The Final Project for the Zoological Drawing class is to create a fictional creature based on what we have studied so far. We have been studying horses a lot and I’ve been sort of obsessed with quadrupeds that walk on their toes like deers, markhors, rams, etc.
I’ve decided to create a semi-aquatic species. They resemble stags or deers, but just like penguins, seals, beaver, or platypus, they are versatile on land and in water.
Although they resemble fast prey quadrupeds, their speed is mediocre both in water and on land (mainly due to how their bones and joints are structured). However, their lack of speed is compensated by the fact that they can easily avoid predators by jumping into water or vice versa.
- Scientific Name: Cervus Aquaticus [Water-Loving Cervidae (deer)]
- Habitat: Although they can survive in most climates, they are inclined to live in warmer climates in maritime regions. They live/move in flocks. The flocks that live in cold climates may migrate down to south during winter months. The coastal regions with nearby islands and mountain sides with warm climates will provide optimal surroundings for their survival. Thus, their ideal environment would be Southeast Asia such as Philippines, Malaysia, etc.
- Diet: They are omnivores, but their favorites are fruits, berries, seaweeds, and shellfish.
- Notable features (pros):
1. Feet/Toes: Most of their body is covered in fur, but their legs only have a thick layer of bare skin (sort of like bird legs). This is because when they gather food in the water, they seldom need to go on full plunge or dive. They can just walk into the water to their kneed height and collect their food. Having bare-skinned legs create less drag in the water and allows them to dry faster on land. Their ankles and toes can rotate up & down and side-to-side. In addition, their toes can be spread out. This allows them to be more stable in uneven surfaces such as rocky floors of the ocean. In between there toes, there are connecting membranes (when their toes are open, it will somewhat resemble webbed feet of a duck) which is extremely useful when swimming.
2. Tail: Just like the legs, their tails also do not have any fur. The tails are used as a counter balance when running and used as a main propeller in the water. When they go into full swimming mode, a significant amount of blood is channeled to their tail, causing it to expend. This creates more surface area like a paddle and allows them to swim faster.
3. Exoskeleton Asymmetrical Nose: Their nose nostril bones are asymmetrical which allows them to communicate in the water via whistling. Also, more than half of their nose bone(s) are exposed on the surface and it eventually connect directly to the antlers. Although it is not proven, a theory is that this allows their sound to be amplified (Imagine tuning fork–when they whistle, the sound will create subtle vibrations through their horns)
4. Mouth: their mouth area does not have any fur either. Their strong mouth and thick skin will allow them to dig through rocks and dirt to find their food.
5. Reproductive Behavior: During the mating/birth seasons, Cervus Aquaticuses will swim over to nearby islands, if they can find one. Often, this ensures safety for the new born as well as the mother.
- Notable features (Cons):
1. Feet/Toes: Because their toes and ankles are flexible and can be rotated independently, their joints do not “lock” into grooves. This means their joins and ankles cannot withstand very high impact. This is the first reason why they are unable to run as fast.
2. Predators: they have predators from both land and sea
3. Reproductive Behavior: If able, the female Cervus Auaticuses will travel and live on an island for the last two months of the pregnancy and the another month after giving birth. If the island does not have any adequate food supplies (their do not tgo , mothers will be very week. They may starve to death or may drawn on their way back to the mainland. Also they can be exposed to hurricanes or typhoons.