Completed An Education In Jungle Life II

Taz and Randal take to the jungle in search of snakes.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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An Education In Jungle Life II

Postby Tazrae on November 3rd, 2020, 5:44 am

Timestamp: 46th of Fall, 520 A.V.




“Snakes in general...” Randal mused. Then he nodded, thinking he was following Tazrae’s thinking. “The problem is, the variety of snakes in the world precludes general knowledge being much use. I can share what I know, but I don’t know that it will get you very far.” He added, looking thoughtful.

“Snakes are found everywhere, Tazrae. I can’t think of one of the six regions of Mizahar where there are no snakes. They come in all different shapes and sizes. I would say there are thousands of different types. I’ve heard of snakes as small as a simple night crawling worm to as large as thirty feet which they can grow to here. The big ones are the reticulated pythons and anacondas. But I’ve seen stone skulls of much bigger snakes so I suspect they can be even larger.” He added looking thoughtful.

Tazrae nodded. “Do they all lay eggs?” She asked, making Randal look thoughtful for a few moments.

“No, it seems to me maybe half or more do? I think it depends on the climate of where they are. Eggs take heat to actually finish forming and grow, so if snakes in colder climates can’t lay eggs where they will stay warm, they give birth to live babies. Here in the jungle, warmth and humidity isn’t a problem so almost all of our snakes lay eggs. Only desert cobras have nests though. Most other snakes lay eggs and then leave them alone or just lay around them until they hatch. They aren’t like chicken eggs or bird eggs either. Snake eggs are leathery. They flex and if you move them around, they can die inside. I’ve seen that happen. People often come here to collect eggs to sell overseas, and honestly moving them mostly kills them. It’s far better to take young snakes than to take snake eggs.” He added, nodding to himself having seen that happen.

“What makes snakes unusual? I mean… they have no limbs, but what else?” Tazrae asked, looking curious as she sat poking at the dead corpses on the table.

“Well, snakes don’t have eyelids or ears. They can’t move their eyes as we do. I suspect they hear vibrations. But the oddest thing I know is that they see by smell. I heard this from a dhani who explained it all to me once. They don’t smell with their nostrils. They simply breathe with them. They have a forked tongue that tastes the air and that’s how they see and hunt mainly. They also don’t shed skin in patches as we do, but instead shed their entire snakeskin once a year starting from the tail and peeling it off over their heads. When they are shedding, they can’t see or taste the air very well, so they tend to be cranky and more prone to bite. Be aware of that. They do so in the late spring so it’s a dangerous time to be around most snakes, Tazrae.” He cautioned, thinking of anything he could add to his lesson.


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Tazrae
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An Education In Jungle Life II

Postby Tazrae on November 3rd, 2020, 5:54 am

“I know there are constrictors, vipers, rattlesnakes, and harmless miscellaneous types. Is there any other kind?” Tazrae asked, looking thoughtful.

Randal gave it some thought then nodded. “Constrictors are big... some of the biggest strongest snakes. They aren’t poisonous and are great swimmers and climbers. They tend to heavily populate the jungle. Rattlers are found all over, from the desert to places like Sylira to even over here. Their tails always end in rattles and they are venomous, though not as bad as vipers. Vipers include cobras and adders. Cobras tend to be more desert breeds and adders tend to be more mild climates. But Vipers are profuse here. They are particularly toxic with their venom." He added.

Then Randal continued. "Then there are sea snakes and kraits. These swimmers are found both in salt and freshwater. They have very potent venom and can regulate how much venom they give. Oddly enough their venom is not like a viper, which is necrotic… it kills tissue. Instead, they have a paralytic toxin that can numb you up so they are used in medicines at low dosages. In high dosages, they can stop breathing and heartbeats. I’d steer clear of these extremely toxic creatures.” He added then nodded approvingly as he noted Tazrae frantically taking notes.

“So… one of these is green… the same color as the one that bit me. This one is yellow. How does color play into snake and snake identification… poisonous or not that sort of thing.” She added, wondering if he’d talk about that a little.

