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Yep, I'm back with another predator question! Before I even posting Creating a Predator For Plops, I knew I'd have to post similar questions for Chompers, Snappers, and Anklebiters (the last will come after a question about them.)

Chompers are giant eggs with large, strong jaws, enamel-hard shells, and two legs with suction-cup feet. They are the size of a elephant bird egg, can eat almost anything, and are generally immune to poison. If their shell is shattered, they have gelatinous insides (they're basically a living, slick gummy) so they can hopefully slip out of the jaws of death. That being said, as common as they are, there will be Chomper predators.

What hurts is that Chompers, like Plops, grow by eating. Every time they reach capacity, they harden and grow slightly-just enough to notice-until they reach the size of an average boar, sprout a second pair of limbs, and become a quadruped. Because of this Chompers have two names, based off their number of limbs: Biped and Quad. Bipeds are kind of clumsy and have a max speed of 10 mph, while Quads can reach 28 mph and are surefooted as a typical goat (not a mountain goat, just a farm goat).

This being said, there are some egg-eating predators who can do it:

  1. Snakes-There are egg-eating snakes, and while they're typically small (and eat small eggs), judging by their success in Florida, pythons are aggressive, adaptive, and can most definitely eat even a Quad if they want to. The only problem will be the Chomper's immunity to constriction.....

  2. Mustelids-Polecats, weasels, stoats, and ferrets are all avid egg thieves. However, being sneaky is one thing; taking down a lethal predator capable of chomping through a wood door as a baby with such incredible defenses and voracious hunger is quite another. That said, mongoose are in this family, and they should be brave enough to attack the vulnerable eyes....

  3. Foxes-This should surprise no one. While they aren't exactly strong, they are fast, agile, and very clever, and in a world with Chompers, something tells me they'll learn to be aggressive against the hungry hordes of eggs. Seriously, in a world full of dangerous monsters, foxes will need to get smarter and either fight, hide, or run harder.

  4. Corvids-Also should surprise no one. As intelligent as a Biped (Quad have pig-level intelligence, which should be higher? Please correct me if I'm wrong on that count), but much faster, capable of flight, and of course much more capable of tool use (and they work with wolves) they could be a real threat to Chompers.

  5. Raccoons, rats, squirrels-Raccoons are probably the most dangerous of the three, with their humanoid hands, capacity for tool use, and already considerable intelligence. They would likely get smarter due to the challenges presented by monsters, while rats would likely develop swarms in order to protect themselves from Plops and Chompers, allowing them to overwhelm and devour the latter species. Squirrels, however? Somehow I doubt they'll qualify as a good option.

  6. Hedgehogs, badgers-Hedgehogs actually love to eat bird eggs, but they're small and therefore weak and probably won't be able to pose much of a threat. Badgers, however, are tough, aggressive and powerful creatures that would probably smash through an attacking Chomper's shell and eat it alive for having the gall to attack it.

  7. Insects-Insects eat eggs all the time, if only other insect eggs, but I really just put them here because they seem to be the sort of creature that would benefit from Calcification, potentially leading to fantasy-style giant insects.

The problem here? Calcification. It seems a rather unhelpful enchantment overall, leading to the exact opposite of hypermobility and a propensity for being hard and tough but brittle, sort of like a bug's chitin. However, it makes a creature stronger, and also makes its teeth and claws harder and sharper, and I have to wonder what kind of creature would be able to succeed despite Calcification.

Thus, my question is: what would serve as the best predator (or predators) for Chompers?

Specifications For Best Answer:

  1. The best answer will analyze and account for the effects of Calcification on a predator to determine if it can or cannot handle it to survive effectively.

  2. The best answer will also cover which predator is the most efficient egg-eater and whether it will be effective against Chompers, or whether a predator could (and would evolve) to be effective against Chompers. This will require one to read the link titled "Chomper."

  3. Finally, the best answer will cover whether any potential Chomper predator can become capable of not only preying on Chompers but their evolutions as well. If the answer is no, the best answer will have at least some idea of what could fit the bill (and for the sake of answering this question, please assume prehistores like Titanoboa, Sarcosuchus, Carbonemy, and of course T.rex and Deinonychus exist in this world).

Please Note: Low-fantasy is kind of a misnomer, my world was plenty of magic but also generally ascribes to natural laws outside that. If there are problems with my question, or if you decide to downvote or VTC, please let me know (or know why) so I can improve this question.

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    $\begingroup$ A serious problem I find with ALL your animals is that you give them both the traits of highly invasive species, low trophic level organisms, superpredators, yet also endemic to the area rather than newly introduced such that they have not yet caused an ecosystem collapse. There's no balance. They breed in quantity like low trophic level organisms, have access to the abundant food sources that low tropic level organisms do, yet have all the traits of superpredators. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Apr 2 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen: I should probably clarify, thanks. Their fecundity is to enable their survival in the face of bloodthirsty adventurers, which are known for singlehandedly causing extinction through "XP grinding." Also, this world is new, along with its monsters, so they aren't actually endemic. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 2 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ None of your "predators" would work, since they typically do not prey upon large (elephant bird egg-sized) living animals in the first place. Much less large animals with a hardened shell. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Apr 3 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ In general animals only eat things that pose little risk to themselves. For example things that (a) don't move or (b) are much smaller than the predator or (c) can be killed quickly. For example by ambush or by hunting in groups. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Apr 3 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ In all likelihood the main predator of chompers is not something like mundane rats or racoons, but one of the other superpowered animals in your universe. I suggest asking a question about ecology between all the different superpowered animals rather than separate questions asking what mundane animal can eat each one separately. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Apr 3 at 16:10
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You might be looking at this from the wrong angle

You see, it's true that chompers are egg shaped creatures and really seem like a tougher and less friendly version of humpty dumpy who lost a pair of limbs, but the truth here is that their similarities basically stop at the shape.

Let's look at one of the predators you mentioned: egg eating snakes have a great sense of smell, which is very important to them. Why? Not only because they need to find eggs, but because they need to know which of said eggs have been recently laid, because these snakes simply swallow an egg, crack it with a protrusion of their spine, squeeze the liquid out into the stomach and then vomit the shell, problem is, they can't really digest an egg with an embryo already forming in it, so they're already outside of the question.

Your chompers may look like eggs, but a chomper predator won't really be something that eats eggs that put up a fight, they'll look more like the predators who regularly feed on armored prey. Arthropod eaters, armadillo predators and things that eat crocodilians are much better contestants in this situation.

With that out of the way, let's talk about why THE OCTOPUS is once again the best- I'm joking, they fit the criteria of predator that eats hard shelled prey (especially crabs) but this time there are better examples to base our predator on:

1-Jaguar: these are the definition of an overpowered animals by natural standards. They're fairly good at climbing, they swim well and they have the strongest bite proportional to size of any feline. What does that mean? That they can easily eat Turtles and crush the back of the skulls of caiman and other prey. Aka they pack a mean bite, and the fact that they have great climbing and swimming skills (plus a running speed of around 50km/h or 31 mph) means a magical variation of a jaguar could most likely deal with your chompers' annoying armor just fine.

2-crocodilians: when it comes to cracking something, pressure and strength are important, therefore it's not hard to picture that the group of animals that pack the strongest bite in the modern animal kingdom couldn't be left out. Much like jaguars, some crocodiles also eat Turtles. A little less like jaguars, crocodilians also have the habit of dragging prey they can't easily finish into the water and drown them, something that usually involves them performing their infamous death roll. With this set of skills, powerful muscles and great swimming ability, I don't doubt they could deal with a chomper.

3-spiders: while not as large as the other examples, spiders have a group of behaviors that make them be mentioned here.

One-many spider weave webs and other traps meant to, well, trap their favored prey, from nets, strings of silk with glue at the tip to even no webbing at all, they are a group of successful hunters that also hunt prey with shells as tough as theirs.

Two: some spiders are known to integrate iron into their fangs throughout their lives, so that they are tougher than the chitin armor they need to pierce. Some spiders at the end of their lives will have fangs essentially made of metal, which is precisely what would help penetrating a tough shell.

Three: spiders ALSO like to "spit acid", except that they don't spit it at their prey per say, they inject it. Spiders are known to preform something called extracorpoeal digestion, meaning that they'll inject venom into their prey, which will both paralyze it and liquefy its insides after some time, at which point they'll simply drink the solution, turning the annoying shell into a convenient bowl.

Now that we've clarified a few slightly better contestants, let's elaborate on one necessary rule: no matter what these predators are, they most certainly WILL HAVE or at least will need some level of chomper acid resistance or countermeasure. if chompers are their main prey and we haven't completely abandoned natural selection, chances are that the animals which didn't have any resistance to it died or weren't ass successful in breeding (due to severe injuries), with the other alternative being that the successful ones learned how to force them to puke it all out before safely finishing them.

With all of those done, the easiest option would be to just "magic-alize" these animals so that they can fit into your world (yeah you'd have magical giant spiders but we have magic, the square cube law has little power in here).

Another, more interesting option would be to make a magical hybrid that mixes their best traits. A good example would be a reptilian version of a jaguar with a skull slightly more remiscent to that of a crocodile, packing an even stronger bite (also add in a dunkleosteus' plates instead of teeth for both slicing and cracking potential, with traces of iron in them for additional toughness and more pressure at specific points) and being in between endothermic and exothermic, with a thick armor of osteoderms to help it resist the chonper's acid and powerful limbs for climbing, running and swimming (maybe even make the tail something in between crocodile and jaguar for some additional aquatic prowess and a strong tail swipe ability at the cost of some mobility [unless you also just magic it so that the tail doesn't hider it at all cause impossibly strong and dense muscles]). Another thing important to mention is that, most likely, it will be smarter than the chomper (potentially plopper level intelligence at least would be the ideal scenario), since their natural abilities won't be much useful if their prey can easily outsmart them and throw a bucket worth of acid into their mouths Godzilla 2014 style. I'm fairly certain this deathjaw (that's what I'll be calling this magical animal) would certainly be more than able to hunt and eat chompers just fine. Regarding acid resistance and countermeasures, they might simply rely on their scaly armor, or also pin the chomper down and fool it via patterns in its long tail to make it think it's a head and make it puke all of its nasty acid out, finishing it with a powerful bite and eating its soft insides peacefully. Regarding size, making them the size of a slightly bigger jaguar or even allowing it to get as big as a saltwater crocodile (around 5.2 meters or 17 ft long , with about half of it being the tail) will be up to you, just remember that if their Jaws must at least be able to fit a chomper inside them.

Now, while still focusing on the deathjaws, could they deal with the evolved chompers? Well... Let's first sum up WHAT they'd need to hunt.

Glutton: is as big as a small car, can vomit out enough acid to fill a tub, an acid that's 4 times tougher than a chomper's, are as heavy as an hippo and can somehow support their weight while climbing walls, aka very strong legs.

Savage: is as big as a bear, can and will ignore even life threatening wounds, are almost entirely covered in an armor that's essentially on the level of some metals, are armed with large razor sharp talons, are about as smart as a human being, are able to MAKE AND USE TOOLS and are presumably also equipped with great speed and sharp reflexes due to how well they can dodge.

So? Can a deathjaw hunt these down? Maybe, if we give them lazer vision and a super saiyan transformation, because I'm fairly certain that nothing that's ever walked on this lovely planet could get close to beating them, unless they were to stand completely still and let a sauropod squish them dead. One of them is a bear on steroids with the brain of a human and knifes for claws, the other is essentially a living tank that can shoot extremely potent magic acid out of its mouth. Even if we were to say dewthjaws hunt and live in large packs, they'd likely still wouldn't be able to even fight these things for territory without expecting massive casualties and a lost battle. The only way for them to be able to perform these feats would inquire at least 2 upgrades so that we don't make them just mutated humans on steroids:

1-their acid resistance is now at glutton level, meaning they don't really need to worry about what the chompers produce because they can handle much worse.

2-They have the magical ability [sizeshifter], which allows them to freely scale their size up and down according to the situation without the issues that'd arise from such variation, aka they can turn small without freezing and become large enough to make a glutton look like a chomper in proportion without getting crushed by their own weight, with their muscle power also scaling accordingly (meaning when smaller they can't bite as hard, but when bigger they can crush a truck under their Jaws). This way if they meet a glutton they can just grow and crush it as if it was a chomper, if they find a chomper they do as they normally would and if they meet a savage they just become smaller, climb on it and then expand in size, either pinning the savage down under its weight before crushing its head region with a single bite or simply growing until they crush it (and everything else around) and then just scrape their squashed bodies off the floor to eat.

