The Pard (plural "Pardurin") is a spotted cat, ruling over many plains in southern and mid Santharia. With its long, elongated figure and strange, massive legs, it ranks as one of the largest cats on the continent, as well as one of the most feared. Itís ferocity, however, does not stop it from being hunted by those eager to make a profit by selling its beautiful coat.
Image description. Evening at the Narfost plain: Two pardurin watching the day's end. Picture by Bard Judith.
The Pardurin body is
elongated, compared to most big cats, and they have short, muscular legs to hold
their weight, which ranges between half a pygge to a little less than two
pygges. Their bodies are about one and a half to two and a half peds, making
them a large cat indeed. Their tails are long, slender, and can be used for
balance, as these cats will sometimes scale trees to keep the remains of their
last kill out of the paws of scavengers. These tails can be up to over two
fores. Many measurements such as length of their body and tail and weight may
vary depending on gender, age, and geographical location.
A Pardís coat is often short, as they tend to live in hot climates; however, they also exist in colder climates in which case they have more furred coats. Pardurin coats are beautiful and prized because of their spots. The color of their coat can vary greatly, but it is usually a pale straw to an orange-yellow with dark spots on the legs, head, throat, and chest. On the shoulders, back, and flanks, they have rosettes, usually enclosing an area somewhat darker than the background of the coat. The Pardurin coat turns to a white to off-white color on the lower parts of the head, such as the lower jaw and the chin, the neck, the insides of the legs as well as the fingers of the paws, the underside of the tail, and, of course, the belly. In rare cases, a Pard may be black as well. However, even in this black color, the spots are still visible in proper light.
Pardurin are often regarded as the best stalkers out of all the big cats on the
Sarvonian continent. They can stalk an
animal for quite a long ways before finding the opportune time to pounce upon
the unsuspecting prey. Pandurin are also very intelligent. They know to stalk
from an upwind position so their prey cannot smell them and, for this reason,
have a higher rate of success in hunting than most other animals. Pandurin tend
to be extremely agile, able to scale trees while carrying their kills, which may
weigh nearly a pygge! They also have a keen sense of sight and hearing.
Territory. Pardurin have a wide range in Santharia. They can be found in nearly any brushy plain in mid and southern Santharia, including the Narfost Plain, where they will sometimes compete with oracau for food and territory. They live in flat, grassy plains around the mountains and forests of Southern to mid Santharia. Pardurin have a more prominent existence in Southern Santharia simply because pouching has driven them out of the more populated mid Santharia.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Pardurin live exclusively on plains where their spotted coat helps them blend in with the tall grasses. They prefer habitats containing a few trees as though they have a place to rest and store their kills as so they are out of the reach of scavengers. They are very sleek and agile animals with intelligence and ability that helps them to catch prey more easily than most. They have uncanny balance that allows them to move along the branches of trees rather quickly if need be. When they arenít hunting, they tend to rest up in trees or in the grasses. They are often solitary animals unless they are grouped as a male Pandurin and his mate or a female with cubs.
Diet. Pardurin are carnivores and tend to feast on many species of deer such as the starback and the prieta. They may also feed on a variety of rabbits and other small rodents, but their main diet consists of deer.
Mating. Female Pardurin tend to go into heat in late summer or autumn. Sensing this heat, male Pardurin will urinate excessively to both mark his territory but, more importantly, to signal to the females that an available male is nearby. The females aren't as selective as most, but they do tend to prefer larger, healthier males to scrawny, unhealthy ones. Usually the mating process is quick. After this takes place, the male and females will stay with each other throughout the female's pregnancy.
In late winter and spring, a female Pard will birth a litter of no more than three cubs. The average number of cubs in a Pardurin litter is about two. The male will hunt for the family and for the mother until she recovers her strength then leave her to care for the cubs on her own. After about 5 or 6 months, the cubs are ready to go out on their own and the mother will go into heat again within the year.
Origin. Like many of the cats in Santharia, it is said that Parudrin lived near the Ancythrian Sea in former times. It is believed that this is where the cats originated from before moving out into mid and south Santharia.
Usages. Pardurin have yet to be domesticated. Many have tried, but in captivity the great cats expressed increased ferocity and hostility to even one another and there have been accounts of attempting to mate two Pardurin in captivity and having one kill the other. Usually these cats would die after the first few months of captivity due to disease or unwillingness to ingest food.
Differences Between the Pard and the Shingar. Though the Pard shares many common traits with the shingar, they arenít the same. The shingar tends to live in tropical forests exclusively in Southern Santharia while the Pard tends to live in less humid plains in mid and southern Santharia. The heads of the Pard also isnít as round as the shingarís and the Pard doesnít have as much aerial skill as the shingar neither. Pardurin are also less mysterious and black species are more common at shingars. Both cats are very close relatives, and both seem to have originated at the same regions near the Ancythrian Sea.
Information provided by Rayne Avalotus