|Average Lifespan: 75 Years|
|Earth Species Evolved From: n/a|
Large, hulking creatures that vaguely resemble anteaters although they are in no way related to the suborder Vermilingua. Or any other Earth species for that matter. Tapok have thick, stocky bodies that are covered in shaggy fur that is light tan in color. Three brown stripes line the back of these creatures.
Their elongated faces sort of resemble an anteater's in form although the mouth is slighly more horse-like in shape. It is made for rooting around in the ground for desert plants.
Their spine between the shoulderns is lined with five flexible protrusions that reseble fleshy tentacles. These are actually sensory organs that allow the tapok to sense pheremones in other creatures.
THe word 'tapok' comes from the Syvorian words tapos (snake) and okin (back), so literally 'Snake Backs'.
Strengths and Instincts
Tapok are highly social creatures that are nomadic by nature. In the wild, they will travel in herds of between 20-30 members. Each herd is lead by an elder matriach. While herd members may not always agree with her, they will respect her at all times. Herd members are very protective of their herd and will bravely fight off any dangers that threaten it.
Tapok are highly intelligent and emotional. More so than most sentients give them credit for. They have the intelligence legel of elephants.
Their call is similar to the grunt of a bull, but more extented with a slightly higher pitch at the end.
Tapok are mostly herbivorous. They will eat almost any desert plant that they can find. Their elongated faces and long tongues will root around in the sand for desert tubers, a favorite food.
They also like to eat salt and are attracted to the planet's salt flats.
Tapok and Syvorians
To the Syvorians, the tapok are sacred creatures that are worthy of the highest respect. They have kept tapok as companions since before prehistoric times.
In some Syvorian cultures, each child is given a tapok of the same gender as a gift. The child will quickly learn to take care of his or her new companion. The two will grow up together and form a special, unbreakable bond. The bond is so strong that if a Syvorian mother is forced to choose between saving her tapok or her own eggs, she will choose to save her tapok without fail every time.
If either the tapok or its syvorian rider has died, then the surviving one may commit a sympathetic suicide over the grief of losing their companion.
Other sentient races have used tapok as beasts of burden for thousands of years. Against the wishes of the syvorians, they have also been used as a food source amongst other races. Syvorians see this practice as being disgusting and offensve and will often boycott restaurants that serve the flesh of tapok.