“Well, the shape is the number one tell. But another important tell is color or patterning. The more camouflaged a snake is the less likely it is to be poisonous. There are exceptions to this and something called mimicry but otherwise, it generally holds true. In insects, snakes, any sort of dangerous thing even the little frogs in the trees out in the jungle, a bright color often means danger. Most poisonous snakes in the jungle are brightly colored. They are venomous, but they don’t want to bite." The Founder lectured.

"Poison is a last resort. Oddly only very few vipers and almost all the sea snakes use poison as a means to capture food. Most of them just capture food and swallow it alive. Most muted snakes are camouflaging themselves and aren’t toxic. There are exceptions. Rattlers and bushmasters which are extremely poisonous do have muted colors. Some rattlers have patterning on them that is geometric, and that indicates poison… whereas the brightly patterned constrictors aren’t.” He said taking a breath.

Tazrae used the moment to catch up on her notes and ask him a question. What is mimicry?” She stated plainly, thinking she understood but wanting to hear it from Randal. It had to be something that mimicked something else, right?

Randal looked thoughtful. He mused a moment and then answered her with a few examples. “Mimicry in nature is when one thing somehow develops to look like something else in order to fool predators or prey or to exist more easily in the world.” He said, looking thoughtful.

Word Count: 520
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Tazrae
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An Education In Jungle Life II

Postby Tazrae on November 3rd, 2020, 5:59 am

“There’s all kinds of it. Butterfly fish can exist without back fins, so they have developed a large dark spot on their back fins to confuse predators that its their eye… and thus their whole head so they bite off their tails and not their heads allowing the fish to survive.” He said with a smile.

“That’s almost self-mimicry. Other examples… lets see. There’s hovering flies here that are yellow and black stripped which look like stinging hornets, but they are just flies playing pretend.” He said, then looked thoughtful. “Sometimes animals look like plants to avoid getting eaten. Walking Stick bugs are like that. Praying Mantis look like green stems often enough. But in the world of snakes, there’s one great example. Coral snakes are banded with red, yellow, and black. Their bands are set up so that when the yellow and red bands intersect that’s a coral snake. But king snakes are also red and yellow and black banded. Their yellow color only touches their black bands, never the yellow… so there’s a saying... ”Red touching yellow… can kill a fellow. Red touching black… friend of Jack.”' He quoted and smiled.

Tazrae laughed. “I’ve seen this a lot. This mimicry. I’ve never understood it had a name. Cuckoos look like hawks. They circle birds’ nests and the birds flee thinking it’s a hawk going to eat them… but when they flee the nest, the cuckoo lays an egg in the nest and the songbirds return and raise the baby cuckoo without knowing.” She told him. It was something Randal hadn’t heard about so he smiled in delight.

“I’ll have to add that one to my list of things that mimic other things.” He said, then nodded to her.

“Coral snakes are deadly. Watch out for them. The first thing you’ll see on them are the color. You can’t miss them. Black and white sea snakes are the same way… be wary.” He said as Tazrae made more notes and polished up one sketch. She blew on the paper to dry the ink and studied Randal carefully.

“I can’t imagine the life you’ve lived to know so much… to have seen so much and know about things not only here but in Sylira and Eyktol. I feel so… naïve. I haven’t experienced anything in life really… not like that." Tazrae admitted softly... then continued.

"I want to. I want to get to know this place so well that someday I can sit where you sit and have this conversation with someone new and equally unformed. Everyone here is so… I don’t know if there are words to describe it. You all are like well-worn boots. I’m the stiff pair with the new boot smell that is so inflexible and unworn that I don’t give much and certainly aren’t comfortable to wear. From you to the other founders, to people like Marino. I can’t imagine how incredibly … lacking… I am in comparison. It makes me want to work hard to catch up, though I know it will take years.” She said softly, looking thoughtfully at him.

Word Count: 519
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Tazrae
A warm welcome in paradise awaits you.
 
Posts: 426
Words: 500443
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
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An Education In Jungle Life II

Postby Tazrae on November 3rd, 2020, 6:03 am

“Don’t rush it, Tazrae. All of this awareness will come with time. You need to give yourself some time, that’s all.” He said, not denying she was naïve. Not denying that she had no seasoning, no stories to tell, no true history. Locked in stone walls all her life, conditioned to be a breeder for the Akalak, Tazrae was nothing and no one and she knew it. These lessons though, they helped, and she was willing to go the extra mile if necessary, to prove that she was more than someone raised in a stone cliff city for a purpose she had no intention of fulfilling.