Now that we dealt with predation, there's one last item to be checked: what about the calcification spell and it's effects on the deathjaw? Well this is relatively easy to solve, since the main problems of it seem to be located in the period between consuming the first chomper and eating the 12th one: while deathjaws are usually solitary in their young years, they are monogamous animals that mate for life and take very good care of their young. Deathjaws have a slow reproduction rate, raising only one cub at a time. When cubs are born, the males begin to hunt for both themselves, the female and the cub, while the female takes care of the child in a hidden den. The father will hunt for all 3 members while the mother will remain with the cub in their den while it "develops". Once the father brings a chomper, usually semi dead and with a half-cracked shell, the mother will finish it and feed their soft insides to the cub. While initially this will make the young one weaker and thus much more vulnerable (the reason why the female will never leave its side), once it eats the 12 chompers it needs, it will become significantly stronger, larger and more capable, at which point it will be considered as fully developed and will start hunting with both parents for an additional six months before it leaves its parents to live and hunt alone until it finds its own mate. This period is necessary for the parents to be able to properly teach the developed cub how to hunt effectively its 3 different types of prey and how to engage them. Thanks to this behavior, all deathjaws that make it to adulthood are essentially "skelly" variants of the species, since becoming a fully fledged skelly is directly associated with their development into young adults ready to learn how to hunt.

After all of this it's clear that I'm suggesting in the desthjaws a very overpowered creature that has an extremely powerful bite, sharp bony plates to both slice or crush their prey, a good domain over both land and water (they can swim well, climb well and run fast), a bony armor resistant magic acid and intelligence potentially on par with some hominids, as well as the ability to change its size at will to fit the situation it's in. The problem is that they need to be overpowered if they hope to fit the niche of predator to the evolutions of a chomper, which themselves are a mix of traits you'd normally only find in creatures that essentially have no natural predators as adults. So yeah, this, much like my plop predator, is something that will probably have no effort hunting down basically anything it finds. The only reason I think it wouldn't be a problem to humans is that chompers seek human settlements, which means that if you as a deathjaw ensure the humans are safe, they keep living where they are and thus keep acting as great Bait for your food. Also they've been sharing some food with you so no downs so far.

Edit: since I've already talked about both crocodiles and jaguars in a single animal (simply because I thought it'd be cooler to fuse them into a single more versatile predator that has the best of what they can offer) and you've asked me to introduce a version of our third contestant here it goes: how would a spider need to adapt to be an efficient predator for chompers and their evolved variants? Surprisingly, not all that much.

The slingers are a very special species of spider that doesn't seem all that special at first. Much like other ground spiders, they patrol on the ground hunting for prey. Unlike many other ground spiders however, they possess 2 very special traits:

1-while their bodies aren't all that special, their webs are particularly interesting due to them being both incredibly strong and almost completely unaffected when exposed to a glutton's acid due to being covered in a particular substance of unknown formula. While it doesn't mean that the web is completely immune to the acid, it does mean it can usually withstand it for a fair amount of time.

2-these spiders, for unknown reasons, also possess the [sizeshifter] ability, although unlike the deathjaw's version of this ability their maximum size is clearly defined and limited to that of a large black bear. This however doesn't hinder them much due to the way they hunt.

While they'll grow to larger sizes while looking for food in order to cover more ground, once they detect a chomper the slinger will immediately revert to the size of a normal ground spider, approaching it almost unnoticed due to its small size. Once it gets close enough however it will immediately increase its size and use its special spinnerets: much like other ground spiders, the slingers produce large amounts of durable and resistant silk that they'll directly shoot at prey at high speeds in order to immobilize them, and when it comes to the chompers, their primary targets are the mouth, gluing it shut, and the legs which will leave it stuck in place for more than Long enough for the spider to go towards its back and pierce the shell with its long, durable fangs rich in metal deposits. If all goes well, the spider then injects its venom, which spells the end of the chomper due to it being more than strong enough to paralyze its much larger and tougher evolutions. After a while, the venom will almost completely liquefy the chomper's innards, which will then be drunk by the spider.

When hunting gluttons and savages however, it's strategy changes slightly. When it finds a glutton it won't bother trying to keep shut a mouth that's mostly kept open, instead repositioning itself at the back of the glutton, shooting its web at the legs in order to keep it from turning fast enoug. It will then climb on its back to deliver the final blow. A desperate and starving slinger that failed to find other prey might even shoot web at its own legs if the glutton struggles too much, in order to prevent itself from falling from its back. This however can result in its death should the glutton free itself on time and roll over before the venom can kick in. In case of a savage however, the slinger will usually try to climb it unnoticed by either further shrinking itself to climb it or by climbing a tree and dropping on top of it. At this point, the spider will increase to its max size and immediately attempt to immobilize as many of the savage's limbs as it can, gluing them either to the savage's own body or to the ground. Once it's sufficiently restrained, the spider will use its Trump card, only possible due to their metallic fangs being mostly inorganic and essentially immune to the monster's acidic blood. Some tall tales speak of a slinger that tried speeding up a savage's death by repeatedly stabbing its neck and eyes. A slinger will only attempt to finish a savage if it manages to succeed at the initial ambush. If it fails, it will usually either sprint away or shrink in order to hide from it until it has a chance to escape unnoticed.

