Pirangs

Average mass: 120 kg
Average length: 2.8 m
Thermoregulation: Endothermic homeotherm, 35° C

Description

Pirangs have a centauroid body plan, walking quadrupedally on four legs with two arms on their torso. A long neck stretches from their shoulders, with a mane down the back and around the head. The Pirang head is fringed by tentacles, with two large ears, two eyes, and a mouth that opens horizontally. Their abdomen sticks out behind their legs, like that of an insect. Pirangs are typically a reddish color with white markings and a golden mane. They have a musky odor which some non-Pirangs dislike but others find somewhat pleasant.

Internal Anatomy

Pirangs breathe through a blowhole on the top of their abdomen, just behind their last pair of hips, leading to a set of lungs extending through the top of their abdomen and torso. The torso houses a chain of three powerful hearts. Food passes down a long esophagus into a series of digestive chambers in the torso and abdomen. The Pirang's brain is located just behind its eyes and ears in its head.

Pirangs have an internal skeleton, like that of Humans, but with bones made of a strong biological polymers without mineralization.

Senses

The hearing of a Pirang is very acute. They can pinpoint the location of any sound they hear. Pirang hearing extends from the ultrasonic to infrasound.

The vision of a Pirang is not as acute as that of a Human, but is adapted for low light vision. They can make out two colors - red-orange and near infrared. Pirangs can see near infrared beams of laser weaponry. The eyes of the Pirang are fairly mobile, capable of looking straight forward for good binocular vision or rotating up to 120° to look around itself. The eyes can also retract back into the Pirang's head for protection.

Pirangs have an excellent sense of taste-smell centered on their head's feelers, are capable of identifying individuals by odor alone, and make excellent trackers.

Communication

The voice of a Pirang is a fluting whistle. They can speak Human languages, although no-one would ever mistake a Pirang's voice for a Human. The Pirang's whistles can be very loud, and although they are used at a normal volume for normal communication a Pirang shriek will travel for long distances. This is used to keep in touch with dispersed pack members. Since Pirangs breathe through the blow-hole on their back, this blow-hole (not the Pirang's mouth) moves when the Pirang talks.

Pirangs mostly speak Sequential. Some also learn English, particularly those who travel or settle in Human space.

Locomotion and Biomechanics

With their long, slender limbs, Pirangs are fast runners with good endurance. The splayed toes of a Pirang foot are useful for walking on soft or shifting surfaces.

Without mineralized bones, Pirangs float well and are strong swimmers. They have difficulty diving without ballast.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Pirangs are mostly carnivorous, although they will eat fruit and starchy vegetables. They have two sets of jaws – the outer jaws pierce and hold food while the inner jaws thrust forward to cut and rip pieces off as they pull back. A flexible tongue with a rasping surface helps to strip meat from bones and maneuver food in the mouth.

Reproduction

Pirangs have neuter, male and female sexes. They are born neuter, and remain neuter until they achieve a dominant position in a pack. The most dominant Pirang becomes female, and the Pirang in the penultimate position becomes male. If the pack structure changes, the sex of the Pirang will alter to meet the new hierarchy.

Pirangs give birth to live young, usually twins. The young are raised communally by the Pirang parents and their pack.

Psychology

Pirangs are active, enthusiastic, and sociable. Even as adults, Pirangs enjoy boisterous play, particularly wrestling, racing, and mock attacks. As predators, Pirangs are fascinated by small moving objects, particularly if they seem weak or injured, and love to pounce and chase things.

A Pirang will want to explore its immediate surroundings, and poke its snout into everything. Once it knows an area it will settle down, but will check out any changes it notices. Pirangs are likewise curious about what their pack-mates and friends have done when they were away, and will want to "figure out" new people they meet. Many Pirangs are incurable gossips. They do not have much concept of personal space.

Pirangs do not keep a diurnal cycle, but nap at any time of the day or night.

Society

The base of Pirang society is the pack. This is a group of usually closely related individuals with one dominant reproductive pair. The pack are strongly loyal to each other. If a mature pack member finds a mate from another pack and sufficient space and resources, it may leave its original pack and start a new one. This offspring pack will usually be on good terms with the parent pack.

Back in their hunter-gatherer days before they met the Gummis, Pirang packs were highly territorial in order to defend their hunting grounds. Since becoming a technological space-faring species, packs happily come together into larger communities. Leadership is largely based on dominance and personal loyalty. Among the Gummis, they tend to defer to their squishy amorphous friends, and packs tend to owe loyalty to a given Gummi or Gummi committee. Since encountering Humans, however, many Pirangs have come to accept the idea of a representative government with universal laws and even in Gummi Space many Pirang communities are experimenting with democratic ideas.

Culture

Architecture

Pirang have adopted Gummi building methods, but being much larger and less flexible require more expansive accommodations. Pirang houses are actually comfortable for a Human to walk around in. Pirang will sleep in snug circular alcove set into a wall, lined with cushions.

Cuisine

Pirang prefer a meat based diet, but they're not overly picky and will happily eat starchy vegetable matter and fruits as well. If given a choice, they like their meat cooked, boiled, fermented, or "aged" (read rotted) to just the right stage of decomposition. But if they're impatient raw will do, too. They all generally agree, however, that starchy food is much better cooked.

Dress

Pirangs happily wear clothes for insulation, protection, and comfort. They tend to favor muted colors - although since Pirangs and Humans see in different parts of the spectrum what may be muted to a Pirang will not necessarily be muted to a Human. A typical get-up would be an abdomen stocking or wrap, leg stockings with garters, a jacket or vest, and a scarf or neck-stocking. Hats are not commonly worn because they interfere with the Pirang's eyes and ears - but hot sun, bitter cold, or pouring rain may make one change its mind. Pirang don't see the point in wearing clothes to show off - that's what posture and smell are for.

Music

The native Pirang music was used to keep the pack together while hunting and to assemble the pack when necessary. Their loud, piercing whistles would travel long distances. Each pack would have their own short, distinctive set of notes so that they could recognize themselves from others. Since being adopted by the Gummis, Pirang have taken to making more complex music and have become accomplished musicians and composers.

Sports

The favorite sports of the Pirang include racing, chasing, tag, wrestling, and pouncing. These sports usually don't have much formal structure, and can quickly change from one to the other.

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