“Say what you want about them, at least they have the decency to warn you before they try and eat you…”Doren Grey, Sentinel of Selene
Also Known as: Screamers, Chiropterans, Kazotz (Lux.), Oleiay (Sel.), Saxm (Neh.), Kawatoko (Muj.)
Hazard Level: Moderate to High
Yeligwi are large and highly territorial nocturnal mega-chiropterans found in broods across the continent of Aeldos. Also known as “Screamers” due to their harrowing vocalizations, these hunched quadrupeds default to a loping ground locomotion but also possess long forelimbs adapted to act as wings through a skin membrane and patagium that enable gliding flight. The species can grow up to 1.5 meters at the shoulder, 2-3 meters in length, and attain wingspans of up to 6 meters. Despite their size, Yeligwi tend to have low body mass, typically weighing less than 80kg. Yeligwi are clever and opportunistic predators, as apt to descend upon prey directly as they are to drive them towards greater threats in anticipation of a secondary meal.
Yeligwi share various physical characteristics with bats, primates, and canids, but are largely distinct from all three. Their hunched and sinewy bodies vary by region, from bare black skin to thick brown and black fur depending on climate. While their bodily coloration is typically uniform save for scars gained through competition for food, their faces can have highly distinctive patterns of black, red, or white striping. They have a long snout with sharp protruding front teeth, small eyes, and large and highly mobile ears. In close proximity the species has an acrid and unpleasant smell. One of their most well known traits is their high pitched and ululating screech that oscillates in and out of the audible spectrum for humans. This screech is used both for hunting and social purposes. Despite this, the species is otherwise known to be extremely stealthy, able to move and glide in near total silence.
Screamers demonstrate a crude but often startling intelligence, capable of observation and problem solving, including using harrying tactics and environmental features to herd unsuspecting prey into other predators or threats. Yeligwi can then wait for the environment or less clever predators to do the hard work and return to feast on any remains.
Yeligwi are known to be aggressive towards anything that violates their perceived territory which can include a significant range from a central brooding point. These brood areas, typically elevated caves or structures, are usually difficult to access and viciously guarded. Most broods are between 8 to 12 adults in size, with an additional 3-5 kits, and at any given time 2-3 of the brood act as sentries and scouts, patrolling and monitoring brood territory for threats or possible prey.
Yeligwi possess keen senses and are often aware of intruders long before they enter their territory. They are also well equipped against prey, with razor sharp teeth and strong jaws, and powerful limbs tipped in long slashing claws. Their ear splitting scream can also be used to stun or disorient even the sturdiest opponent, and is often employed for this purpose. Because they lack significant defenses they tend to rely on mass attacks, mobility and first strikes to disable or disorient prey and will quickly abandon any extended engagement.
Yeligwi are hunter scavenger omnivores with robust digestive systems, capable of surviving off a wide range of food, but demonstrate a preference for meat. Even given sufficient alternate food options they will still pursue hunting opportunities.
Yeligwi reproduction is poorly understood but it is known they give live birth only when conditions support the likely survival of kits. Broods demonstrate a simple hierarchy with the breeding pair being dominant and all other brood members providing support. Yeligwi lifespans can reach up to 50 years in the wild.
Some attempts at Yeligwi domestication have demonstrated limited success, though captive specimens seem to demonstrate significantly shortened lifespans. One particularly florid rumour claims that a Victran lord once trained one to act as a guard, and could be seen perching on the peak of his roof each night, daring trespassers to enter the estate.