2
$\begingroup$

The muscaliet is a small arboreal mammal, similar in some ways to the wolpertinger. It is found in places like South Asia

It has a hare-like body, with the feet and legs more like a squirrel. The tail is also squirrel-like, but proportionally larger. The head is like a weasel, with a snout like that of a mole and a pair of small porcine tusks. It is 20cm long, roughly the size of a red squirrel, and is adapted to flee from predators rather than fighting back

Unlike many other mythical creatures it has a specific diet: It is a herbivore, and feeds on leaves, flowers, fruit, roots, and generally all the parts of the tree that it can gnaw through

Given this information, could the Muscaliet realistically exist and fill some niche in its environment as described?

$\endgroup$
4
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can you be more specific? What is your worldbuilding problem? South East Asia is not known for being plantless, and it has plenty of herbivores. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Jan 12, 2022 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch The issue is that I can't determine if this creature could fill a niche, or if there is no way for this species to compete due to its anatomy, or if the species simply couldn't survive as described $\endgroup$ Jan 12, 2022 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ Many of the adaptations you describe occur in relatively closely related species, but each fill a totally different niche, and thus have body plans that allow them to fill such niches. Rabbits are good for open field grazing, squirrels are arboreal and moles are subterranean. a stout body of a rabbit on a squirrels legs wont do it any good in trees or in open fields. Just meshing features from random animals may not work well. $\endgroup$
    – Sonvar
    Jan 12, 2022 at 19:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Most of the requirements sound unimportant. I have no idea what "hare like body" means. I'd describe most quadrapeds as having a hare like body. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jan 12, 2022 at 20:56

2 Answers 2

3
$\begingroup$

Go Eat Poo

There are many small/medium arboreal herbivorous animals with large tails.

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

Their legs and faces are all different, which suggests they don't make much of a difference.

As for the tusks, well they go hand-in hand with your proposed diet of tough plant material such as leaves and roots. The tusks are for scraping off the outer bark so it can eat the inner bark and maybe grubs that live under it.

The biggest challenge as I see it is the size -- animals that eat tough plant matter need to be large enough to have a long digestive system break down the cellulose. Some small grazers overcome this by eating their own droppings.

enter image description here

This essentially doubles the length of their digestive system.

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

I got your muscaliet right here!

aka the tree hyrax.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_hyrax

tree hyrax

Are you digging the tusks? https://sites.google.com/site/hyracoidae/home/southern-tree-hyrax tusks

HAIL HYRAX!

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good answer but you forgot to mention how much poo it eats. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jan 12, 2022 at 21:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .