Length: 40-50 meters (70 meters documented) Height: 8-12 meters at the shoulders (18 meters documented in the above individual) Weight: 1500- 2500 kg (5000 kg in the largest documented individual) Physical Traits: Considerable Sexual Dimorphism Strong armored hide plates, have been documented to repel blasters and slug throwers
Highly heat and cold resistant, theorized that the heavy hide plates aid in insulation
Powerful but short forelegs and hindquarters, hindquarters longer than forelegs giving the beasts something of a sloped appearance when viewed from the side, though does not seem to hinder running ability as the powerful hind legs tend to push rather than being used for balance. This has also been observed as an aide in burrowing activity.
Able to spew a flaming liquid, probably phosphate based
Armored spikes come off the head of both sexes, and males particularly have long bony spikes coming from the end of the tail
Highly resistant to toxic and acidic environments Life Style and Habits: At all ages the Ramashnan avoid water, while they can swim, they often avoid doing so. Their preferred habitat is rocky volcanic ground for burrows, often laying very near open lava vents or having a shallow burrow dug into what would be scalding rock for Humans. The reason for this is unknown.
Both sexes and the young tend to hunt from the air or ground, with the males more apt to hunt from the air as they grow larger, with females hunting in shorter aerial pursuits once quarry has been flushed into the open.
It has been observed that for sometimes unexplained reasons a Ramashnan may enter a burrow and go into hibernation for up to 50 years or more, based on the metabolic rate of creatures that have been crushed or dug up in their burrows by the strip mining on Sump, almost always resulting in the death of the animal before it can free itself from the crushing amounts of weight loosened from the mining activity above them.
The young have been observed to breath fire, mostly in a defense action, gradually using the ability less and less as they grow larger than other predators, except larger Ramashnan. The use of flame has also been seen during courtship combat when involving two females battling over a male, though the flame is used as a way to show strength and health and not used upon each other. This behavior has been observed in other reptilian species that have dangerous attributes but deliberately do not employ certain attributes against one another.
Males also are thought to use such displays to frighten off smaller males rather than having to fight over territorial boundaries, the males being able to produce more efficient flame at higher altitudes than the females.
Young: After an incubation of an estimated 3 years the young hatch from eggs approximately 1 kilometer below the surface, near volcanic vents that presumably help incubate the eggs. From this point the small Ramashnans must burrow their way to the surface in order to hunt. There is less than a 10% survival rate on this 1 week trip. It is theorized that the young that hatch late use the burrows of the first hatch and eat their hatchmates who have exhausted themselves digging through the thickest soil. The more accepted theory however is that he first to hatch cannabilize on their unhatched clutchmates as a food source as it has been recorded (from holo logs unfortunately for the discoverers) that the hides of the emerging young are quite tough by this point. Those that did not have strong hide plates often had spots that were rubbed raw and bleeding by the tough stone grating against them and the young beasts that this occurred to rapidly became infected and either died of the infection or were picked off by other predators.
After emerging from their burrows from their hatching site, the young Ramashnan quickly scattered, learning how to fly within hours of emerging from the ground, the tops of their wings being a series of strong folded plates over a thinner connecting membrane that is exposed when in flight. The young are approximately 1m in length for both sexes at this point and grow 1 meter per year until their 10th year when they reach sexual maturity.
Until this point in time Ramashnans of both sexes hunt from the air, on the ground, and by burrowing after smaller predators, digging them out of their dens, even to the point of tunneling some distance below ground to attack a den from underneath, again their tough hide plates protecting them. While in flight however there is a portion of the hide normally covered by the wing plates and membrane that is exposed, being substantially thinner the closer to the base of the wing going up from the belly, and can expose a weak point. This weakpoint is somewhat countered however by the formation of a thick cartilaginous mass that grows along the outside of the ribcage that anchors the powerful flight muscles in the chest and along the flanks as apparently the use of the wings is only a fairly recent genetic adaptation or extension discussed below.
Females: The females are particularly aggressive when looking to mate during the rut, which can occur at any time of the year, but it is guessed that the times between mating seasons can last more than a decade for each individual female. During this time the females become very violent with any other female either driving off or killing a rival, the male in question will only mate with the female that has bested the others in his territory, and will not mate with another female until a new female has bested the current mate, or the alpha female dies.
