"Dune Mouse" is the common name for the Styrásh "Injèrcál'halthról" (Injèrcál'halthról), which can mainly be found in the deserts of Aeruillin. Dune Mice are no true mice in fact, although they are members of the rodent family, and have similarities with squirels, but live in arid climates. Dune Mice are very active animals and will range great distances in search of food. They are nocturnal animals which have a good sense of direction and can always return to their burrows. They are also often seen as an omen of good luck in order to find water in the desert.
Image description: The Dune Mouse, a common sight in desert lands. Picture drawn by Talia.
Appearance. Dune Mice are about a palmspan long, or a few nailsbreaths longer, with short silky hair. To keep their bodies off the burning sands they have long hind legs and feet, the soles of which are insulated with dense pads of fur. They also use these hind legs to leap away when agitated or frightened. Their front legs are one third to one half as long as their back ones and end in flexible finger like hands used for securely holding food. Their bellies are pure white to reflect radiated heat. Dune Mice have a bushy tail a bit longer than a palmspan, which is used as a source of shade when out in the sun and as warmth when needed. They range in coloration from a light tan to a dark brown, this depending on which desert they inhabit, and are used as a form of camouflage.
A Dune Mouse does not need to drink water but derives all its water from
seed fats and insects. Dune Mice
are very active animals and will range great distances in
search of food. They have a good sense of direction and can always return
to their burrows. Their urine is
highly concentrated and it is believed that this also
helps to conserve water in the body.
Territory. A Dune Mouse is well adapted to arid conditions and is found mainly throughout the continent of Aeruillin. Some may also be spotted at the extreme southwest corner of the Sarvonian continent in the vast Ráhaz-Dáth Desert.
Habitat/Behaviour. Because of the moister sapping heat of their habitat a Dune Mouse is nocturnal. They will come out in the late evening or early morning during the winter months when the heat is not so intense. They usually build only simple burrows in sandy to gravelly soil with one entrance higher than the other to improve ventilation. Dune Mice are solitary animals and will only share their burrows during the raising of young.
Diet. A Dune Mouse will eat seeds, insects and any wind blown vegetable matter they can find. On the rare occasions it rains and the desert is in bloom, the Dune Mouse will turn their burrow into a larder with as many seeds and fruits it can gather.
Mating. It is believed that the female Dune Mouse uses her urine in some way to attract a male at the beginning of winter. When she has attracted a male he will move in with her and will do all the foraging when the young arrive. It is believed there are 8-10 in a litter. After a couple of months the male will leave and return to his old burrow. The young will leave to set up their own burrows.
Myth/Lore. Because of the mistaken belief that all animals must drink water, the Dune Mouse has become an omen of good luck. It is believed - especially among the desert people of the Shendar - that any person who spots a Dune Mouse while in need of water will soon find it. Because of this no desert tribe will kill a Dune Mouse for whatever reason. Several tribal feuds have sprung up due to this simple fact. The expression "Dune Watch" has evolved to mean anyone who may be looking for or waiting for something important. Another saying that has come into existence is "gambling on a mouse", which could mean anyone who foolishly, desperately, or perhaps mistakenly tries any endeavor, undertaking or solution to attain a desired end.
Information provided by Thuja