“So, is there a way to tell gender in snakes?” She asked, curious, not sure it was an answer Randal would know.

“I’m sure there are multiple ways… but I only know of two. The first one is an easy visual … and hard to do on a living snake. It usually takes two people.. one holding the snakes head and one manipulating its tail. But since our models are dead… by all means let's use them.

“Snakes have a dual sexual area… they don’t do things once, like men and women, but instead have two identical openings. They are called cloaca. Birds’ vents are called the same thing. To find them, all you need to do is hold the snake still and gently gripping its body and its tail, bend its tail backward up over its back to expose its belly scales. The cloaca will show itself. Note where it is. Now.. on females, at the scale that covers the opening to the cloaca, the tail will immediately begin to narrow and be far shorter in a female than in a male. In males, give it an inch or two after the openings before the tail grows shorter and thinner. This is easy to see… give it a try.” He said, indicating the snakes laying on the table.

Tazrae immediately bent over them, grasping first the one yellow poisonous snake then the green one, bending and examining the tail. “The greens a male. I think the yellow is a female.” She guessed based on what Randal had said.

The Founder nodded then bent over her, showing her the second way he knew to sex them. “Have someone hold it if its alive… then grab it behind the cloaca once you’ve found it… well behind it… and gently squeeze… pressy down and upwards from the tip of the tail back towards the cloaca.” He did this on the green snake and Taz gasped as two pale nubs of flesh popped up and out from behind the protective scale. “It has two penises!” She said with round eyes, staring at the green snake. She immediately picked up the back half of the yellow snake and did what Randal had done to the green. No flesh protruded. Instead, two pockets of pink flesh opened up on the female. “And she has two… uh… places to receive them.” She said, turning bright pink immediately.

Randal tipped his head back and laughed. “It’s okay Taz. I think you have this lesson learned now. Let's just move on. Care for a walk in the jungle now?” He asked, knowing he felt better about her knowledge of snakes and they could do some exploring, maybe looking for some others.

Taz covered her head with her hand for a moment, released the dead snake, and nodded. “Bree? Hungry?” She asked as the lizard rose up on her hind legs, reached over the railing, and selected first the fat green snake and came back for the corpse of the yellow one once the first snack had been devoured.

“I’m going to grab my survival pack, change, and fill my waterskin. I’ll be right back then we can go.” She said, gratitude on her face not only for the lesson but for the quick change of subject.

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Tazrae
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Posts: 426
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An Education In Jungle Life II

Postby Tazrae on November 3rd, 2020, 4:03 pm

Tazrae changed into her wilderness boots, long pants, and a long sleeved light shirt, all made of Iasus and took up her backpack she used when going into the jungle with Uta. She smiled at Randal when she rejoined him on the deck and glanced at Bree’s tack laying over one rail.

“You taking her?” He asked, curiously. The Founder glanced between the Ixam and the Innkeeper, still finding the pairing a bit strange.

“She loves the jungle. Of course she ….” Tazrae started to say.

“Of course I’m coming….” Bree replied, cutting Tazrae off. “But that’s not what he means. He wants to know if you are going to put a saddle on me and ride me.” Bree said dryly, nudging the tack and glancing at Tazrae.

Taz looked uncomfortable suddenly. She turned and looked at the tack Randal was staring at and Bree was nudging and shook her head. “I thought she could just come along… it’s no bother right?” She asked Randal, her voice trembling slightly. “Bree is my friend… not a beast of burden…” She said firmly. “I wouldn’t feel right about….” She started to say when Randal and Bree both burst out laughing. Randal’s laugh seemed normal enough, but Brees was a throaty snorty laughter that caused Tazrae to stop talking and turn away from the tack to look back and forth between the two.

“What… whats so funny?” She asked them both, almost accusingly, as the Founder and Ixam seemed united in their thoughts.

“Tazrae… “ Bree started out, her voice taking on that young patient tone that a teen might get when explaining something patiently out of the understanding of an elder parent. She took a breath to say more, advancing onto the deck with her sharp claws clicking as they dug into the wood.