As to how it deals with the calcification spell: it usually "doesn't". As it functions mostly as an ambush predator that relies heavily on its special web slinging abilities to safely kill prey larger than itself, it usually doesn't need to worry too much about the period in which it's exoskeleton becomes more fragile, especially since during this period they're known for focusing mostly on hunting chompers and other less risky prey.

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    $\begingroup$ Very good answer, I like the Deathjaw concept! This would be a very good predator for Chompers, but I also want to explore the other three natural options because come on, giant spiders! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 3 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias do you want me to add in a more developed idea of the giant spider option? Their main issue is how most spiders rely on venom to kill, which is a problem since your chonoers seemed to have a certain resistance to (unless they aren't actually resistant to the proteins that compose the venom but only to whatever other chemicals the humans managed to get) . $\endgroup$ Apr 3 at 13:57
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    $\begingroup$ I would say that Chompers are immune to poisons when it comes to ingestion, meaning their digestive system is nigh-invulnerable, but the rest of them? Not so much. Inject the poison into anything other than their mouth or stomach, and the spiders should be fine. So yeah, that'd be great! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 4 at 2:05
  • $\begingroup$ @There. I also noticed I didn't explain how the deathjaw would deal with the calcification spell, so I added that as well. $\endgroup$ Apr 4 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ Good job, ProjectApex! I didn't think of the [sizeshifter] ability at any point for a monster, though it does seem intriguing. I might go without and use handwavium (and the natural growth of a Slinger and Deathjaw) to say they simply take on larger Chompers as they grow. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 5 at 14:34
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Two-Teir Ecology.

I am posting a second answer, since this one also applies to many of your other recent questions about superpowered monster ecology. Reading all those questions together I gather you want a world with the following:

(a) RPG style leveling. Meaning some people/creatures are 100s times stronger/more talented than others. In this case that means huge super-durable, super fast flesh eating egg monsters, and also bands of adventurers who can kill them for EXP grinding.

(b) Everything else largely unchanged. In this case that means the egg-monsters do not completely unbalance the local ecology.

Essentially you want a mundane world and RPG world that exist on top of each other, but don't interact to so huge a degree that the RPG world completely changes the mundane world. You have many questions about how to micromanage these two conditions.

I think you are overcomplicating it. All you need is a mechanic to force non-interaction. I propose the following:

Mundane creatures survive by eating each other. Mundane foxes eat mundane mice and insects and eggs. RPG creatures on the other hand survive by consuming mana (or other buzzword). This is the same power-source that makes the creatures super-strong and also makes adventurers super-talented. Hence the monsters need a constant supply of mana to not starve.

Being super strong/fast/durable they are able to hunt the local mundane wildlife into extinction. The reason they don't is that mundane wildlife provides no mana. In fact it results in a net loss of mana, since the energy cost of chasing down a herd of deer is less than the mana gained by eating them. So the best strategy is to ignore the local mundane wildlife and instead focus on ambushing the next adventurer that wanders into the area.

Mundane foxes and worms and wolves and villagers typically kill and eat each other, since the RPG monsters are too strong. On the other hand, RPG creatures and adventurers typically kill each other rather than the mundane wildlife, since the mundane wildlife does not provide them any evergy.

A full-grown chomper does not need a natural predator, because they in turn have no natural prey.

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Other Chompers

A small chomper is the biggest thing in its ecological niche. The only thing much larger is akin to a deer, which runs too fast to eat anyway. That means the only chompers that grow to full size get there by eating other chompers.

The calcification buff makes this both a problem and solution. By eating other chompers and stacking the buff, large chomper become progressively tougher and slower. Eventually they get so tough and slow that they cannot move at all and die of starvation.

The result is large fast chompers can only be created artificially. They do not exist in nature.

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  • $\begingroup$ Wow, two answers to one question! Thanks for the food for thought! Chompers actually have other options for growing to full size, namely scavenging and eating immobile foods like berries and roots, or hunting larger monsters (or, y'know, villagers). $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 4 at 2:06
  • $\begingroup$ Also, Calcification increases the toughness of a material, making it harder and stronger, but does not increase its mass or weight due to weird physics manipulation. So basically magic makes this answer moot, but don't worry, your other answer is a great potential solution to my underlying problem! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 4 at 2:08

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