley berries, Gecoba Tree fruit, Boreal Tubeplage fruit, Fruiting Grovecrystal crystals and fruit, Crystamble crystals, Tubeplage fruit, Scrubland Tubeplage fruit, Scrubland Quhft fruit, Fuzzpile berries, Bristlepile berries, Signpost Crystamboo crystals, Supershroom berries, Sapshroom berries)
RespirationActive (Lungs)
ThermoregulationEndotherm (Fur)
ReproductionSexual (Male and Female, Placental, Pouch and Milk)
Soricia (info)
Tamia (info)
Lignatores (info)
Virgalutra novipus

Inevitably, some populations of the Seashrog would not remain tied to water and would instead move back inland. The Twigfisher Shrog split from its ancestor. With no piscine prey on land, it has exapted its tool use capability to fish for a different kind of prey—bugs and grubs.

The Twigfisher Shrog will find a stick that's sufficiently long and flexible, or make one itself by lopping a branch off a tree with its tail. It will then cover the stick in its sticky saliva which it inherited from its ancestor before sticking the stick into a log or a hole in the ground. When it pulls the stick back out, it will be covered in vermees, minikruggs, gamergate gundis, teacup sauceback larvae, and other small burrowing critters. The Twigfisher Shrog will then eat these right off the stick. It will also readily consume crystals and fruit. It may carry an especially good stick with it wherever it goes, clutching with its thumb while it walks on the tips of its fingers.

Speaking of which, the forelimbs of the Twigfisher Shrog are quite strange compared to its ancestor's. The thumb remains similar, however the rest of the digits have odd bunched knuckles, similar to those of a Terran dog. This allows this odd shrog to walk on its forelegs while grasping a tool at the same time, something the Seashrog couldn't do. Interestingly, the final segment of each finger can be curled a full 180 degrees from its walking position, allowing it to use them to grasp when necessary while keeping them out of the way when walking.

Similar to its ancestor, the Twigfisher Shrog resides in crafted nests. Unlike its ancestor's nests, which are roughly half-spheres with a flat deck, Twigfisher Shrog nests are cylindrical huts with a conical roof. Rather than wasting food using berries to glue it all together, it uses mud as the main adhesive. As mud needs to be exposed to the sun to dry properly, it only builds in clearings within the more forested parts of its range. The nests are also naturally held together by the tangle of branches coming off the sticks used, as the Twigfisher Shrog doesn't bother to remove them. Though it can theoretically fell giant obsidoak trees with its tail, it usually just chops branches off small or young trees, as it is able to see that the giant obsidoaks have far more wood than it could ever need and it can be very difficult to extract its tail if it gets stuck under those literal tons of wood.

Like its ancestor, the Twigfisher Shrog's facial osteoderms play a part in sexual selection, a neat "hairdo" without visible damage being preferred. Unlike its ancestor, it isn't so strictly monogamous, as it has no need to be. It has a mating season mostly associated with fall in the southern hemisphere, and while there is a mating season every year, any twigfisher that mated the previous year will skip the next one. This is due in part to how long it takes for twigfisher joeys to develop enough to not need to be looked after constantly. It retains its ancestor's gestation period of 4 months, though being smaller it actually gives birth to proportionally more developed young in this amount of time. Newborns stay in their mother's pouch until their osteoderms start to grow in, at which point they are weaned. Both parents contribute to caring for their offspring for the first 18 months, which translates to when their offspring are about 14 months old and mostly dependent on their parents for protection, after which the father leaves and the mother will usually pick a different mate next mating season. Orphaned juveniles are able to survive in the wilderness as long as they can build a shelter and have already been taught how to forage for bugs, but when given a choice they stay with their mothers until they are at least 3 years old. It takes about 5 years for a Twigfisher Shrog to reach full size, and it can live as long as 40 years if it isn't killed by predators or disease.

Living over a wide range across a supercontinent with varied soil color and flora cover, the Twigfisher Shrog comes in a handful of distinct color variants suited for specific regions. This includes obsidian for the forests, blond for blending in with rocks, and champagne for dry grass.