|Official Name||Sea Swoof|
|Common Nicknames||Water Ribbon, Flagfish.|
|Habitat||Shallow reefs and sand bars|
Swift and majestic, a wild Sea Swoof is truly a sight to behold. A strange mix of a snake and a skate with iguana-like scaly skin, this creature has mystified casual beach-goers and swimmers for generations. Usually found in the oceans of Aloria, this strange-looking aquatic snake has been regarded as bad luck by sailors for as long as they’ve been discovered.
The first discovery of a Sea Swoof was long ago, when a sailing merchant attempted to salvage what he thought was banner that a crewmember had dropped overboard. Unfortunately, this merchant was unaware that these creatures were living in the shallow waters below, and not only beached his ship on a sandbar, but also received a scaly surprise instead of the banner he expected. After multiple similar encounters with the creatures, news eventually spread avoid these serpentine creatures. This lead to the common superstition that these snakes bring bad luck, and a rise in curiosity surrounding these mysterious reptiles.
The more scientifically-minded members of the community eventually connected reports of the “flagfish” to curious sea snakes that had been discovered little ways offshore in Regalia. Sea Swoofs had previously just been assumed to be a variation on a common sea snake, explaining why this misclassification had existed. Once more research had been conducted, the Swoof (as it was called by the swimmers who saw them most frequently), were discovered to be the same breed that now had the sailing community constantly scanning the waterways. Despite many attempts to change its name to something more regal, the name “swoof” stuck, so the researchers in charge of the project settled on merely amending the name to “Sea Swoof.”
At a first glance, the Sea Swoof has a rather perplexing appearance. Its skin is leathery and spotted, similar to that of an iguana, though the shape of its body differs from most other sea creatures. Sea Swoofs have long, almost flat bodies that undulate vertically to move through the water. Sea Swoofs have very vibrant scales with red and blue markings on their backs to warn off predators. Along these markings are small dots that show the locations of the poisonous glands within their skin. These poisonous glands aren’t used by the Swoofs to hunt, but are instead used to create a stream of venom behind to fend off predators whilst they escape. Sea Swoofs can grow up to 5 feet long and 3 feet wide, with an average of about 4.7 feet long and 2 and a half feet wide when full grown. Males keep to the longer end of the scale at 5-4.5 feet long while females sit between 4.5-4 feet.
The general appearance of the Sea Swoof remains similar throughout their species, as all of them having the same general shape and features. However, their color and markings do change based on where they live. For instance, in the Sea Swoofs that live off the coast of Daendroc have long, winding, vine-like markings on their backs to better blend into the jungle vegetation that Daendroc is so known for, while the Sea Swoofs that live off the coast of the Shadow Isles are more darkly colored for much the same reason. Both genders of Sea Swoofs are almost indistinguishable from each other, with the main visible differences being that males are slightly more brightly colored and are a few inches longer.
Life Span and Development
The lifespan of the Sea Swoof is unusually long for a sea snake, with some known to live up to twenty-five years. The Swoofs begin their long lives in small, bowl-shaped nests as a little egg with a few of their siblings. They quickly abandon their families after hatching, but stay in the general area they were born for the first few years of their life. Sea Swoofs grow to their full three-foot length in about three years, and its defensive poison comes to be its most potent within five years. Sea Swoofs mostly stop their development once they have reached the age of five, but over the rest of their life, their scales will grow to become harder and thicker until about ten years of age, making it even more difficult for predators to hunt them once they are aged.
The Sea Swoof is a docile creature, preferring to live its life in a peaceful, slow-paced manner. They are usually found weaving slowly in the water, munching on some sort of shellfish or the occasional sea urchin. In fact, the Sea Swoof almost exclusively eats shellfish, only feeding on smaller fish when other food sources are unavailable. Preferring to move at a slow, ponderous pace, one would never expect the amazing bursts of speed the Swoofs are capable of. Since they use their immense speed only in short bursts, Sea Swoofs can almost exclusively be seen going faster than four miles per hour when escaping predators or when trying to impress a mate. In the past, Sea Swoofs have been domesticated fairly easily, but given their awkward size, shape, and watery habitat, the Swoofs are simply not practical to keep for most people.
Territory and Groupings
Sea Swoofs are almost entirely solitary creatures, avoiding most contact with others of their species in order to maintain sovereignty over their feeding grounds. Other Swoofs, who are unable to effectively fight for territory will intrude without opposition when the Sea Swoofs has left. It’s currently unknown how they decide which one moves on to a new territory and which one stays. If the two Swoofs are of different genders, however, they will usually mate and then both evacuate the territory, leaving it for their offspring to inherit.
- Oddly enough, the Sea Swoofs poison, which is mostly harmless to the humanoids of Aloria, can only be excreted from its body when the Swoof is in motion. Sadly, this means that if the sea Swoof is caught unaware, it will be almost completely defenseless.
- There is a small, niche business of selling Sea Swoof skin shoes, which is a very simple job. The main difficulty is removing the poison glands before making the shoes.
- Legend speaks of a man who walks on the back of two Sea Swoofs, one per foot, over water. Practically, this ends up injuring both the Sea Swoofs, and whatever fool tries mimic this mythical Swoof-walker.