The Spytkalat (plural Spytkalats)(pronounced spit-kal-at) is a creature native to Piasek.
A healthy Spytkalat can be up to six metres long excluding the tail and weigh a tonne. The average is slightly below this, at five metres and around 900 kilograms. The tail can be up to eight metres long, accounting for over half the total length. Spytkalats can reach three metres tall, though females tend to be smaller than males.
The head of a Spytkalat is short and blunt. The jaws are overflowing with sharp teeth, so that they are clearly seen on the animal. The lower jaw protrudes further than the upper jaw. The eyes are under a bony ridge, and are fairly small, despite the fact sight is an extremely useful feature in the Spytkalat’s habitat.
To add to its overall strange appearance, the Spytkalat has a leathery, orange sack behind each eye. This is used for storing water when it becomes rare, and water can be stored for up to a month.
The body of a Spytkalat is covered in natural armour. This armour consists of bony plates, with numerous spikes and bumps sticking out. This makes extremely effective armour, however, the underside is unarmoured, and is just skin. This is one of the Spytkalat’s most vulnerable points.
The Spytkalat has six limbs. The first pair of limbs are the longest, and are tipped with massive, clawed hands. The hands extend a long way from the wrist, so far that the wrist appears to be a second elbow. The hand has two main clawed fingers, and a dew claw slightly higher up.
The second pair of arms are short and two-fingered. They are the only pair the Spytkalat does not stand on, and are tipped with claws like the first pair, though there is no dew claw.
The third pair of limbs act as the legs. They are shorter than the first arms but longer than the second, so that the body slopes gently downwards. The foot has developed a long way from the ankle, so they appear to have an extra knee as well. The feet on the rear legs have three clawed fingers, and no dew claw.
The Spytkalat’s tail is long and tapering, as well as unarmoured. It accounts for over half of the total body length, and can be used to grasp objects. However, it is not strong enough to be used for hanging from trees.
The muscles of a Spytkalat are well-developed. The arm, leg and tail muscles are particularly strong, though the second pair of arms are, in comparison, weak. The jaw muscles of a Spytkalat are also very strong, and their jaws can snap shut with great force.
As well as its skeleton, the Spytkalat also has a form of exoskeleton protecting the skull and back. Though this has not been confirmed, this would seem to mean that the skull of a Spytkalat is weaker than that of other creatures.
Spytkalats are carnivorous. Using their strong forelimbs and hindlimbs, they can travel fast over great distances, so most commonly run down their prey, then take a large bite out of the neck region to kill it. If this is not possible, they would try just to bite the prey animal, then wait for it to bleed to death.
Spytkalats are, to some extent, social. They will work in groups of two to five when hunting, and may gather in groups of up to ten on other occasions. This is a sign that they may gain some form of sapience later on in their evolution.
Spytkalats are extremely active creatures, and they only rest for about an hour or two in the day, and ten hours at night. They will often have wrestling or running contests with each other, another sign they may be gaining sapience.
In the mating season, males will fight over females, and the winner will get to mate. Death is rare in such combats. Three months after mating, the female will give birth to between one and four live Spytkalats, who will be raised for a couple of years. Around this time, they are taught to become more independent, and after three or four years, they leave the group they were born in to form their own. If they are lucky, they will find a small group willing to accept them.
Spytkalats live on Ziarna, the continent on Piasek covered in deserts, and have become adapted to life in the open – their stamina is one example of this. Surprisingly, their exoskeleton does not cause them to overheat.
Spytkalats were dominant predators on Ziarna for a long time, until the Staerk arrived, purely by accident. Unfortunately, the Staerks were much stronger than the Spytkalats. For the first few hundred years, while the Staerks adapted to Ziarna's climate, the Spytkalats may have had the advantage, but due to the size of the Staerks, Spytkalats tried to avoid them. When the Staerks adapted, the Spytkalat was driven to near-extinction.