The females territories center around open volcanic or other hot spots on the planet, which are used as incubation aides when nesting occurs. In between mating periods the females will dig any number of burrows or dens in the tough basaltic rock constantly testing their armored hide plates as a side affect. The reason for the constant digging is unclear, though it is possible the female is simply very picky with the exact location or temperature for a nest, as it has been suggested from partially observed activity that a female will not come into season before creating a nesting burrow that suits her.
Males: Males of the species are hatched with much less regularity than females, one perhaps hatching in two or three nestings, and tend to be bigger than the females. When nearing sexual maturity the males grow large forward pointing horns that grow down and then forwards out of their heads, as compared to the females horns growing dominantly towards the rear from their heads. Males also have horns lining the underside of their belly which may aid in defense in combat from another male attacking from below.
The males territory may cover more than 50 million square kilometers and encompass a number of female’s territories. While not as aggressive during mating season as females, the males are extremely territorial of their hunting areas and will kill rival males for intruding upon their territory. It is guessed that this is due to the limited amount of food available to feed such alpha predators or perhaps to help ensure healthier females.
During mating season the male will stick closer to the volcanic areas where the females tend to cluster, even though that may be 1 female in 500,000 square kilometers. At this point the male will tease the females, enticing a number of them into range of one another and then circle above them to observe the outcome of the competition, allowing him to conserve strength for the mating and defending his territory.
Evolutionary History: Ramashnan are thought to be the descendants of Duinuogwuin as they share some characteristics of them, but more importantly have been shown to have some genetic markers that are also present in the three Krayt Dragon subspecies of Tatooine, which are also thought to have been descended from Star Dragons. Certain abilities such as the ability to breathe fire, independent wings from their forelegs and extremely long estimated life spans help support this theory, as does the fact that there are no genetic relatives on Sump.
As has been described above each aspect of the Ramashnan has to do typically with survival or mating pressure. Other aspects have come into play and may help explain the extreme rarity of the beasts, more so than could probably be expected were the activities of sentient beings not had such a profound affect on the beasts home planet of Sump.
It is theorized that the Ramashnan were descended from the ‘unintelligent’ offspring of a pair or more of Duinugwuin that lived on Sump some time before the colonization of Sump. During the time the offspring survived and bred to the point that sentient beings arrived to colonize Sump several things seem to have been lost in abilities from the original mating Star Dragons (Duinuogwuin). The organs that formed natural repulsorlifts seem to have been lost and stronger wings seemed to allow better survival for the new hatchlings, as well as those same hatchlings being able to obtain food. Likewise the burrowing habits seem to be an instinct that developed for egg survival as the natural predators of the planet would have been able to destroy clutches of eggs that are merely buried due to the long incubation (several years) of the eggs.
The ability to survive vacuum is questionable as it has never been documented that a Ramashnan has made it into space, and it can be assumed that they are not capable of doing so, especially as they have lost the repulsor type organs that would allow them to move in a vacuum in at least a limited degree.
The Ramashnan’s ability to survive extreme cold appears to have come from the males habit of flying over large territories, allowing themselves to be carried high with the additional aid of thermal updrafts (solar and recently volcanic) to very high altitudes with very low temperatures and loitering for long periods of time, (sometimes several weeks for males) and seems to have been passed on. A side affect of this is that the males of the species have impressive eyesight.
The eyes of the Ramashnans are not built in cones and rods like the galaxies common humans, but instead are like a series of mirrored plates that focus the available light onto a set of optic nerves which the intensity of the light allowed in is controlled by a vertical iris. In addition the reletively recent toxicity and acidity of Sump’s atmosphere due to strip mining has seen the development of a second transparent eyelid over not just the males eyes but the females as well. The females vision is not as keen as the males, though is still better than the other species of the planet, several times better than the other much smaller aerial predators of the planet.
While a nest has never been examined, the broken eggs have been uncovered, albeit heavily damaged, from strip mining operations with an average range of between 60 and 50, depending on the account that is used. The fact that it is mostly miners who made the accounts makes this something of a disputed point as nests were more and more rarely uncovered and original accounts can no longer be verified do to the original miners being dead for many years by the time this report has been filed.
With the occupation of Sump by Sith who created dark force focal points which have affected the Ramashnan in the local area, twisting them to be more aggressive and use some of their natural abilities in more aggressive ways than their normal reclusive behavior normally would dictate.
Because the Sith of Sump have yet to collect a live specimen, the species was considered extinct and its abilities mere legend. However, recent events during the night hours of Sump have lead some to believe that there are Ramashnans that still live and have become awakened from their dormant state.