So I have a creature that I think is a bit out there and likely impossible, but it's too good of an idea and I don't want to scrap it.

Basic design

I don't really have a distinct shape that I want for it right now, so for the sake of argument, let's just say it looks more or less like the deathclaws from Fallout. This is not by any means a final design, just a place-holder while I work out the details of their anatomy. The thing that makes these Lizards (they are reptilian) different is the fact that after they are killed (by any means other than decapitation or a bullet through the brain) and their flesh is gone (doesn't really matter how), the remaining "skeleton" can move around, feed, and, for the most part, be a normal creature. The way it is able to do this is that its "skeleton" is actually an exoskeleton housing smaller backup organs. It is much weaker in this stage. I also want it to be able to regrow its flesh and go back to being a rampaging Godzilla.

The questions

  1. Is this feasible?

  2. How would the lizard regrow its body? Would it need a cocoon or could it just stretch the muscles and skin over its bones?

  3. What would it need to eat? I was thinking that it could be a carnivore when it has skin (given the fact that it has more muscle mass) and an herbivore when it doesn't.

    P.S. I don't need the behavior to be anything specific. If you think the bones are too weak to support an aggressive lifestyle, I have no problem with that, as long as you can explain how it would behave instead. Also, I do have some magic in the world that this creature lives in, but I don't want to use it for this, so magic is discouraged.

  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't the loss of flesh also mean it has no muscles by which it can move its bones? $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Dec 12, 2015 at 0:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No, they have a secondary set of muscles inside the exoskeleton much like the kinds insects have. $\endgroup$
    – unknown
    Dec 12, 2015 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ The solution lies in like the synths from fallout $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Dec 12, 2015 at 1:00

4 Answers 4


Exoskeletons are characteristic of some insects, so maybe you could go that way. The "creature" would be the symbiosis of a reptile and a giant stick insect.

The insect would provide armor and strength to the reptile by fusing with its flesh. In turn, the reptile would provide sustenance for the insect, feeding it its bones (through some kind of osmosis) that the insect would in time fully replace.

When the reptile dies, the insect "sheds" it, secreting chemicals that break the bond. Such empty "shells" are sought after by insect-less reptiles because they makes them more powerful and alpha. So they never stay empty for long but, in the meantime, they are autonomous and dangerous, as they are desperate to quickly find a new host before they die of bone deficiency.

When the separated insect is looking for a host, it feeds upon itself and shrinks, thus increasing the chances that, at some point, it will encounter a reptile of a suitable size.

Insects can thus be much older than the reptiles they bond with, maybe carrying DNA information from long gone generations of reptiles and thus influencing the evolution of the reptile race.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 on a lot of points. Shrinking when detatched and the potential age difference between the stick and its host. Great answer! $\endgroup$ Dec 13, 2015 at 6:13

It is a genetically engineered weapon designed for front-line and behind-enemy line combat. The interior is actually a biological robot which contains the intelligence and "manufacturing" functions. The exterior provides the combat, consumption and digestion components.

The exterior is a product of the interior. If you've encountered one that looks like a reptile, that is probably because the last corpse that it recycled was a reptile. The interior creature can repurpose muscles, skin and organs from the recently deceased bodies of almost any species. From these cadaver parts, it builds an flesh suit which adds to its combat skills. From its living body armor, it also receives fresh blood which is its preferred source of nourishment. The outer creature eats whatever is normal for its species, while the inner creature parasitizes nutrients out of its host's blood.

When disrobed, the inner creature has fangs with which it can obtain its favorite food from living sources.

The inner creature doesn't so much regrow its exterior coating; it builds it, strapping on muscles, claws and other body parts wherever they best fit. Similarly, as parts of the living armor become broken during combat, the creature can shed them and possibly replace them with spare parts that it finds around the battlefield.


Well, cockroaches are able to survive without heads and only die because they can't eat, so this isn't that much of a stretch comparatively. I'd imagine that it would go through a period of extreme hunger in order to regain its lost body mass as fast as possible, and if not a cocoon, it would at least go into a hibernation state while it reconstructs its body. Diet is up to you, but you might want to make it omnivorous so it has a greater array of potential food sources, especially when recovering. Would the bones be actual calcium-based bone like we have or something else?


Symbiosis. The skeleton is a separate animal, perhaps like an insect or lobster with an exoskeleton.

The flesh over it is a separate life, which acts as a wearable power-suit that amplifies its strength and provides protection.

  • $\begingroup$ Glad we think alike ;) (see above) $\endgroup$
    – Stephane
    Dec 14, 2015 at 0:07

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