THE LONG-EAR MONKEY ("TREE TIBBAR", "TREE RABBIT")

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - USAGES - MYTH/LORE

The Long-Ear Monkey or Ky'Mon Tibbar is a small mammal which looks like a crossbreed of a capou-capou, the Nybelmarian monkey, and a leveret rabbit ("Tibbar" is the common name for desert rabbits). It is about two fore in length, and its ears are a third of its bodylength. The ears are mainly used for heat loss, but also show its social status. The Ky'Mon Tibbar is highly intelligent and even uses some tools. This monkey lives in large "family trees", mainly in the the Open Woodlands in the Northern Ráhaz-Dáth, but also in adjacent forests when the woodlands fall dry. The Ky'Mon Tibbar is also often referred to as Tree Tibbar, Tree Rabbit, Jumping Long-Ear or simply Long-Ear.

Appearance. An adult Long-Ear female is around five to six palmspans in length, two and a half when on four feet and weighs two hebs. Males can grow up to nine palmspans from nose to tail, four to five spans in height and weigh around three and a half to four hebs.

Long-Ear fur is very fuzzy and soft and it is not very thick, it rarely reaches one nailsbreadth in length. Light brown is the colour most often seen on Long-Ears, though the fur’s colouring varies from Cyhalloi snow white over an Urmarillion yellow, a light Cinnabrown, to dark Eophran brown and sometimes even Nor‘sidian Black. There are also forms with spots, which are black spots of two to three nailsbreadths in diameter on a white fur. And though other combinations are possible they aren’t very common. The tail is a fluffy dot of white fur.

Long-Ears have slender, muscular tibbar-like bodies. Their muscles are developed for moving in trees and jumping from branch to branch. Because they spend their life in the trees they have an excellent balance. Their hind legs are longer than their forearms and are also more muscular, caused by the need to have to jump sometimes for great distances of over four peds. The feet are very rabbit-like and have curved claws, about one nailsbreadth long, with which they have a good grip on the tree bark. The forearms are very simian-like and are half the size of the hind legs. They have little hands with four fingers and a thumb, enabling them to grab hold of branches. Their fingers, as well as their feet, have claws for better grip.

The Long-Ears eyes are placed in front of the face allowing it to see depth, which is quite useful when climbing, and are always of a deep adlemirene brown. The tiny nose is a small hill flowing over its face; it doesn’t, as with most other animals, stick out. Around the nose there are some small whiskers.

However what does stick out are the Ky'Mon‘s ears. The females' ears are about a third of the animals size and are mainly used for loosing heat. They also give the animal an excellent hearing. With the males however, ears have an additional function. From the size of a male Long-Ear’s ear you can see what status it has within his group, also called "family". A low ranking male has the ear size of a female. A middle or high ranked male has ears with the length of half of its body. The dominant male has ears three quarters of its body length, sometimes even its full body length, though this is very rare. Male ears actually grow or shrink when the monkey climbs up or down the "social ladder".

There has been a field researcher by the name Peter Baaij, who has written a book about the Ky'Mon Tibbar. Here is an interesting part of it:

„... And then there was the dominant male, a magnificent animal. He was a little below three fores in length, plain white fur and dark hazel brown eyes. But what was most striking about him, as with most Ky'Mon Tibbars, were his ears: They must have been one ped and two palmspans in length...“ (p.35)

Though Baaij is known for his tall stories, this does give us an idea on how big Tree Tibbar ears can actually be. Return to the top

Special Abilities. Long-Ears are great climbers and jumpers. They can easily climb a large branchless tree by driving their claws deep into the bark of the tree, and jump more than four peds. They can smell pretty good and their eyesight is good too. Their hearing however is best, because of their large ears. Some say that they can hear a ter'ter walking from twenty peds away.

Long-Ears are very intelligent animals. They are able to learn and even use small tools. Examples of tools are: A stick to stir a piece of fruit from its branch when they can't reach it; a sharp stone to scrape bark of a tree, used for closing up their nest entrance; sticks and stones to throw at prey and predators like the ju'bat, birds of prey and large snakes.

