Zurakis are true herbivores. They mostly eat tubers/roots, as it’s the most readily available food on their planet, but they also like leafy greens, fruit, nuts, and other vegetation. Like most artic animals they eat small amounts continuously throughout the day to replace lost calories. They also don’t drink water; instead they continuously eat small bites of snow to remain hydrated. When forced to drink pure water, they will get a mouth full and drink it like a bird, by tilting their heads back and letting gravity do the work. They also do not need to chew their food much, as they have incredibly strong stomach acid that can digest the toughest of food with no problem. After being introduced to civilized space, they became rather big candy fiends, even being paid for working with bags of candy. They need to be careful though, as too much candy can wreck their system or cause obesity, but they do love it all the same. They all have an individual preference for favorite types, but gummy candies and peppermints seem to be a universal favorite among them.
Zuraki begin to pair off when they are about 5-7 years old (when they reach maturity). They are a monogamous race, and individuals never find another mate if their partner dies. All Zuraki can be said then to be Bisexual until they pair off, because they seem to not really care what sex their potential mate is. Homosexuality does exist, a bit rare though, but the others really don’t care all too much about it, as long as the individuals in question are happy. Same sex Zuraki couples tend to act as official babysitters in the clan. Zuraki believe very strongly in the concept of a ‘soul mate’, so sometimes it can take several years until an individual pairs off with another individual, but in preparation of this, Zuraki have a hoarding instinct where they will hoard shiny, pretty, or interesting objects. Once they find a potential mate, they will present these objects to each other as gifts along with things like some hard to find fruit or berries. Courtship takes a while; often a year will go by before they decide that they are right for each other. After that they dig themselves a den and live together. When they decide to reproduce, they couple much like any other quadruped earth mammal. As they have no natural predators, they tend to only have one or two litters in one life time. Kits are born 10 months later blind and deaf with a nearly white pale coat. They are completely dependant on their mother to keep from freezing to death for the first week until they grow their second layer of fur and their eyes open. They will nurse from her for about a year, and by that time the colors and patterns they will have as an adult will have completely grown in. They are full grown by the time they are 4, and even when they leave the den they still maintain a close relationship with each other. Family is very very important to Zurakis.
The vocal range of Zuraki’s is pretty varied, sounding pretty much like a mix between a bird and a cat. They can chirp, purr, beep, whistle, peep, trill, ect ect. They can also hiss, growl, and screech when need be, but it’s very rare to hear one do it. They’ve also been known to make a continuous low humming noise, that’s almost musical in quality. This is used exclusively for kits and the sick, as it relaxes them and helps them to sleep. Unfortunately, despite this wide vocal range, they don’t have the ability to ‘speak’ (where like a human can understand them) without a translation device, though they can understand most languages just fine without one.
The history of Zurakis is pretty odd. They’ve been considered to be somewhat of a sacred being to the other sentient species on their planet, Zuranians. Zuranians believed Zurakis to be reincarnated souls of children, due to their naïve and innocent nature, and treated them as such. So thus Zurakis and Zuranians have had a long history together, some Zuraki even living in the Zuranian towns as a type of good luck charm. When portals began to open on other planets and other species discovered the planet, most assumed Zurakis to be just a regular dumb animal due to their inability to speak. Many were taken to other planets, including Earth, as pets. Their gentleness and natural protectiveness towards children caused them to be frequently used as therapy animals. It soon became very common for hospitals and other facilities to have a Zuraki or two to keep people company and to help with the healing process. However, not long after they were discovered, people began to poach them. Their coats, which are very soft and luxurious, became highly sought after by the well to do. Hundreds were killed by hunters taking advantage of Zuraki’s trusting nature. The native Zuranians however, were not amused one bit, and after they began showing up to galactic meetings wearing coats made out of human skin, the poaching trickled down fairly fast. Zurakis were kept as pets for several decades after, until a young human scientist name Steve Braker began working on a medical device. He was hoping to create a device to allow mute/deaf people, or people with severe communications issues, the ability to speak again by using a neural implant along with a collar to project an electronic voice. He had a pet Zuraki named Berry that he tested the device on, and he was incredibly surprised when she commended him on his invention and then demanded to know when dinner time was. This caused them to be declared almost overnight to be sentient now that the speech barrier was removed, and ‘freed’ to go on with their own lives. So now Zuraki currently are left to their own devices, but now they are able to travel to other worlds and even learn trades, mostly in the candy industry.
Zurakis live in clans, which include up to 20-40 individuals. They do not have a form of government, but are instead watched over by the oldest member of the clan, as to survive to an old age in such a tough environment is a credit to their intelligence and resolve. They all look out for each other, caring for the sick, bringing food to members unable to forage, and baby sitting. They live in a communal burrow, with several tunnels leading to private dens, as they all sleep together in a pile to keep warm in the freezing nights. Members tend to drift in and out, sometimes to start their own clan or to join the clan of a prospective mate, so the number count tends to jump around quite often.
Traditional Zuraki art comes in the form of Storytelling. Because they have no thumbs and are quadrupeds, they’ve never discovered or created visual art like say, Humans. The same reason can be said why they have no written language. Instead though, they’ve created a long tradition of oral storytelling. Most of these stories are classic mythology (like creation mythos/explaining why things are the way they are) and can almost be compared to Aboriginal Dreamtime legends, while the rest are mostly parable like and are designed to pass along survival knowledge in a easy to remember format. In each clan there is Storyteller, whose job is to answer questions for the clan by calling up particular stories that are relevant. For example, a kit may ask why the stars are so bright, and the Storyteller will usually have a story to explain why. Unfortunately, even with translator technology, there is no way to really record all these stories since translations do not exist for some Zuraki phrases and terminology, but some have successfully been retold to other species who’ve written them down.
- Zuraki really hate getting wet, as it is deadly to them on their homeworld. Even individuals born off world have an inherited dislike to be immersed in water.
Chaz - A Player character
Rudy- A Player character