|Behind the Scenes|
Ursikkas are large, carnivorous animals native to Triaxus. While they are top predators during the planet's long winters, they hibernate throughout its summers.
An ursikka vaguely resembles a gigantic praying mantis. It walks on four insectoid legs that emerge from its bloated abdomen, and its two other limbs are arms tipped with massive pincers. It has a black exoskeleton and is covered almost completely in thick white fur. Their most notable feature is a huge, three-jawed mouth that can open wide enough to swallow a human whole. Ursikkas average 25 feet tall and 20 feet long.
Ursikkas are adapted to low temperatures. Their bodily fluids and internal temperatures are very cold, allowing it to survive in Triaxian winters. Their saliva is as cold as the rest of their biology, enough to aid it in killing prey, and is extremely sticky due to the chemicals that keep it liquid in such cold. An ursikka can spit saliva at prey up to 60 feet away, or it can slather it onto its claws.
Ursikkas are carnivores, and must eat several tons of meat each week to survive. They prefer eating large, cold-blooded animals, but will eat anything they can catch.
Life cycle Edit
Ursikkas live extremely long lives. They generally live through two Triaxian winters, meaning they live for at least 600 standard years. Due to their longevity, ursikkas mate only rarely. Once or twice each winter, a female hunts down and mates with a male, then parts ways with him. She then lays a large egg that gestates for 5 years before hatching. Ursikkas do not tend to their eggs or practice any kind of parental care, and do not appear to recognize their offspring afterward. Ursikka hatchlings reach adulthood in about 10 years.
Behavior and Ecology Edit
As large and voracious predators of animal intelligence, ursikkas generally live alone. Only when food is very plentiful do they socialize in any way, sometimes living in pairs or, rarely, groups of up to 10 individuals, called "hives." Even then, they always hunt alone, and will fight and kill each other if one attempts to steal another's food. Ursikkas will also hunt and kill the young of their own species if given the chance, possibly out of territorial instincts.
Triaxus' decades-long summers are virtually unlivable for ursikkas. They deal with this period by hibernating, spinning enormous, highly durable cocoons for themselves. They hide these cocoons in isolated areas to lessen the chance of discovery. An ursikka is at its most aggressive just before it hibernates, and equally so if it is prematurely awoken.