Dondokos(ドンドコ dondoko) are one of Tal's primitive creatures belonging to the Talyxian species group. They are the most well known wildlife in Tal, found everywhere on the planet. There are a few subspecies living in the desert zone.
Their bodies consist of red muscular systems, belt-shaped bones, and gray reproductive organs and digestive organs. Their skeletal and muscular structures give them high motility.
Their longitudinal (horizontally jointed) mandibles show that there is a front and a back of their head and body, but they can run in any direction. They have size as small as 1 foot 9 inches, and can grow as large as 9 feet 8 inches in length.
Their running speed is similar to that of most Eltus races, but they can continue running for hours and hours due to their abundant stamina.
They eat foods and attack prey by biting chunks off using their toothy longitudinal mouths. Their mouths share a function as a vent also, those are divided by valves. Foods which are ingested by them will traverse their stomachs clockwise, then will be excreted from mouths.
There are soft sensory organs on soles of their feet, to perceive vibration, and the edges of their soles are hard and rubber-like. The sensory organs have fingerprint-like patterns, and experts can distinguish between individuals by examining them.
They are completely omnivorous, and they will hunt anything if they notice the vibrations of its motion, showing strong aggression for vibrations caused by creatures who are differently sized than themselves (however, because they hunt exclusively by seeking vibration, they are not scavengers and will never eat carrion). Because of their lack of developed senses and their predatory instincts, they are very prone to cannibalism. They travel in groups, usually comprised of up to a few dozen individuals of roughly the same size, though rarely they can be found in groups with as many as hundreds of members. All of them reproduce by parthenogenesis.
They are very sensitive to vibration, and will take advantage of their high stamina to run long distances, tracking and chasing their enemy or prey until it does not have the strength to continue to flee. As a group, they will gnaw any prominent parts off of their target, finally making it a round lump of meat. They also exhibit this behavior when encountering smaller members of their own species, by gnawing the legs off of the body. This behavior functions as their reproduction system also. When an individual is preyed upon in this manner, it will root to the spot, and will bear egglike bulbs, which eventually mature into infants of the species. After some time, the infant dondokos form a small group, but there are high death rates during their infancy due to their rapid growth and blind cannibalism. In contrast with this, mature individuals grow more slowly, and can form larger groups.
Relation with people
While they are treated as terrible and harmful creatures for sentient species, people also know them as common foods. People can eat almost all of their bodies, and their meats are healthy and flavorful. Owing to this, and to the presence of dondokos in most of Tal's various ecosystems, dondoko meats are a staple food of almost all inhabited areas.
Smaller groups are not so formidable and will flee when they perceive footsteps from something larger or more numerous. But they become more aggressive as they grow larger, or as their groups gain more members, and large individuals or large groups (even of comparatively small individuals) are very dangerous.
They mainly react to footstep-like vibrations, therefore there are some safe methods to move near them, including crawling on the ground like a leech, vaulting from cliffs, or riding a wheeled vehicle. To these vibrations, they are not usually attracted or aggressive. Because of this, people generally use cars for safety in areas that they inhabit. Another option is to hide in a tree.
Though the sensory perception of dondokos is very limited, as their groups increase in size, they become more sensitive to heterogeneous sources of vibration (such as those caused by vehicles), and more likely to attack. Lots of large vehicles often indicate the nearby presence of a large group of dondokos, and can signal an area as being dangerous.