Although many of Pern’s animals are almost identical to those found on Earth, there are countless new species. Pern has many six-limbed species, with four legs and two wings.
Bloodfish – A parasitic fish that hooks onto other fish, rendering them inedible. They look like eels, 2″ to 6″ long, with round mouths filled with rows of teeth. They are light grey but develop red heads and streaks when feeding. They inject the fish with a numbing agent that is toxic to humans.
Crawler – A small, six-legged, gecko-looking creature that crawls along walls and even ceilings with their sticky little feet. They have a round stinging mouth and no eyes. Humans and dragons loathe them, firelizards love to eat them.
Dragon – Dragons have four legs and two wings. They come in five different colors. Females are gold or green, while males are bronze, brown, or blue. They vary in size from 17m (58′) to 30m (98′) in length, with the tail accounting for almost half. The fully extended wingspan of a dragon is 250% of its total length. (See below.)
Firefly – A small winged beetle whose abdomen glows with a luminescent light. Looks a bit like the Terran firefly, but tends to glow in different colors.
Firelizard – Similar to a dragon with a cat-sized body. They come in a variety of shades of gold, bronze, brown, blue, and green. They can bond with humans at birth, similar but not as strong as dragons. They are empathic and enjoy humming to music. In the wild, a fair of firelizards is led by a single adult gold, which the others protect and feed. Fairs have no more than 30 firelizards. Gold firelizards can lay as many as 40 eggs, while greens lay half a dozen on average. Green firelizard clutches rarely survive, as they are often poorly hidden or in a precarious location. All gold clutches contain at least one gold firelizard egg. Gold and bronze eggs tend to be larger as hatching time nears.
Fish – The most commonly eaten species are Fingertails, Flatfish, Packtails, Redfin, Specklers, Whitefish, Yellow-stripe, Yellowtail, and sea eels. Bloodfish are a parasitic fish that hooks onto other fish, rendering them inedible. Packtail are tasty but dangerously barbed, similar to a monkfish. Yellowtails are large, edible fish, similar to a tuna.
Grub – A type of millipede that has spread throughout the southern continent. They are known both for their eating of Thread and their beneficial effect on the plants around them.
Spiderclaw – Similar to a crab.
Springs – Insects that hang in spiral loops until they find someone or something to cling to. They have an irritating, prickly bite.
Swift – A six-legged lizard with a 1′ long body, found in mountainous terrain and able to move very fast. They are found in muted shades of green, grey, and brown. They move in flocks.
Troglobite – A cave-dwelling insect about 4″ long that looks like an armored cricket. They are heavy and sturdy, with sharp spines in their legs. They also have a long, upwardly curved stinger in the back. They cannot fly or jump far, are slow climbers, and only gather in small groups. They can freeze and thaw without harm. They love carrots.
Trundlebug – A useful insect that eats parasites, turns the soil and acts as a pollinator. They have the most elaborate color camouflage of all the insects and come in many colors.
Tunnel Snake – Reptilian vermin, 2′ to 3′ long with six limbs that infest underground places. They burrow and dig. Some can survive amphibious life and a few have a venomous bite that is fatal if untreated. Most are inedible, as the flesh causes dangerous swelling.
Veetol – A furry insect with double pairs of wings that can hover. It has a body like a giant moth and wings that look like a cross between a butterfly and dragonfly.
Watch-wher – Small, ugly dragons weighing 600-800 lbs. They do not impress but make attachments similar to a dog. They have loyal personalities, excellent night vision, amazing carrying capacity, the ability to eat anything, and an infallible instinct for finding hidden dangers. They are nocturnal, nearly blind during the day, territorial, cannot chew firestone, and come in the same colors as firelizards. They can memorize any number of friends, often by smell. They have sharp-tipped ears and bad breath.
Wherry – A squat, fat avian, about the size of an ostrich, not unlike a draco-turkey. They have six limbs (two wings, four legs), and downy tufts of proto-feathers covering membranous wings. They are aggressive, especially if one of their kind is hurt. Males are called bucks and females are called hens. There are two types, inland and sea-side. The sea-side ones have a fish-like taste, and a large layer of fat just below their skin. Domestic breeds are tasty. They eat meat, carrion, and hatching firelizards on the coast.
Whersport – A small, featherless wherry, delicious when cooked properly. They are less aggressive and dangerous than wherries.
Dragons In Detail
Dragons have four legs and two wings. They vary in size from 17m (58′) to 30m (98′) in length, with the tail accounting for almost half. The fully extended wingspan of a dragon is 160% of its total length. They fly at 30-40 knots (34-46 mph, 55-74 kmh) depending on their size.
They come in five different colors. Females are gold or green, while males are bronze, brown, or blue. There are significant variations in the hues, and some parts of a dragon may be lighter or darker in tone, but there are no markings such as patches, spots, or blazes.
Gold dragons are extremely rare, making up only 1% of the population. Bronzes are also fairly rare at only 5%. Browns are uncommon, making up 15% of a fair. Blues are much more common at 32% and greens at the most common of all the colors.
Dragons look more like mammals than reptiles. Their hairless hide is smooth and soft to the touch. Their heads are somewhat horse-shaped with wide nostrils. They have a pair of head knobs similar to a giraffe’s. They have ridges that begin behind the head knobs, end at the shoulder blades, begin again at mid-back, and stop halfway down the tail. There is also a pronounced ridge over the eyes. The feet have five digits with partially retractable claws.
A dragon’s senses of smell and hearing are equivalent to a human’s. Their eyes are compound and forward facing. They change color based on the dragon’s mood. The refractive lenses make the eyes seem to glow in the right light. There are two nictating membranes, one clear and one semi-opaque, that protect the eyes. They can see well in fog and darkness.
Dragon teeth are sharp in the front for grasping and rending, but blunt in the back for chewing firestone. They have two airways, one for breathing and one for exhaling fire. They also have a separate “stomach” for processing firestone.
Dragons are sentient, warm-blooded, and egg laying. They are strictly carnivorous and have a strong preference for freshly killed animals. They have two hearts and green blood called “ichor”. The ribcage is fused and does not expand, so that flight doesn’t interfere with breathing as it does in some avians.
Gold dragons mate as often as every 2-5 turns and reach sexual maturity around 3 turns of age. Green dragons mate several times a turn but are infertile due to chewing firestone. Gold dragons stay with the same male from mating flight to hatching. Only a mating between a gold and bronze dragon has the possibility of producing gold eggs.
Gold dragons begin to lay their eggs at about 90 days after mating. They lay no more than one egg per day for up to five weeks. Clutches normally range from 15 to 30 eggs. They incubate on the hot sands of a hatching ground for about a month. The brooding gold dragon constantly watches and adjusts her eggs, turning them at least once a day.
The eggs have thick, leathery shells. They begin somewhat pliable but harden as they develop. They are a mix of creamy shades and only gold dragon eggs can be clearly identified before hatching. Bronze dragon eggs can often be identified shortly before hatching due to their size. Eggs begin to hatch at about the same time and an entire clutch hatches in an hour. Sometimes, one or more eggs do not hatch.
Hatchlings are born very hungry. They immediately seek a human to bond with and Impress immediately upon finding them. A hatchling never fails to Impress. They know their names and communicate them to their new lifemates.
Green and blue dragons reach full growth at 18 months, browns at 20 months, and bronze and gold dragons at 24 months. They eat large quantities regularly to sustain that rate of growth, and must be oiled frequently to keep their hides from cracking.