Jackalopes, or horned hares, are common in central Reimar and Shardustur. In summer they can be found slightly further north than otherwise. Male jackalopes grow to fifty centimeters on average, the females grow up to forty centimeters. The males have antlers that can grow up to twenty five centimeters in size, although twenty two is more common. Both sexes have small tusks that grow up to six centimeters.
Jackalopes usually congregate in packs of 25-35, unlike most rabbits or hares in Reimar. Although they are herbivores, they are territorial animals that will attack if they feel threatened. Despite their small size, they will attempt to fend off even a grown human by launching themselves with their powerful hind legs into an unfortunate human’s feet, shins, or thighs. A number of aggressive males can thus quickly inflict serious wounds, likely immobilising and then goring to death any would-be intruders. Jackalopes have been observed fending off wolves (although not always with success), who usually avoid them unless especially hungry.
Despite being larger than most small game, Reimaran nobles use various birds of prey to hunt jackalopes. Jackalopes are a popular dish for those who can afford them, as their meat is quite succulent and tender.
Domestication of the jackalope has been attempted before in Reimar, but has uniformly failed. The animals react poorly to attempts to being handled, and the males are territorial and aggressive. The females will attempt to gore anyone who comes near their young, and even with their small tusks they can injure an unprotected hand. Furthermore, much of the nobility’s enjoyment of eating jackalopes comes from hunting them first.
Visitors to Reimar who come from countries that have no native jackalope populations often scoff at “angry rabbits”, until their hosts inform them that the sight of a dozen angry male jackalopes goring a human to death is not on their list of preferred activities.
Sometimes referred to as solar hawks, grand hawks are nigh-mythical animals referred to in many old texts. They have either since died out, or never existed at all. The former seems more likely, as numerous mentons exist of the animal until around 180 C.E., and the last mention in any Reimaran texts is 209 C.E. Records indicate that the bird had a wingspan of well over three metres and was believed to be a solar emissary by older incarnations of various Suranic faiths. No known grand hawk populations exist at the current time.
Birds of Prey:
Reimaran nobles usually hunt with birds, although the specific method depends on the environment. In the more open regions of central and southern Reimar they will either have their birds circle a field for small game or have their master of the hunt release a particular animal into an area to be hunted. In northern Reimar, smaller hawks are preferred for their ability to move through forests and hunt jackalopes in the summer, although dogs are sometimes used to flush small game out for the birds to catch. Most catches are a variety of rabbit and mice, both of which are usually prepared and eaten after the hunt. The dwarf pig, a smaller relative of most farm pigs, is also enjoyed. For those nobles who have access to lakes or rivers, fish can also be hunted. It is considered exceedingly bad form for one noble’s hunting bird to be attacked by another noble’s hunting bird. A skilled falconer will not fail to find good employment in Reimar.
Many different kinds of bird can be found, from peregrine falcons to white-tail eagles. A consistent favourite is the Monai Eagle, measuring 70-85 centimetres in length with a wingspan of just over two metres. The Monai eagle possesses unusually strong wings, and is noted for carrying off prey large for it’s size, such as dwarf pigs.
Owls are the one bird of prey that finds itself less popular than others, mainly due to their oddly-shaped faces. That said, the du Greco’s are noted for having a sizable population of owls in their aviary.
Richer nobles will usually have larger aviaries, and most Reimaran marquesses or dukes can boast a sizable assortment of birds.
Rare in Reimaran water, the sea serpent is the bane of sailors in the Temera ocean. Large aquatic predators that usually hunt fish, sharks or squid, the sea serpent is an aggressive and territorial animal that will attack even larger ships at sea. Although they usually can’t seriously harm a larger vessel, they almost entirely preclude large-scale fishing along Iber’s eastern coastline. In the summer, sea serpents can sometimes be found as far west as the Reimaran Archipelago, and (rare) recorded sightings exist in the waters near Southmere Town.
Even if they are unable to sink a larger ship, sea serpents make travel across the Temera ocean hazardous and costly, as they will tear at a ship’s hull and batter it, increasing maintenance costs. The most damage they can do a larger vessel is to smash it’s rudder. For this reason, most Sharan, Arnish, Narchen, Arnagoli, Archipelegan and Jurienese ships have heavier than average rudders with as much reinforcement as possible.