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Vorazotl

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Vorazotl are the apex predators of the Azhatek continent of Tozhlocticzon, the Coatzl homeworld. Approaching them is forbidden.

Physiology

Up to 9m long and 120kg in mass, Vorazotl are large hexacrurians. They have no eyes, sensing the world through a infra-red perceptive headplate. These animals can see the warmth of a small mammal from two miles away if unobscured. They also have acute hearing and smell, with a tri-forked tongue and hearing pits down their body.

They have six legs adapted into wing supports, which when extended give them a wingspan of 12m, and when pulled into the body are hard to see. They undulate their arms in series, giving them more sustained flight, though they are too heavy to truly fly. Hooks at the ends of the arms also let them grab onto trees and walls.

Their mouths are long and lined with fangs, each of which contains a venom canal. A set of venom sacs under the Vorazotl's jaw produce a cocktail of neurotoxins (including trachynilysin), cytotoxins, phospholipases, anti-coagulants, digestive enzymes, and depressant drugs. Many of these only work on native lifeforms, but several are fatal and can affect travellers.

Their body is long, muscular and thin. They have elastic tissues around their spine that let them lash from side to side with great force, and bony scutes embedded in their scales which are tough enough to block pistol bullets.

They have a dark grey colour, though this darkens when exposed to light, due to the movement to the surface of pigmented cells.

Diet

Vorazotl are hypercarnivores, eating only meat. They eat any animal they can catch, including Gahuatl.

Reproduction

Though usually fiercely solitary, Vorazotl of opposite genders meeting during the breeding season (the sixth month of the Coatzl calendar) will mate. The male wraps around the female and they launch into the air.

By the time they come back down, the eggs are fertilised. The female will not accept any other matings until next season. After four Coatzl months, she gives live birth to one or two babies, which ride on her back until they are old enough to fend for themselves, eating from her kills until they can make their own.

They take seven years to grow to full size.

Intelligence

Vorazotl are highly intelligent, capable of learning quickly and creating new strategies. They have been known to learn the meaning of Coatzl shrieks, but never to mimic them (unsurprising given their lack of vocal cords). They are ambush predators.

Behaviour

Vorazotl are solitary predators. They glide to areas of prey concentration, then settle in a tree. If an animal passes, they strike out at it (the strike of a Vorazotl is extremely fast, usually taking around a tenth of a second) and inject it with their venom, as well as causing it injury by wounding.

The Vorazotl then falls onto the prey if it is large and rides it until it dies, or waits for small prey to fall unconscious before consuming them.

It tears out chunks of flesh with its thick front fangs, and chews them until they can pass into the oesophagus.

Vorazotl will attack any animal, but retreat from fire or loud noises. They have also learnt not to enter cities.

Distribution

Vorazotl can be found across the continent of Azhatek, though large areas surrounding cities and shorelines are free of Vorazotl completely.

Due to hunting by Coatzl, their numbers are much lower than they were a thousand years ago, with fewer than seventy thousand alive on the planet.

In Coatzl Culture

Held in esteem for their deadliness and ruthlessness, the Coatzl have created many artifacts depicting Vorazotl throughout their history.

The best-trained troops of the Great Army are the Vorazotl Warriors, who wear a Vorazotl hide over their armour. They have to catch and kill the creature themselves.

In Fiction

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