Randal interrupted. “Taz… Bree is an Ixam. They live for their riders. Walking along with you is almost an insult to her, though she knows you know nothing about her or her kind. I don’t know much about her or her kind for that matter, but lets see if we can figure out her saddle together.” He said, walking over, picking up the tack and gesturing at the Ixam who promptly was beside him instructing them both on how the saddle and its strapping fit. Tazrae left off the bridle and when Bree was completely saddled with her bag strapped behind the cantal of the saddle, she swung aboard. Randal grinned, adjusted her stirrups to the proper length, and set off at a long-legged stride towards the cobbled pathway and ultimately The Maw.

Bree and Taz followed, easily fitting on the path beside him, then coming up behind as he dove into deeper jungle. Bree moved easily through the brush ducking under things and over vegetation, sometimes hopping, sometimes climbing. She even bellied under a few things crouching low enough to keep Taz safe.

Her undulating gait was amazing and Taz found herself feeling safe on the lizard’s back. Bree wasn’t above calling ‘duck’ a time or two and she often stopped and sniffed, licking her air with her bright purple tongue more than once. Randal paid attention when she did so, questioning her often, but Bree pretty much declared no danger each time. As they moved deeper into the jungle, Randal called directions to Taz, helping her ride better even though he himself was on foot.

“You’re stiff in her saddle. Move with her Taz. Loosen your hips, flex, bend… see how she undulates, do the same thing…. it will be easier on her shoulders if you sit closer to her withers and be less rigid. Let go of your fear. Bree obviously cares for you, and she’s not going to let anything happen to you.” He said softly, smiling at the Ixam as the beast bobbed her green and blue head, offering Randal a scaled saddle.

Randal moved with a machete. He swung it to clear brush as he walked, clearing the path for both of them. But he eventually glanced at her, smiled, and stopped. “Unstrap that machete from your pack and take it out. Let’s get you using one as well. From Bree’s back, you can clear a lot of space for you two for her and make some trails more open out here.” He added, shaking his head both at Tazrae’s inexperience and Bree’s enthusiasm.

Continued in: An Education In Jungle Life III

Word Count: 739
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Tazrae
A warm welcome in paradise awaits you.
 
Posts: 426
Words: 500443
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Mizahar Grader (1) Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)

An Education In Jungle Life II

Postby Tazrae on May 4th, 2021, 3:38 am

Tazrae -

Animal Husbandry +5 (Snake), Interrogation +3, Wilderness Survival +5, Riding (Ixam) +1, Observation +5

Snakes: Range From Earthworm Sized To Thirty Feet, Snakes: Live Birth And Egg Layers, Snakes: Leathery Eggs, Snakes: No Eyelids/No Ears, Snakes: See By Smell, Snakes: See With Their Tongues, WS: Snakes More Dangerous In Late Spring Because Of Shedding, Snakes: Shed Skin Whole, Snakes: The Types Of Snakes, Snakes: Constrictor Traits/Habits, Snakes: Viper Traits/Habits, Snakes Rattlesnake Traits/Habits, Snake: Where Various Subspecies Are Found, Snakes: Sea Snake & Krait Traits/Habits, Medicine: Vipers have Necrotic Venom, Medicine: Sea Snake/Krait Venom is a Paralytic Toxin, WS: The More Camouflaged a Snake Is The Less Likely It Is To Be Poisonous, WS: Brightly Colored Snakes Warn Of Venom, Snakes: Rattlers/Bushmasters Exception To Muted=Nonvenomous Rule, Snakes: Geometric Patterning Indicates Poison, WS: The Basics Of Mimicry, Snakes: “Red touching yellow… can kill a fellow. Red touching black… friend of Jack.” Coral Verses King Snakes, Tazrae: Wants To Know Falyndar Intimately, Snakes: How To Tell Gender, Snake: Basic Anatomy (External & Internal), Ixam: Live For Their Riders, Ixam: Find Meaning In Carrying A Rider
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User avatar
Tazrae
A warm welcome in paradise awaits you.
 
Posts: 426
Words: 500443
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Mizahar Grader (1) Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)


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