Haelstram Jungle Scuttler
|Haelstram Jungle Scuttler|
|Official Name||Haelstram Jungle Scuttler|
|Common Nicknames||Daendroquin Batsnatcher|
|Habitat||Dense jungle in L’Elvellen|
For as long as anyone can remember, the Haelstram Jungle Scuttler has crawled in the leaflitter of L’Elvellen’s jungles. This large, venomous insect is known to locals as a hazard, and though they do not threaten the lives of grown Ailor, they can seriously wound most races and outright kill young children that tread on them by mistake. Infamous for its potent bite and disturbing visage, the Haelstram Jungle Scuttler is among the most reviled arthropods in Daendroc.
Haelstram Jungle Scuttlers have been known to the inhabitants of what is now L’Elvellen for centuries. The initial discovery of these insects has been traced back to long before the Cataclysm, the first analyses written by scholars and naturalists native to the then newly founded Principality of Haelstram. Noted for its unusual size and potent venom, the creatures were observed in nature and in captivity, forming the basis for all study that has been conducted on them since then. They were largely left alone in the jungles of Haelstram though, only occasionally captured and harvested for their venom, especially by the more malicious Altalar Cults that grew in the wake of the Consolidation. The animal survived in the jungles through the Wildering and Cataclysm, remaining populous and gradually becoming more known to the world. It survived the Elven War of 302 AC and in fact experienced a brief population surge, which in turn would unfortunately lead to the excess numbers being culled. These insects have become notorious amongst the Ailor that have flocked to the region since then, reviled for their disturbing movements and slimy looking carapace.
Haelstram Scuttlers can grow up to twelve inches long and two inches wide, with most averaging around ten and a half inches long. They resemble the common centipede in many ways, with many pairs of jointed legs fringing their long, flattened, segmented bodies and curving antennae sprouting forwards from their head. They typically have dark brown-red coloration, with black bands placed at regular intervals along the abdomen, warning potential predators of their potent venom. The head is smooth, with small compound eyes and powerful jaws equipped with venom sacs.
There is little diversity within this species, even between males and females. Records indicate that there were previously other varieties of this insect with unique colorations and hunting habits, but these are now assumed to be extinct.
Life Span and Development
All Haelstram Scuttlers begin as an egg, laid in batches of up to twenty in small underground or otherwise secluded burrows that are excavated or found by the mother. The eggs take a few weeks to hatch and will be cared for by the mother until they are capable of hunting for themselves. Haelstram Jungle Scuttlers do not pupate, nor do they have a larval form, but they do constantly shed their skin as they grow. They can live to be 10 years old and could reproduce any number of times within those years, though typically breeding and rearing the young takes about a year for the female parent.
Haelstram Jungle Scuttlers cannot be domesticated, but are not hostile to sentient races unless threatened. They have been known to hunt anything that they can reasonably overpower and kill, so small mammals, reptiles and other invertebrates are all at risk.
Territory and Groupings
These insects are solitary hunters, but are not territorial. Many scuttlers can inhabit one cave or rotting tree trunk, but they do not swarm or co-operate in any way.
- The venom of this creature can be used in very small doses to relieve pain, but it is so difficult to obtain that it is rarely used.