Sunday, March 18, 2012

Speculative Zoology #2: Dog/Wolf

First the icecaps melted, taking with them the arctic and the polar bear and flooding low lying parts of the world. Then, a great cold descended on the earth again. Snow fell thick and blanketed all. Shaggy dog breeds - such as malamute and husky, now feral, interbred with the remaining wild wolf populations and in time evolved into a monster of a wolf.

Standing upright, the great bearwolf measures up to three metres tall and he can weight over 600 kg. This powerful predator now walks plantigrade - he has sacrificed speed in order to maintain better stability on the soft ground and also to better distribute his hefty weight. The soles of his feet are furred to insulate them against the snow. On sunny days he can often be found sprawled on his back, black belly to the sky, absorbing the sunlight.

His main diet is meat, and he preys upon a number of tundra species. Ungulates that become trapped in snow are a particular favourite and he is not adverse to taking carrion. You will meet one of his favourite food sources in a further instalment.

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