Species name: Raptai – Also known as Tree-Raptors, Vine-Dragons
Full name: (Fyta-Exoteric) Fytazont Dendrosaurid Raptai
Average Height: 2.2m
Average Length: 2.3m, with root-tails reaching lengths of 7m
Description: Raptai are beings made of plant matter, a twisting mass of vines, roots, branches and stems, have formed the shape of a reptilian being, akin to an upright theropod dinosaur. Their bodies are often covered in leaves and thorns, and have a large, woody backbone running down their back, the ‘trunk’ of the being. Their tails, even from a young age, are incredibly long, akin to the roots of a plant. A Raptai’s hands and feet have long, sharp, serrated claws, which are normally used to anchor themselves to the ground while they sunbathe, or to lash out at enemies. They have long, bendy, sticky tongues, and their mouths drip with a sweet liquid used to attract prey. Many Raptai have branches or thorns as decoration on their heads, back and necks, as well as long vines they can control and wrap around larger prey. In cold months, their bodies have more thorns and vines, and in warm months, flowers grow on the Raptai’s bodies.
Colouration: The majority of a Raptai’s body is a mixture of various greens and browns, although dark reds can run along external vines. During mating seasons, the flowers of a Raptai will blossom into almost any colour. Male Raptai have a yellow, duty pollen that grows into a darker, almost orange yellow as they become more fertile. A pale yellow or grey colouration occasionally appears on Raptai who are ill.
Abilities: Being plant-like themselves, the Raptai have the ability to manipulate plants, trees and other flora. Raptai have no sense of taste, have a very bad sense of smell and poor eyesight, but can sense the world around them, feel and navigate via magnetic waves and have powerful echolocation abilities. Many Raptai are also capable of creating their own poisons and potions, but can easily be affected by toxins in the air and soil around them. Raptai are capable of long-distance telepathic communication, but only when in large groups.
Temperament: Raptai are normally incredibly peaceful, calm creatures, content spend their time sunbathing in large groups, tending to bee hives or hunting in packs if needed. They are considered happy, playful creatures.
Diet: Raptai use various methods in order to gain energy. Their preferred diet is insects, but their main source of food is sunlight, which is used for photosynthesis in their bodies. Raptai are seen basking in the sun whenever they are not hunting. During the night, Raptai will plant their root-tails in fertile soil and absorb nutrients – salts, minerals and water – from the earth. They also place their root-rails in water to drink from rivers and streams as needed. Groups of Raptai are known to keep bees near where they live, or even on their bodies, allowing them to harvest their pollen in the summer time. These Raptai keep some of the honey the bees produce and store it for winter, or using it as a fast energy boost or to heal injuries.
Some Raptai will go searching for carrion, but it is rare for a Raptai to actually kill larger creatures.
Life Cycle: Raptai are born as seeds, and are planted in fertile ground individually by their parents. The seeds are then left, and a young Raptai will slowly grow from the seed, its root-tail digging deep into the ground. At this point in a Raptai’s life, they remain underground, with nothing more than a handful of leaves sticking out from the surface, absorbing warmth from the sun and sucking nutrients out of the soil. Once they have grown large enough, generally around 1m tall, they will pull themselves out of the ground, but keep their root-tails in the soil. In this state, they will absorb sunlight and use it for photosynthesis, while their internal body parts mature. After about three months in this state, a Raptai will remove their tail from the soil and will be capable of eating solid foods – mostly insects and small animals. At this point, a Raptai is considered an adult. As a Raptai grows, thorns grow along the larger vines on their backs, arms and legs, and their root-tails will gain more and more roots.
Raptai reach sexual maturity after three years, and when they are ready to mate, small flowers grow along their bodies. Male Raptai will grow small vines, making a long mane down their necks and backs, which are covered in pollen, attracting both females. The flowers on female Raptai grow larger, and the flowers on the females’ chests open up. Males will rub themselves against females in order to pollinate them. Long-distance pollination is incredibly common, and females who don’t have males nearby often find themselves pollinated by bees and other insects. Lonely males will attract insects to help spread their pollen, and are known to climb to windy areas in order to let the wind carry their pollen to new locations.
After a few weeks, the flowers on females will close up and any flowers that were pollinated will slowly shrivel, then grow into small, round seeds, the next generation of Raptai.
Culture: Raptai culture is care-free and simple, with most Raptai content to sunbathe or lazily eat. Their creative work mostly consists of making art out of plants. Raptai have the ability to speak and have their own spoken and written variants of the Panglish language, but written works are rare due to their telepathic connections.
Government: Raptai are social beings which happily live in both small and large groups, with no clear leadership or monarchy. When decisions need to be made, each individual will state their thoughts, and a democratic process is used to make the best choices.
Technology: Raptai technology is often misunderstood. While the Raptai themselves don’t appear to have technology, they have the ability to manipulate plant matter into whatever it is they need – from shelters to food and medicine to war-time defenses against their enemies. The only thing Raptai lack is a means for mass-space travel, but the Raptai are capable of making massive towers in order to reach passing ships.
Economy: The Raptai do not trade among themselves, but they are known to trade with other races, trading unneeded pollen and honey to passers by.