The Desert Crystals – The Journals Biologinary #3

An excerpt from The Journals Biologinary’s accounts of the curious fauna and flora of the Northern Continent.
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The The Tooth-Furred Gambimole

As with so many creatures of the Northern Continent, this animal’s name is both descriptive and utterly belies its nature. Gambimole’s have been observed in a variety of continental locations, and range from the tiny shrew-sized Minor Gambimole up to the horse-sized Queen Gambimole. The chief trait of the Gambimole, and the reason that possibly diverse species are connected under this umbrella term are their curious eating habits. Few other animals have been found able to turn themselves inside out at will, but all forms of Gambimole use this ability in either offence or defence.

The Tooth-Furred Gambimole is a horrid-looking specimen, approximately the size of a large cat. What features are distinguishable are covered in a thick mat of teeth. The appearance of fur is only maintained at a distance, when the observer could be forgiven for thinking the beast camoflaged for snow. On closer inspection, the teeth are firmly embedded in a gum like skin which flexes in odd directions as the animal stumbles about. It is a lumpen brute which displays little intelligence or intentionality.

Its locomotion is legendarily poor. This is considered a natural result of having a spine distributed in bands around one’s body. The spine holds the Gambimole together and on contracting, allows it to entirely turn inside out, placing the teeth on the inside, usually clenched around its prey. In actuality the Gambimole, once killed and stretched can be seen to be a rather thin beast, with all of its organs spread around inside to avoid too much stress upon its inversion. It is unclear whether Gambimoles are able to see properly; their eyes are half buried in folds of skin, so that they are popped up whichever way out the animal is. Their legs are short and stumpy, allowing for a hip joint that support a stunted jointless limb to protrude and jiggle it along the ground. It is not capable of leaping. Dissection is again interesting – then it can be seen that the Gambimole has eight legs, four on either side.

Undoubtedly the most intriguing and upsetting aspect of the Tooth-Furred Gambimole is its accidental predatory nature. Carnivorous, perhaps only because of its limited senses, it responds to touch by immediately rolling itself over and around the toucher. This a highly effective strategy when it has encountered a small animal: its teeth are now inside and vicioulsy grind its prey to pieces and swallows the remains through what previously appeared to be its anus, but when properly inverted is in fact the throat.

Observational studies in the field and laboratory suggest that up to eighty-five percent of the Gambimole’s predations are failures, either because the Gambimole has been struck by a branch, run into a rock or seized the appendage of a much larger animal. The latter selection is sometimes effective, if the Gambimole is able to sever the appendage before being battered to death by its victim.

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