|Official Name||Rainbow Snake|
|Common Nicknames||Shimmer Snake|
The Rainbow Snake is one of the more curious animals in Aloria, exclusively inhabiting the jungles of Sendras. These oily serpents linger in the jungle floors, tending to hide in the dark, but shine with a multitude of colors when the sun is cast upon them. Even though the Rainbow Snake has few predators, they are still uncommon sight to be seen. Currently, the creature is prey to those with eyes for exotic beasts, poachers seeking rare skins, and craftsmen craving expensive additions for their works.
It is unclear how long the Rainbow Snake has been in Sendras, since many records have either been lost, poorly kept, or destroyed during the Sendrassian Civil War. The earliest record found was in 62 BC, but is highly debated since there are few pages, and only consist of descriptions of a snake of various colors. Most scholars cast it aside, simply out of doubt. The earliest undoubtable record is dated in 8 AC. From that point on, more and more updated records of the reptile can be found up until just after 90 AC, at the end of the war.
Due to the creature’s irregularity, it is not uncommon for their shedded skins to be the highlight of scientific lectures, and for a live Rainbow Snake to be a spectacle of pure awe. For this reason, poachers and pirates will sometimes take a daring adventure to the coast of Sendras and risk attack from the native Mu-Allar, gambling disease and death to capture the elusive snake.
Culturally, Rainbow Snake oil has been used as a stain (though many fakes are often sold instead), and as an ingredient in making some instruments, types of makeup, and dyes. In instrument-making, artisans who use the oil of a Rainbow Snake are generally some of the finest craftsmen around, since others simply could not afford such a luxury. Many claim the stain of a Rainbow Snake can give an instrument a unique sound that no other ingredient could produce, “sound so finely woven that it could be silk”, but these claims are completely unfounded.
The most obvious way to identify a Rainbow Snake is, undoubtedly, the rainbow colors emitted from the reptile when exposed to light. As many would describe it, the glimmer is similar to black oil floating atop water, and this is not far from the truth. Their shimmery, oily appearance is in fact oil that the snake naturally produces and coats its chitinous scales with. It is most commonly believed that this is to protect the snake from the constant humidity of the Sendrassian jungle, while serving as a natural repellant for predators. As, according to many scholars’ reports, the oil is foul-tasting. If washed and the oil cleared, the scales are a rather pale color. The oil is naturally a dark shade, which covers and camouflages the snake when in the shadows.
The serpent itself is around two and a half feet in length. They do have teeth, but lack venom glands. Instead, they rely on infection to kill their prey if their initial bites do not kill. The head of the snake has a small, slender snout before expanding into a bulbous head, only slimming a small bit once more to form the length of the body.
Rainbow Snake diversity is a heavily debated topic, due to their uncommon appearance and rare capture. From record, the ratio seems to lean towards the snakes more commonly being males. There is no firm data besides the statistics of captured Rainbow Snakes, which may be an anomalous finding. Males and females are hard to distinguish visibly, due to the oil that coats them. The easiest and most common way to identify a Rainbow Snake’s gender is to directly examine the cloaca.
Life Span and Development
Rainbow Snakes develop as most snakes do, minus their oil production. They begin as soft, leathery eggs, which are normally buried or oiled to camouflage the vulnerable youth until they hatch. The oil is rarely used to cover the eggs because if it dries, it can harden and prevent the young snake from breaking free. They normally hatch as small, oil-free serpents a few weeks after birth. A Rainbow Snake will begin to produce oil a few days after hatching to protect from the constant wet of the jungle, and to hide from/deter prey. Rainbow Snakes that are unable to produce their oils are quickly devoured by predators since they are easy to spot, and lack the taste of the oil to dissuade any would-be hunters.
The average lifespan of a Rainbow Snake is 9 years, but this is significantly reduced within captivity to 5 years. Constant exposure to sunlight or dry climates can also lower their lifespan.
The Rainbow Snake is an untameable hunter, and a bold one. Few creatures will willingly bite into a Rainbow Snake due to its distasteful oil. These serpents prefer to strike at their prey several times, and will often take on beasts larger than themselves. If their prey is unable to be killed by the initial bites, the snake will stalk it and wait for it to succumb to blood loss or even infection. Once dead or weakened, the Rainbow Snake will unhinge its jaw and consume their prey whole. If frightened, the snake will make use of the natural oil it produces to try and wriggle free of any grasping predators.
Territory and Groupings
When first hatched and during mating seasons, Rainbow Snakes will cluster together in large gatherings. This conclusion was made by scholars discovering the oil of Rainbow Snakes in massive coats, sometimes even small puddles across the ground. They mate in large groups, with males combatting each other by entangling and biting at necks. Death rarely occurs during these duels.
Outside of their brief mating periods, Rainbow Snakes prefer to wander alone and are highly territorial. Two Rainbow Snakes will normally combat each other if they meet, females included. They normally prey upon an area for a few days, weeks if the location bore fruit, before finding a new spot and repeating the process.
- A Rainbow Snake was once brought before a court of lower nobility at a party to show off the proud lord’s elegance. The snake escaped, however, causing widespread panic amongst the guests in fear that it was poisonous. The snake’s carcass was found a few days later, vomited up by the lord’s hunting dog.
- Several hunts conducted by pirates and poachers have been foiled by the Rainbow Snake’s oil, slipping from their captor’s grasp and leaving them flailing and struggling to keep hold before losing their prize in the dense jungle vegetation.