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Fang Deer - Fauna
Written By: Ellen Million (Writer), Meeks (Artwork)
A miniature deer found wild in the southeastern spur of the Empire.
 
 

Names: Fang Deer, Toy Deer, Pocket Deer, Rat Deer, Rabbit Deer and Pest Deer

Description: Averaging 12 inches at the shoulder, these tiny deer are adorable miniature cervidae. They have proportionately large ears and eyes, cloven feet and relatively short necks. Males have branched antlers, and both genders have fangs. These fangs are used for protection, and also for piercing the tough skins of fallen fruit. There are three distinct breeds of fang deer. The grassland breed is a solid mud brown. The broad-leaf breed is dappled, and the open forest breed is striped, all patterns of tan and brown. The open forest breed has the largest fangs.

They are quite clever, and can use both antlers and sharp hooves to alter their surroundings. They can be house-trained and taught to do a handful of 'party tricks,' including bowing on cue, prancing, and walking sideways. Though their training requires diligence and consistency, they can be loyal, clever pets. They are quite destructive, and left unattended may pierce stuffed furniture with their fangs, will rub finish off of anything wooden with their antlers, and their hooves can puncture soft wooden floors and destroy carpets. Domestic pets are usually fitted with soft rubber covers over their feet. They will eat a garden to its roots. They are relatively fearless, and will often harass larger pets, including cats and dogs. Their bites frequently become infected.

Life cycle: In their original range, the fang deer closely follow the larger herbivores, each population cycling in response to the large herbivores who are currently dominant. The young of each group are born pale and mottled. They gestate for approximately 3 months, and can breed at any time of year. They live for about ten years, though in the wild their life expectancy is far shorter due to predators.

Newly born young remain hidden and stationery while their mother grazes nearby, and learns to stand and run in their first few days. They often cluster in large groups, like caribou, but may also be found in smaller, fluid herds.

Human interaction: A carefully controlled domestic pet prior to the Upheaval, these deer only survived in shard #32 in sustainable numbers, and diverged into several distinct breeds to match the variety of cyclic environments available in that shard. Early in the 1200s (as measured by the Empire), the barrier with the Roluma shard of #29 fell and these small deer were one of the early drifters into new lands. Originally, they were met by the Roluma people with delight and captured to become pets, but their early welcome became cold quite quickly when they proved to be unexpectedly fast breeders, fierce-tempered, and incredibly destructive to local flora. The captive populations escaped and bred like wildfire.

Range: Fang deer are a pest species throughout the southeastern spur of the continent. A small domestic population remains in some cities, mostly in the north and central areas of the Empire, carefully controlled and bred for interesting coat patterns and temperament. Because they are expensive to license (due to their destructive nature and virulent breeding), they are a status symbol in some Empire cities and have a reputation as a 'fad' pet. Rural people who combat the wild fang deer tend to scoff at city dwellers for finding them cute and entertaining and are boggled that they would be considered a status symbol.

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