|Official Name||Daendroque Possum|
|Common Nicknames||Fainting Rat, Daen Opo|
|Habitat||Jungles of Daendroc and northern Teled Methen|
The Daendroque Possum is one of the few marsupials in Aloria and is also the smallest. It has a recent history, being tied to Daendroque political and military ideas which has given it part of its name. The animal is nocturnal and is reported to constantly hang by their tails though this is only possible with young members of the species. The Daendroque Possum is also capable of a unique body function, “playing dead,” to avoid hostile interactions with large predators who would likely kill them otherwise.
The Daendroque Possum has a rather bland history; for much of its life, it was ignored in the jungles of Daendroc. Small, unassuming and mammalian, it rarely interacted with the outside world and the Allorn Empire ignored the animal, deeming it a pest. It was only later when groups took notice of the animal. When the Allorn Empire ultimately collapsed and their Ailor slaves rebelled, pushing through the jungles, they came across the small animal. Under them, the animal took on new cultural significance. The Daendroque came to see the Possum as symbolic of their own culture’s pension for subterfuge activities as their mechanic of “playing dead” and nocturnal time of activity was seen as part of this tricky nature. The animal even inspired a military and political philosophy undertaken by some Daendroque, to appear weaker than you actually are only to strike out with ferocity. The animal also became known as a decent meal for the desperate of society, though their teeth and claws has long allowed them to survive extinction at the hands of hungry Daendroque. The animal remains populous in Daen to this day, mainly existing across the jungles of Daendroc and some northern regions of Teled Methen.
The Daendroque Possum is an interesting mammal with a unique appearance due to being a marsupial. They range from two to two and a half feet long, stand at about a foot tall and weigh around a pound and a half. Their heads have long, narrow snouts which end in a pink pointed nose. Their mouths are filled with small sharp teeth and while the animal primarily eats plants and fruit, it will also eat insects, small reptiles, birds, and mammals. The rest of their faces are then dominated by two large and obvious black eyes which can see in the dark, along with two rounded ears. The rest of their bodies are slim in build, with four legs ending in small pink five-fingered hands tipped with sharp claws which help them to climb. Their body mechanics are well built for this as well, with strong legs to help them jump and maneuver themselves upward. Their bodies end in a generally hairless or thinly haired tail which is very strong. While some younger Possums can use this limb to hang themselves upside down from branches, fully mature Possums are too heavy. The majority of the animal is covered in a layer of thin dark brown to dark grey hair which helps give them camouflage in the dark evening underbrush. Their undersides, in comparison, are usually cream or white colored which is also where their telltale body pouch is found.
The Daendroque Possum has limited diversity. Males and females exist in equal numbers, in equal sizes while their pelt coloration are not tied to region or any yet known mechanic. The only difference between the genders exists in females having pouches for childbirth though these are rarely obvious.
Life Span and Development
Daendroque Possums have a unique development cycle, being marsupials. Conceived of and being born in their mother’s body pouch, baby Possums (called possumlings) suckle from their mother’s teats, located inside of the pouch. They can be born in groups as large as a dozen, but are usually smaller. After two to three months, the possumlings will leave the pouch and enter the wider world permanently, proceeding to learn from their mother how to hunt and sleep. It is also during this early period of child and teenagehood when Possums can hang upside down by their tails, which they seem to do as a sort of game or for fun. At the age of one, they will have fully matured both mentally and physically. Additionally, Possums leave their mother once they have reached this stage to set out on their own. They can live for ten to fifteen years.
The Daendroque Possum possesses one of the more interesting animal mentalities in Aloria due to their unique body mechanics. While not weak animals by any means, the animal has developed the ability to “play dead,” which is to say suddenly flop onto the ground, roll its lips back to show off its teeth, foam lightly at the mouth, and produce a rather unpleasant scent. This usually lasts no longer than two to four minutes and might explain why the Altalar ignored the animal for so long, confusing or ignoring the animal with a carcass. While in this state, the Possum is helpless and usually only engages in such an action when it senses the approach of a larger predator. In this state, they are usually ignored or picked up to be eaten later, sometimes resulting in a surprise when the animal starts to wriggle and claw in their captor’s mouth. Additionally, when in the mating season, confronted by predators of a similar size or faced by a predator not buying the “playing dead,” Possums can hiss quite loudly, usually much louder in the beginning before increasing their pitch sharply, performing what amounts to a squeal.
Aside from this mentality, Possums are generally harmless. They are omnivorous and nocturnal, avoiding contact with urban and even rural settlement regions unless driven to do so by hunger. They cannot be domesticated as they lack the mentality for it. Among their own kind, Daendroque Possums are very caring. While tensions between males certainly increases during the mating season, and a tussling pair can roll through the underbrush for several minutes, females show great caring toward their children, even once they have left her pouch. She will search for any possumlings which have escaped her pouch or care, and go so far as to forgo fainting and immediately attack anything threatening her young.
Territory and Groupings
Daendroque Possums are solitary creatures which exist in tiny local territories of several hundred square feet. They are not territorial in regards to defined borders between these territories, but their dens are off-limits to others of their kind unless it is the mating season. These dens and burrows are usually reused from other animals, as the Possum lacks sophisticated digging skills.
- Despite not actively hanging upside down on their tails, Possums are usually depicted in artwork to do so because of the compositional uniqueness it offers compared to most other animals.
- A pair of tussling Daendroque Possums is a classic symbol in Daendroque political culture to represent the Daendroque struggle against the restrictions and limitations of official bodies like the Regalian Empire.
- Possumlings are fawned over as being the epitome of cuteness due to their small size, high pitched squeaks, and ability to hang upside down. Unfortunately, anyone who gets close enough to handle or see this usually finds themselves attacked shortly afterward by an irate mother.