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Thorro

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Another imaginary future animal. This one is my favorite so far.

THORRO

Other colloquial name(s): Fishing Lateovul
Genus & species: Lateovulneratus lacustris
Meaning of: Concealed one who wounds, of the lakes. Common name is a phonetic rendition of “Thoreau”, for Henry David Thoreau.
Ancestral creature: Raccoon Procyon lotor
Size: 45-60 lbs
Activity cycle: diurnal
Habitat: large inland lakes and coastal marshes
Social structure: solitary

Thorros are the smallest species of “ripper raccoon“, and live in the lakes and wetland areas of the eastern coast. Their sleek, dense, water-repellent pelts are sandy-orange to fox red, dappled with large irregular patches of white which bounce sunlight to cool the animal off while hunting, and provide camouflage while it is resting ashore. The facial markings are less elaborate than the greater lateovul, with a dark stripe under the eye to cut down on reflections. On land thorros knuckle-walk to keep their foreclaws sharp. That, and their long arms, short legs and sloping backs give them a distinctly apelike gait. When they wade into streams, marshes and the shallow areas of lakes, however, they rise to a bipedal stance, using their long tails to aid in balance. From a distance, they give the rather startling impression of being a little person in a raccoon suit.

Thorros eat whatever they are able to catch - a quick list includes mollusks, crustaceans, insects, frogs and newts, aquatic reptiles, small mammals, and the eggs of waterfowl (they cheerfully tear apart the damns of beaver grebes to get at eggs and nestlings, which prevents the damns from causing too much damage) - and show several adaptations to catching fish, their main source of protein. Their clutching foreclaws are wickedly hooked and their palms are rough, the better to hold onto slippery prey. Their eyes are adapted to screen polarized light, and their brains automatically compensate for the distorting effect of water.

Some thorros also have an ingenious method for fishing in deep water. The animal will shove or drag a sizeable tree trunk into the water. Perched atop the floating trunk, the thorro waits for fish to pass underneath, and lashes out with its forepaws, similar to how mngwa hunt on land. The thorro makes no effort to steer or propel the ’boat’ once it is on the water, and when finished fishing simply swims back to shore. Likely this technique was discovered by a single female thorro and passed on to her kits, as not all thorros exhibit the behavior.

Thorros are normally solitary, only coming together briefly to mate in the winter. Three or four cubs are born in the early spring, and they generally stay with their mother for two years before striking out on their own. Where salmon-like fish swim upstream to mate in swarms, thorros will gather in great numbers, devouring fish and caviar as fast as they can shove them in their mouths.
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