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An amphibious lizard species known for its peculiar nest building behaviour.
- Common Names
- Lodge Lizards, Örykdym (Kythus), Weltfespoar (Waejir)
- 80-100 centimetres (31 - 40 inches), 11 - 32 kilograms (24.25 - 70.5 pounds)
- Wide head with a gaping mouth. longer ovoid body, with a flat paddle shaped tail accounting for about 25% of their body length. Their hindmost limbs are twice the length of their four forward limbs, and have prominent webbing between the toes.
- Sexual dimorphism
- Males possess a large 3-5 centimetre (1.5-2 inch) spur on the wrist of both forward pairs of limbs, used for sparing and fighting potential predators.
- There are regional differences between sub-species of lodge lizards, which can vary in colouration, size, or subtle social behaviours.
- Tropical through temperate freshwater lakes, and wetlands.
- Lodge lizards are omnivorous, eating a variety of fruits, seeds, young leaves, small fish, lizards, amphibians, birds, and their eggs.
- Lodge lizards form communal nest-rafts of reeds, branches, and other floating detritus. They weave simple buttressed domes of the same material to form primitive drifting homes. These homes sail about on the currents and winds of many freshwater lakes and some marshlands. Over time, airborne seeds and such get trapped in the structure, take root and form a natural living sod roof, with mosses, grasses, flowers and other plants, including small trees.
- Eventually the weight of the roof and hosted plant life will sink the lodge or cause it to run aground on sand bars or shallow reefs. The lizards then abandon the lodge to build anew. The former lodge has sufficient soil and structure to be a small ready made island. The hollow space of the lodge provides nest space for birds, or burrows for other small animals.
- Social grouping
- Lodge lizards form large colonies, a typical lodge containing up to a dozen creatures. The number of lodges on a particular body of water depends on local food sources, and available materials for building their floating homes.
- Wary, will flee underwater from threats, signalling others with tail slaps on the ground or water surface.
- Clever animals.
- eggs are brooded one per year by females, in clutches of up to dozen eggs. Only a few of the tiny offspring survive to adult hood, falling prey to birds, large fish, and other predators. Limited nurturing behaviour observed between adults and young.
No significant or notable sub-species.
- Not typically domesticated, but some sustainable hunting of the species does occur.
- Meat, Fatty oils (tail)