|Official Name||Tylossare Snapper|
|Common Nicknames||Snapping Turtle, Lil’ Snapper|
|Habitat||Swamps and freshwater rivers|
The Tylossare Snapper is a species of turtle native to Essalonia, where it existed undisturbed for centuries. Named for its perceived harsh bite, the animal has been hunted and eaten by many over the years as a result. Though its population has survived the once intense focus from waves of new arrivals to Essalonia, their numbers in the wild have dwindled near settled areas.
Tylossare Snappers have likely lived on Essalonia for centuries, being relatively undisturbed in all that time even when a range of nations formed on the region’s western coastline. The Proto-Velheim and later Velheim of Veløya considered them to be creatures of great wisdom, but also a great source of meat, though generally hunted them sparingly given how early waterways were filled with more dangerous creatures to focus aggression on. Following the Cataclysm, the Silbrae Republic's formation in the Silmae River Delta saw the regional settlements get by on hunting both fish, and the Snapper, whose meat was a positive addition to the local diet. Gradually though, the animal transformed from occasional meal in the minds of the local nations to occasional menace. The creature’s propensity to nip or bite fingers and toes in addition to destroying the nets used by sentient Races caused them to be hunted out of spite. However, in the modern-day, it is now believed that the animal lacks such capabilities and the harassment by local Essalonians should have been focused on other, far more culpable creatures. Regardless, the damage to their population was done and while they are unlikely to go extinct considering the vastness of Essalonia, their numbers in the western half of the continent held by Regalian-facing, and Velheim-dominated nations have dropped off.
Tylossare Snappers are medium-sized turtles, reaching a foot and a half to a foot and a quarter in length while their weights vary between individual members depending on feeding activities and more. Their heads are small and possess a pair of prominent beak-like jaws for their mouth. Their nostrils are small but open above their beak, while their slitted eyes are set deep into the animal’s head, capable of being brown, amber, or dark green. As for their necks, it is notably long for a turtle but often hidden behind layers of wrinkles and fat that surround their heads. This neck can extend the head out either for quick surges forward or for more delicate, slow extensions. Their bodies are extremely wide thanks to their shell; a slightly ridged covering that protects their entire back as well as their underbelly, though at the back end and front of the shell there is flesh and the rest of the creature’s body. Their limbs are short but stocky with considerable strength behind them, as well as five small webbed toes tipped with white claws to help them swim and defend themselves. Their rears finish on a pointed and slightly ridged tail, ranging from a sturdy inch or two to up to five. Their bodies are covered in a leathery skin, which is heavily wrinkled in and around their joints connecting each limb and body protrusion to the shelled body. This skin is often of a dark blue, to the point of it appearing black mixed with a white or pale yellow tone to the underbelly flesh, though age, mud, and more tends to wash out or mask this color. As for their shells, those are a fine chestnut brown with black markings on each small bony section.
Tylossare Snappers vary wildly in size and shape depending on age but also feeding habits. Those members with plentiful food will grow fat, large, and heavy while others who lack such abundance will be light, smaller, and “skinny”. The species has no sexual dimorphism, and their population is distributed evenly gender-wise.
Life Span and Development
Tylossare Snappers are often conceived in the summer, after which their eggs are laid on land by their mothers, often in sandy terrain and sometimes a distance from watery terrain. These eggs are round, white, and speckled with grey and black, and can number anywhere from 20 to 80, sometimes requiring either a deeper than normal pit or two pits to be dug by the mother. If the eggs are going to emerge during or as winter begins, they are capable of surviving the cold, hatching as soon as temperatures warm. When they emerge, they are smaller versions of their parents and are largely black in tone without much color. Additionally, their shells are far more ridged and spiny, nature's way of protecting them against a litany of predators. Many head for the closest source of water despite the distance, and gradually mature and grow on their own. By the age of five they are fully matured, and by the age of ten are usually armored enough to survive what predators they might encounter. They can live for likely over 80 years, as the oldest known Snapper, Old Timmy the Tylo, has been marked as being 80 years old by scholars.
Tylossare Snappers appear to be fairly simple creatures, though their lack of observation by many may hide more complex thoughts on the animal’s behalf. They feed on both plant matter and meat, ranging their diet from watery creatures like frogs to even birds or other terrestrial animals. They generally do not seek out their own kind aside for the mating season, and even then it is often a slow, ponderous affair (hence why the season is so open). While most mating happens in the summer, it can happen as early as April and as late as October. However, they are known for their unique mental state: hibernation. In those northern areas of Essalonia where winter is harshest, but even in more central areas where the winters vary, the animals can enter a state of hibernation in the water, allowing their bodies to freeze as their nose sticks just above the surface, helping them to still breathe.
Territory and Groupings
Tylossare Snappers are generally solitary, and exist in a variety of watery terrains, though they also often live on land for periods of time. They have no set territory, and while many young Snappers may be close to each other due to how many hatch at a time, most will soon die or spread out to other pockets of the wild.
- The solitary nature and heavy amount of wrinkles has by Tylossare Snappers grants them all a look of advanced age, even in younger specimens, and so many assume them to be wiser than they actually are.