One of their characteristics is their ability to work together. Baaij tells us of two occasions:

"A ju‘bat had managed to get hold of one member of their 'family', but the Long-Ears had noticed it in the moment it had happened and gathered around the predator, throwing branches at it, and the braver ones even went to the ground and picked up stones which they flung at it, so that it let loose of its prey, being severely disturbed by the action of the Tree Tibbar family." (p.48 )

"At another occasion, a bunch of meldar apples hung just out of reach of their sticks at the end of a branch. So, to my surprise, one of the female tibbars jumped on another reaching now with its stick up to the apples which it successfully harvested. Both animals shared the food afterwards." (p.49)

Nobody would ever manage to kill such a beast, if they weren‘t so curious. So they sometimes visit the outskirts of human settlements, but are quick to vanish immediately as well. They avoid nets easily and one has a hard time to aim an arrow at one moving quickly in a tree. Return to the top

Territory. Tree Tibbars live mostly in the Open Woodlands and adjacent forests, as long as they find enough food there. As soon as the forest dries out in summer, they move on to the Uderza woods and are seen as well up the slopes of the southern Nirmenith Mountains till down to the Oka‘Seri swamp as long as it is warm enough up there. They are not afraid of people and will live not only deep in the forests, but near settlements as well. Sometimes a family is heisting the fruit trees at the borders of Uderza. - Lore goes that a group of bold Tree Tibbars has even entered Bardavos and roamed the streets, causing havoc amongst fruit merchants.

The Tree Tibbars' habitat - as the name already implies - are trees, they prefer to live close to their food, so they often choose a fruit bearing tree for their home. Usually a family inhabits four to five trees. At the foot of the tree they dig a main cave which leads to several rooms. This is where the Long-Ears sleep and have shelter against the elements and predators. At night, or during heavy rainfall they close the entrance up by using pieces of wood. They get this wood by breaking it off the branches of trees, sometimes even using an axe-like stone to cut thicker branches. They place the wood pieces in rows on top of each other, using their own droppings as some kind of sturdy underground.
Return to the top

Habitat/Behaviour. Long-Ears form large groups of sometimes thirty animals, and these groups are called "families" because all females and youngsters within the group are related. Most of the time the adult females will be foraging or baby-sitting the little ones. If the children are not sleeping then they are playing. Jumping from branch to branch, annoying an elder by hanging on his ears and play fighting are the most common games they play.

The males are also gathering food but they don’t bother with the kids, instead they confront each other. Male Tree Tibbars have a strict hierarchy. The strongest male is the dominant male, as a sign of this his ears grow until they are bigger than all other ears (up to the full size of the animal). When going down the social ladder the ears become smaller, and the animal lowest in rank has therefore the smallest ears. It is a constant struggle for power, all of them want to be the dominant male, for only he may mate with the females. - Another intriguing part of the book the Ky'Mon Tibbar, by P. Baaij:

"One day I saw two youngsters. One of them had the usual brown colour and the other one was brown with black spots. Both of them couldn't be older than one year.

They were playing with each other when they stumbled upon a small lizard, who was warming itself in the morning sun. One of the young Long-Ears, the spotted one, quickly caught the lizard, but didn't kill it, and started to play with it.

Suddenly the dominant male appeared, white coat, with black spots, one ped from nose to tail and half a ped from foot to shoulder. A very large animal! - At his leisure he walked towards the two playing youngsters, grabbed the lizard, ate it and walked away again, leaving the kids behind confused."


This might give you an idea of how many power the dominant male has.“ (p. 56)

Fights amongst male Long-Ears are frequent and fierce. They slowly work their way up by confronting the male that is closest to them in social status, and when that animal is defeated its place is taken by the other. Most fights often don’t last very long, but when one finds his equal they will fight long and hard, sometimes till death.

Often males die at a young age, and almost none live to be as old as the females get, which is on average 20 to 25 years.
Return to the top

Diet. In the Open Woodlands the main food of the Long-Ears is the mo'chó'u caterpillar, the leaves, sometimes bark of the mo'Colo tree, blackberries and the hi'tohanna, a tasty grass growing in the Open Woodlands. Outside these forests they feed on any plant or fruit they find, preferable ones growing in trees. However, when they get the opportunity to grab something else they will eat that as well. They also eat bird and lizard eggs, insects, lizard and sometimes small mammals.
Return to the top

Mating. As said earlier only the dominant male has the right to mate, though sometimes a lower ranked male does it as well, when the dominant male doesn't look.

When a male wants to mate with a female he always has a particular animal in mind. He usually lets her know it by trying to mount her, females however aren’t pushovers and they will turn him down at first. To persuade a female the male has to bring her gifts, which can vary from food to pretty objects, like a flower or a shining rock. When this is done he will try to mount her again, and again she will turn him down.

