The Dugzard is a well-adapted creature to the dry and hot Desert Lands region of Mamphibireptile. Dugzards are small lizards, about 10.6 inches long and weighing on average six ounces when fully grown. A common sight in the desert, Dugzards make burrows similar to those of a prairie dog while hunting insects with surprising intelligence.
Dugzards weigh six ounces on average and live for twenty years. These lizards, however, have two front legs, but no hind limbs. Instead, a vestigial bone within its body takes the place of the legs. Though they spend most of their lives within fifty meters of their homes, they lost their hind legs to better adapt to crawling and digging. Additionally, they can use their strong abdominal muscles to slither like a snake.
Male Dugzards have sand-colored scales and a bearded frill that can fluff up like a peacock. The patterns on their beards have elegant colors useful for both attracting mates and scaring away enemies such as invading Dugzards and large birds. The males can also use their beards to cool down.
Females do not have beards, are dull in color, and are usually much stockier than their male counterparts. As the females do not have beards, they require spacey areas underground to keep cool.
The burrows the Dugzards dig are very deep in the ground. Some burrows can reach up to one mile down. Dugzards dig towns much like prairie dogs, but dig in a slightly different method. The Dugzards help themselves dig by eating some of the dirt. The dirt is not digested but instead rerouted from the stomach into a separate chamber known as an appendix. Usually, two hundred Dugzards are needed to build the underground towns because their appendices get full very quickly. When a Dugzard is full of dirt, it stops in the middle of its path letting others know that it needs to empty itself. However, the Dugzard can also use the stored dirt as a ranged attack against enemies.
Often, during mating season, male Dugzards will actively compete with one another by showing off their beards, but sometimes they may fight with each other until one gives up or dies. Males generally do not fight if they are directly related to each other. The females spend most of their time underground caring for their young which is thought to be uncommon among most reptiles. The only time females go to the surface is to mate or to evacuate in case of an emergency.
When a male Dugzard leaves its burrow, it patrols the perimeter of its home within a fifty-meter radius. These giant circles are scattered throughout the desert but have no marked boundaries. There, they search for burrows that have different patterns than their own. During mating season, females rise out of the burrows waiting to be attracted to another Dugzard. Also, Dugzards with their appendices full of dirt will be scattered throughout the circles, preparing to shoot at birds of prey and other creatures that find Dugzard as a delight. When two Dugzards match, they enter the burrow of the female’s and mate with each other. The female lays her eggs, usually five, at the lowest part of the burrow to control population. The female also keeps guard of her eggs. As these eggs are merely a few centimeters in diameter, they make a quick snack for any would be invaders
When the eggs hatch, the young Duglings remain in the room that they are born in. Duglings, when born, are only half of an inch long. The male will hunt for the female. The main source of food is small insects, plants, and grass. Due to the scarcity of water on the surface, the female must find her own water in the springs underground. Usually, these springs aren’t far from the birthplace. In order to get enough food for the female and Duglings, the male must eat at least twice its weight. After eating a lot, it moves slower because of dirt that it stores and the food. When the Dugzard finally reaches the burrow, it regurgitates most of its food and the female, and the Duglings eat the new meal. If a male Dugzard does not return within forty-eight hours upon leaving, a babysitter will take care of the young as they are assumed dead.
Duglings that reach age two will have grown to approximately three inches in length. Their parental guardian will start teaching them and the other Duglings how to hunt. The male shows where the sources of food are and how to get them. The male also teaches them on how to defend themselves. The male builds a rock pile and the Duglings will use their beards to knock down the pile, and later spray dirt at it. Females are also trained how to defend themselves as they are considered a last line of defense against outside predators trying to get their eggs.
The male also catches an Avstone, a small rock-armored bird with wings. Avstones are immune to the dirt sprays of Dugzards, but can be used as practice at shooting in the air. When training is done, the Avstone is released. After the male thinks the Duglings are well-trained, the Duglings are no longer cared for and will help volunteer for jobs in their home. After the Duglings are ten years old, they will be able to mate.
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