This is an original species created by Zed Shirogane, inspired by the works of James Cameron.
This page is currently a Work In Progress: updated infographics coming soon
Plus some additional information, anthro version coming soon.
Venecertanums (Venn-Ah-Sir-Tah-Num-S), are a large reptile found on floating islands. The islands are covered in dense lush rainforest, with tall trees not unsimilar to redwoods: although much taller and with lusher canopies. These trees can be hundreds of feet tall, and covered in other plants and vines. Venecertanums are perfectly adapted to this region: balancing precariously high in the sky and amongst the tall forests. Their name originates from the words poison and lizard.
Venecertanums have six limbs. Four arms and two hind legs. Their arms have 3 fingers, and their hind legs have 4 toes. They have pads on their hands and toes, which are textured like a gecko’s, allowing them to run up and down trees head first and along vines. At the end of each finger and toe, there are small sharp claws that are used to help grip into tree bark as well as to be used defensively or aggressively. These claws are not retractable and always match the color of the venecertanum’s teeth and spine bones.
Venecertanums have a single row of small sharp teeth. This is meant to eat small creatures including reptiles, birds, fish, and mammals. Whatever they can get their claws on. Their tongues are long and tapered at the end, although not sticky: they are used to help aim poisonous spit as well as sometimes lap nectar from specific large flowers. While mostly carnivorous, venecertanums sometimes supplement their diet with nectar and fruit: specifically a species of flower that produces a nectar that is poisonous to consume. Venecertanums are able to process the different flower nectars, creating a concentrated concoction of neurotoxin based venom.
Their venomous sacks are found within their cheeks as well as along their spines. The venom sacks themselves are actually clear, it’s the color of the poison contained within the sacks that give them their color. The more concentrated the venom is, the deeper the color of the fluid, and the more venom the creature has the brighter the color of the pouches. The venom glows slightly in the dark, with males’ pouches glowing brighter than females’. The venom sacs are often used as a warning signal to other venecertanums, as well as a mating display.
Venecertanums have a large variety of spines along their bodies. Their spines grow in a specific area and direction. Most spines grow in rows of 2-3, usually in the direction of head to tail. The older the venecertanum, the more spines it grows. When applied pressure to, their spines reveal sharp hollow bones. These bones are steeped in venom, from the venom sacs near the spines. This lets the spines become a very effective defensive mechanism, often used against other larger venecertanums which are territorial.
A venecertanum’s tail is very strong and nimble. It can be used to hold onto objects such as branches and vines. This is extremely helpful to young adult venecertanums, as they travel between floating islands along the connecting vines and roots. They also sometimes use their tails to hold young, or bring fruit back to their nests.
Venecertanums have two eyes on either side of its head, making four eyes in total. Two of the eyes are larger and more centered in the face, which are used primarily in hunting. The other two eyes are further back and are used to keep an eye on peripherals: keeping the venecertanum alert to any potential ambush. Smaller venecertanums often are eaten by other creatures that live in the floating islands. Larger venecertanums need to keep a lookout to help defend their territory from other males: ambush tactics are often used by younger males to try to get an upperhand to steal a territory.
A venecertanums ears can swivel independently. This allows them to find prey hiding within trunks and lush tropical forests. Much like how an arctic fox hears the movement of mice beneath the snow. Their ears help young keep out of trouble, while allowing older and larger venecertanums keep alert for threats.
There is no huge difference between males and females, it can take a trained eye to spot the difference immediately. Females tend to be slightly larger and duller in color. Outside of physical traits, the main way to determine venecertanum gender is through social status and behavior. Much like hyena dynamics, females tend to rule the territory. While males who they have chosen protect them. Females are social creatures, they claim areas and combine them into large territories for their clan. Males accepted in the clan stick to their female’s territory, while females move freely. Solitary venecertanums also claim much smaller patches of the territory, but must show their dominance if another wishes to take over. It is mainly female choice that determines whether a male can be accepted into the clan territory: but oftentimes this must be proven to the female that the male is worthy. This can be done through elaborate displays, coloration and saturation of venom, and through fights between males. It is not often that a male in an established clan territory is challenged, but can happen between two closely matched males.
