Flora and Fauna



   The nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons used during Skydark have had a profound effect on the flora and fauna of Deathlands, resulting in everything from gigantism (larger than normal versions of plants or animals) or dwarfism (much smaller versions) to completely new species that breed true. This section deals with all the new and varied lifeforms that appear in both series. The list is divided into flora and fauna: mammals, birds, fish and reptiles, insects, and miscellaneous (things for which there is no classification, or for which there is too little information to properly classify). Unless the mutant in question is a true-breeding species native to many areas (like screamwings), it has a book reference. All other book references are where the creature in question makes its first appearance.

Flora

   Misc Plants
   Feeder: These creatures live in the desert; they take the form of a cactus, using their camouflage to lure people or animals close, then attacking with barbed tendrils, dragging them below the ground to feed.

   Mindblast Mushrooms: These small, button-like mushrooms grow underground in radiation hotspots. They release spores that, when inhaled, cause violent hallucinations (Breakthrough).

   Needle Grass: Needle grass grows in clumps in dry areas; it is as hard as steel, and razor sharp - it can pierce even the toughest leather. Wounds inflicted by needle grass are almost guaranteed to become infected, resulting in the loss of a limb and most likely death by blood poisoning. (Encounter).

   Tangler: A species of sentient vines that have limited mobility; they can sense living prey nearby and entangle it (Skydark Spawn) (Note: This is not the same tangler that appears in Bitter Fruit; those tanglers are genetically engineered, not mutated).    Vine Master: A vine master is a massive, sentient plant creature consisting of a large central mass of plant matter and hundreds of tendrils. It hunts by sending forth the tendrils to seek out living beings; a tendril that contacts prey immediately infests it, enabling the vine master to control it. Living beings taken over are called vine puppets; puppets immediately turn on their comrades, their only aim to infest more victims. Presumably, the vine master feeds off the bodily fluids of puppets it captures, as well as setting down roots to draw nutrients from the soil like other plants (Eden's Twilight).

   Wart Rot: Wart rot is black mold with yellow flowers sprouting from it. Anyone inhaling its spores (either from the flowers or from the mold itself) will be subject to a horrific death as the spores multiply inside its body, destroying flesh and eventually leaving nothing but an empty sack of skin filled with mold (Savage Armada).

Fauna

Mammals

   Cats (including big cats)
   Dogs and Wolves
   Other Mammals
   Cuddlies: Cuddlies are small furry creatures about the size of a cat. They have honey-gold fur, large brown eyes, and short stubby legs, and are very friendly.
   A strain of cuddlies that lives in Canada, however, has mutated to become quite aggressive; these cuddlies use their nonthreatening appearance to get close to their prey, then attack by leaping at their victim and using their razor-sharp claws and teeth to slash it to death (Chill Factor).

Insects and Arachnids

   Insects
   Scorpions and Spiders
   Pokies: Pokies are beetles that resemble a cross between a borer beetle and a termite. They are black and 2-3 inches long; their legs are tipped with barbed spikes, and they have oversized mandibles. They feed only on human flesh, burrowing into any orifice they can find.


Fish, Lizards, and Reptiles

   Fish
   Mucksucker: This creature is a mutated form of lungfish (a breed that can breathe air and can travel short distances on land with stiffened forelimbs). It is generally considered more of a nuisance than a general threat, though larger specimens have been known to attack humans. They are bottom feeders, lying in the mud to grab whatever comes by.

   Lizards and Reptiles

Birds


   Screamwings: Screamwings are a breed of mutie bird that has become widespread throughout Deathlands. The things are vicious and will attack anything they perceive as food or a threat, usually in swarms. They are most often drawn to blood or loud sounds, like engines or gunfire. Screamwings are small - generally no more than 1 foot long, with a wingspawn two to three times that. They resemble reptiles more than birds - scaly skin, claws, a mouth full of fangs, and a prehensile tail.

   Thunderbirds: Gigantic mutie eagles that inhabit the Canadian town of Thunder Bay. They are large enough to carry off a full-grown buffalo, and their claws and beaks are strong enough to tear through metal. Additionally, their scales are hard as iron, making them very hard to kill (Hell Road Warriors).

Other/Unknown

   Random creatures are listed in order of appearance; creatures with names (species that breed true) are listed afterward.
   Flapjacks: Flapjacks are small muties about the size of a dog, with a flat, disc-shaped body (hence the name). They lurk in trees and drop onto their prey, latching on with multiple hooked tentacles, then drain the victim's blood. Even if the victim can get the flapjack off, its hooks break off in the victim's flesh, causing blood poisoning Gemini Rising.

   Scagworms: Scagworms are large centipede-like creatures about 6 feet long, with a black carapace, domed head with huge pincers, and many legs. They live in underground burrows and venture forth at any time to find food. They are also known for simply exploding out of the ground, grabbing their prey, and shooting back into the hole. Scagworms gestate their young inside their bodies; when a mother gives birth, the spawn eat their mother's flesh. Scagworm flesh is quite tasty and nutritious, for those brave (or foolhardy) enough to hunt them (Sunspot).

   Skikes: Skikes appear to be a mutated form of skate (a smaller cousin to the manta ray) that has limited flight capability. They are 1-2 feet across and have a long tail ending in a barbed, poisonous stinger. There are at least two species: one native to the mountains, and another that lives in the water; both kinds have camouflage ability and are very fast and agile (The Mars Arena).

   Zombie Worms: Zombie worms are native to a small area in Canada, where they live in the soil. They burrow into living or dead flesh, taking over physical control of the body and forcing it to attack living beings, seeking to infect them as well (Hell Road Warriors).