Then the male hops around her in circles, on the ground of course, bringing her more gifts, usually flowers. After this he will stand in front of her waving his ears in big circles, he will then hop another circle, stand in front of her again, now making little squares with his ears. The bigger his ears are the better chance he has. However, if the dominant male is nearby, he has no chance in doing so.

After this is done he will try to mount her again. She will either allow this and they will mate, or she will turn him down and it will all start over again. Usually a male will give up after the second or third time and turn to another female.

Females are sexually mature at the age of four and males at five. After a five month pregnancy a female will give birth to one child, sometimes two. She will not allow any males to mate with her again until her child is two years old.
Return to the top

Usages. These animals can‘t be used widely, for they have to be caught first before their hide could be processed to one of the softest leather varieties you can get. The beautiful fur however does not last when they are dead, so if somebody offers you a Tree Tibbar fur, don‘t buy anything from him, for he is a cheater. Their meat is said to be a delicacy , but there are so few caught, despite every now and then a hunting party sets out from Varcopas to bring this popular prey down as long as they are in the Uderza woods, that not many can confirm this. One or the other Shendar might know it, for sometimes the Shen-Kha‘si have to kill some to prevent that the Tibbars harm the Mo‘Colo trees too much and endanger the silk harvest, but she would never admit, that she has eaten the meat of such an intelligent animal.

Sometimes, very rarely, Tree Tibbars are held as pets as well, but due to their nature, they are not recommended as such. That is only possible, however, if a family of Long-Ears is hunted and trapped, and a youngster is left back accidentally. And then only female youngsters are suitable, for males would try to fight everyone and everything it seems to be superior to it, be it a cat, a stripped kara or a child of its size. Females are better to have, but they often fall out of the favour of their owners, as soon as they start to live according their nature - that means climbing up everything - curtains, cupboards, etc., and unlike cats, they don‘t care if your valuable Uderza pottery is shattered or your new Shendar carpet is spoiled by their droppings. But not only that. Their curiosity and love to investigate things leads inevitably to the destruction of the investigated thing.

But when they are put in a cage they get bored and often depressed, resulting in the animal hurting itself or in most cases with its death.
Return to the top

Myth/Lore. Talia Sturmwind from the Shendar tells us following myth:

Jeyriall and the Long-Ears. When the world was freshly made the Long-Ear was a lovely animal roaming the grass plains of the northern Ráhaz-Dáth. Its fur was softer than any other of the beasts around, and the patterns pleased every eye. They played merrily with each other and not few gods stopped to observe them. It was loved dearly by some of the gods, especially Jeyriall, who had created them. But they had no more intelligence like any of the other beasts around. And so they were hunted - not only by the canny ju‘bat and other predators, but also by the aguia of the mountains. But Jeyriall loved her creation so much, that she didn‘t want to allow it vanish from Caelereth. So she asked Arvins, God of the Hunt, if he couldn‘t do anything about it. The hunting had to stop, otherwise there would be no more Long-Ears soon. But Arvins only raised his eyebrows, and Jeyriall knew, that he wouldn‘t do anything. Jeyriall asked Baveras for help, and the watergoddess created some springs and wells, so that part of the Northern desert could carry trees and some bushes with fruits. And so the Long-Ear changed from the Tibbar roaming the vast plains to the Tree Tibbar, his numbers increased again and for now its extinction seemed avoided.

But when the races arrived in the Ráhaz-Dáth during their migration to the south, all seemed to have been in vain. The numbers of the Ky‘mon Tibbar, as the humans called them, decreased so rapidly, for everybody valued their tender meat and their soft hides.

Jeyriall was desperate, and this time Baveras was of no help either. But out of the desperation an idea was born. What the Tree Tibbar needed to survive the attacks of the new predator was a trait of these very predators - and that was intelligence. So Jeyriall blessed her creatures with a small amount of intelligence and enabled them to use it to evade persecution, she even gave them the ability to use some tools to defend themselves against their predators or to gain food more easily.

Sharp tongues say, Jeyriall took the intelligence they gave their beloved animals from those of their - human - hunters.

Even a saying sprang out if this: "Hunting a Tree Tibbar" means nothing else than your hunt (what ever it is you want to achieve) is senseless and shows a lack of intelligence. Return to the top

Information provided by Thom View Profile