Venecertanums are easily able to determine another individual’s gender, age, and health from pheromones and smell: each venecertanum has a unique smell, however females general smell similar to one another with more earthy camoflauging smells while males try to be known and seen with more powerful unique scents. These scents cannot be picked up by human senses but are unique to venecertanums due to their olfactrory organs. They have specific receptors in their nose and tongue that regesters the chemicals released by other venecertanums.
They are surprisingly nurturing as parents. Reptiles would normally immediately leave their offspring, but venecertanums raise their children for about 10 years, until they grow spines and develop poison pouches, before separating. Females defend their nests very aggressively if provoked, a nest often can hold between 2-4 eggs at a time: each egg is roughly the size of a chicken’s egg but more oblong in shape and darker in color. It takes about two months for an incubated egg to hatch.
Young venecertanums have large ears, eyes, and toes. They grow into them later in life. They are not born with developed spines or poison pouches, it takes roughly 7 years for them to grow in. Their body naturally starts being able to store venom, as hormones trigger the process: during this time young venecertanums start seeking out the poisonous flowers for nectar much more actively. This is usually around the time venecertanums start to leave the clan territory. Venecertanums typically are considered to be young adults by age 20. Venecertanums between ages 40-60 tend to hold territories, and past age 70 most venecertanums have has raised young. Venecertanums start to weaken from age at around year 150. Females often can live well past 150, many cared for by the clans even after menopause that occures at that age. Some females have lived past 200 years.
Venecertanums are mostly solitary creatures outside of families. However, they live within relative contact with each other in clans that hold territories. Highly sophisticated, these territories hold multiple families as well as many solitary venecertanums. Families are the treasure of the venecertanums, their young is their utmost importance. This gives females all rights and privileges to walk freely and interact with all venecertanums, and some chosen males. These males are sometimes known in biology as sneaker males: they behave , smell, and look similar to those of a female, usually to gain access to females. Unlike most sneaker males of the animal kingdom though, these special venecertanum males are often accepted into territories and do not attempt to mate with females. They tend not to have families of their own, but rather they travel freely within a territory, between multiple males stakes and areas, to help raise others’ young. We believe this evoleved to help the species as a whole, as young venecertanums are vulnerable and take many many years of resources to raise.
With the exception of these “sneaker males”, most males tend to be showy and aggressive outside of families. They are always trying to outshine one another for the female’s attention and potential mate. They display bright colors and flashy dances. But they also must display hunting capabilities, which gives them their bright colors. The brighter the colors the healthier and stronger the male, thus better in the eyes of the female. Younger males often travel between different islands to attempt to woo females of different clans. During their travels they develop their venoms through the consumption of different poisonous flowers’ nectar, which can deepen the color of their poison sacs. They also often are found observing other males that have established territories from the edges of the clan, and try to imitate their dances to help cultivate a more intricate display themselves. A more seasoned and experienced venecertanum that has a more complex dance and venom has a higher chance at wooing a female.
Young female venecertanums do not travel as much as males do, and can choose whether to establish a nest within the clan to expand the territory or to move to a different location entirely to either join a different clan or establish her own. Due to the fact that female venecertanums do not travel as much, their venom tends to be less potent than the male counterpart: albeit still deadly to humans.
I made venecertanums back in 2017. They were not as well written and at the time, a semi-closed species much like how protogens/primagens are. I decided that the limitations I put on the species stiffled creativity so I decided to change that and opened the whole species concept to the public. So if there is some old info and artwork here and there, take it with a grain of salt: I have changed a few aspects of the species.
That being said, while the species is an open one please still abide to the species lore and regulations. Stick to the anatomy of the species as best as you can while still being creative.
- Any colors and patterns are permitted
- No extra limbs: no wings or fins
- No magical or undead characters
- Scars and wounds allowed within logical, livable reason
- Prosthetics allowed within reason: wood/metal/plastic with realistic design