|Official Name||Highland Creaker|
|Common Nicknames||Cold Shrieker|
Most commonly known for startling hunters during the beginning of spring, the Highland Creaker is a common frog that is infamous for its unique mating call. The particularly lumpy creature is large compared to many of its relatives, measuring at roughly 12 inches in length on average. However, even it’s size does not give it away while it hibernates under the snow, having been discovered only by a chance encounter when one frog was unfortunately stepped on. To this day, it remains infamous among Gallovians and has been used as a cautionary tale to always watch one’s feet.
For years prior to their official discovery, the Highland Creaker had existed as tales of giant, man-eating frogs, that dwelled in the mountains of Gallovia. In 205 AC however, a travelling band of hunters accidentally stumbled upon some during the winter time, resulting in their official discovery. Over the years, sites to hunt them in the winter have become known, and hungry hunters may be slightly repulsed to eat such large amphibians, but their meat is good and ultimately, it is either life or death. The animal is also hunted during the springtime, not just as a food source, but also when they emit their loud mating calls which are known to last for hours, disrupting sleep and concentration.
The Creakers have skin coloring ranging from earthy tones to dark greens that are dependent on the environment they are found in, though distinctive lumps coating the frog’s entire body are consistent regardless of location. The average length of the frog ranges from ten to thirteen inches, with its width being similarly impressive, spanning from seven to ten inches. In comparison to other frogs, its mouth is aptly described as being comically large, shaped as a large, toothless smile when open. Its eyes share similarly exaggerated proportions, sitting atop the frog’s head, large and bulbous.
Within the population, female Creakers are much more elusive and less populous than their male counterpart, males being slightly larger and more boldly colored than the females. Other than minor physical differences, the females and males of the species are indistinguishable in behavior and retain mostly similar physical traits.
Life Span and Development
A Highland Creaker’s life expectancy doesn’t exceed more than 10 years on average, although they multiply quickly, which would have led to overpopulation if the amphibians weren’t so often victims to predation. During mating season in the spring, the Highland Creakers will move to higher ground and emit their unique call, which sounds uncannily like the creaking of an old, rusty hinge. They are first put into Aloria as small, jelly-like eggs, with numbers of up to a thousand per hatch in small ponds found among the mountain ranges and rocky cliff coasts of Gallovia, which then develop into tadpoles who will grow out of their tail and form legs within a couple months, though only around 5 survive of the thousand others. Interestingly, it is the father that will raise the young for about four months once the female lays the eggs in a pond. It is not uncommon for the father to eat a few tadpoles himself if no other food is to be found.
As a lower ranking member of the food chain, the Highland Creaker hunts using its long sticky ejectable tongue to snatch nearby prey and reel it into their mouth within the blink of an eye, usually targeting smaller animals such as insects, but has been known to prey on smaller mice. Although they can do little in terms of defending themselves from larger creatures, their loud shrieks when distressed, may be enough to startle a predator. Although it may be held in captivity as a pet, the amphibian has no trainable level of intelligence, and serves as little more than a noisy bother and pest-repellant.
Territory and Groupings
Highland Creakers are not typically sociable or territorial, spending little time interacting with any others of their species, save for the duration of the mating season and when the father raises its young. During heavy storms, the frogs are known to venture down from their typical habitat among the mountains, down to human settlements where they may become a nuisance, though some welcome the Creakers into their home, as it may keep a house pest-free.
- Travellers must be wary where they tread in the snow during the winter, as they may be greeted by the telltale shrieking of a Highland Creaker if stepped on and woken from hibernation.
- The adhesive properties of the Creaker’s saliva can be utilized, but due to the amount of time it takes to scrape a desirable amount off of the tongue, it is rarely done.