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Petpet Name: Bookmark
Pet Name: Mohatuu
The Lost Desert. One of the harshest climates in Neopia. Temperatures can reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime, and at night, it can plummet to sub-zero. Sandstorms are a daily challenge as gale-force winds send millions of grains of sand flying across the dunes.
And yet, life still manages to flourish.
Here we see a Scamander, poking his head out of the sand. Scamanders are fascinating creatures that thrive despite the extremes of the desert. He burrows into the sand to escape the heat during the day, and at sunset, he digs his way out in search of food. He is a master at burrowing, digging out of the sand at an astonishing speed necessary to prevent slippage. He scurries across the sand at speeds up to 15 miles per hour, leaving a winding trail behind him.
Water is scarce. With less than five inches of rainfall each year, the Lost Desert is the driest land in Neopia, and finding water is a constant challenge. It’s a marvel that the desert can support any life, much less an amphibian like the Scamander. Our little friend arrives at his favorite oasis—hardly a puddle to us—but it’s enough water to support local life. He absorbs water through his skin to survive, and he must spend at least three hours every day in water.
Even in this oasis, danger constantly lurks. A shadow passes over him, disrupting his drink. Above flies a Horus, the Scamander’s natural predator. Their keen eyesight allows them to spot prey from hundreds of feet in the air, and even the Scamander’s speed is no match against Horus talons.
The Horus dives! The Scamander scurries away, barely avoiding the Horus’s grasp, but the Horus won’t give up so easily. It dives again and grabs the Scamander tightly by the tail, carrying him into the air. Once at a comfortable height, the Horus can eat without stopping flight. It looks like the end for our friend.
But what’s this? The Scamander has one more trick! He struggles and flails in the Horus’s claws until his tail breaks off and he falls to the sand. Another incredible and important adaptation of the Scamander—in extreme circumstances, their tail can detach to evade predators. He quickly buries into the dune. The Horus flies off with his tail, and he is safe for another day.
Without a tail, Scamanders are especially vulnerable. Not only does it cause difficulty evading predators, but it takes a lot of energy to grow it back, and extra energy is a luxury not afforded by the desert. There is a nearby home that would be safe from natural predators—the desert city of Qasala.
The city is much cooler during the day due to the shelter of buildings, and the fountain in the center of the town provides a constant source of water. Scriblets, Skidgets and Skufflers—petpetpets that are drawn to the Qasalan fruit stalls—would provide food for him. But the city is not without its share of dangers.
Most Qasalan residents do not take kindly to Scamanders. Scamanders excrete a sticky slime through their skin and leave it in trails. They can also carry and spread diseases, a serious concern for such an isolated city. Still, for Scamanders missing a tail, the tradeoff makes living in Qasala worth the danger.
Night has fallen, and our friend takes refuge in the central fountain, resting for the challenges his new environment will present.
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