|Maturity Period||2 cycles|
Kul’nats originated in the Sha’haiyan wastes, but have since spread across Mortegard in the aftermath of The Great War, where their numbers flourished from feeding off the corpses of the fallen.
Kul’nuts are communal, carrion feeding creatures, living in large nests made of woven twigs, dead leaves and mud. Their communities host up to 20 individuals, which play different roles in the nest including guard, wetnurse, scout and gatherer.
Kul’nats resemble squirrels in that their life mostly involves preparing for hard times. Instead of nuts and acorns however, these critters make nests designed to hang strips of carrion meat to dry in.
Scouts spend their days travelling around, scouting locations of fallen and abandoned prey. They mark this location by rubbing their tails on the branches, leaving a scent trail for others of their nest to locate.
Designated gatherers travel by night, following scent trails to find the carrion, then use their teeth and claws to tear strips of meat off. They place these on their tails, and hug close to their bellies while they travel back to their nests.
Once the meat is returned to the nest, that which they don’t eat is hung in ‘rafter branches’ with the Kul’nat guards and wetnurses using their flat tails to fan it, the natural heat of their bodies keeping the meat at a consistent temperature until it is fully dry. They then take this dried meat and store it in special chambers, at times creating excessively large stores of calories.
The kul’nats’ fatty tails allow them to synthesize and store water purely from the meat and small bits of vegetation they eat, meaning they can adjust to nearly any environment. Kul’nats will suck and vomit excessive blood and pool it in special chambers that sit below a false floor in their nests, to be drawn from as needed for moisture.
Kul’nats’ are often hunted or their nests are sought after in order to retrieve water in deserts or easy rations for hungry travelers. Being skittish they tend to rely of making their nests difficult to reach rather than defending it, though when cornered a kul’nut can be vicious.
Most nests are located in trees or designed around cacti clusters, though they have been known to build nests in houses, in rock formations or in hillside cavities.
Kul’nats show some odd behavior once their nests become overburdened with stores, and they begin to create strange effigies of dried meat and sticks in a humanoid form that hang from branches by dried strands of grass, cacti or built atop stone outcroppings. These effigies when in trees, resemble tiny people hanging at gallows, and have led to the spreading of much superstitious rumor and the belief in evil presences, especially as they spread to environments they are not native to. Researchers believe this to be to act as offerings to potential predators, especially given these are highly prevalent in Bolochtarian woods and are often eaten by wandering dropbears, while kul’nat nests are left untouched.