The dune strider is about 3 meters tall (9 feet) when standing erect although it usually hunches forward. It appears as a slender bipedal lizard with a long tail and powerful, muscular legs which end in clawed, three toed feet. Its scales are brown on top and tan beneath. Its small eyes are glassy and black. Its forearms are smaller, but clawed and very dexterous. The dune strider is a distant cousin to the forest dwelling torgat. Because of their broad, flat feet with splayed toes, striders are able to run very quietly over sand without sinking in.
Dune strider are solitary hunters, using stealth, surprise and speed to make the kill. Often a dunestrider will bury itself in the sand near prey and then leap out when the prey is close enough to surprise. Dune striders are very good long distance runners. When hunting, they are also capable of tremendous bursts of speed over short distances. They use a combination of lunges, bites and claw swipes to attack prey and often go for the eyes.
The baenites use dune striders as steeds and train them for battle in that capacity. Even carrying a baenite in full battle gear, a dune strider can achieve a good speed.
Dune striders are found only in the Baen Desert. There are occasionally encountered in the surrounding Sentinel Mountains.
Dune striders hunt a variety of desert animals (just about anything smaller and slower than them), but will also eat certain desert flora if meat is scarce. A wild dune strider will attack a lone baenite if hungry enough, but will avoid groups.
When dunestriders are kept in groups, a hierarchy based on size is quickly established. Usually one large male will dominate all others. Dune striders have elaborate physical displays including head-hobbing, mouth gaping, tailing shaking and raspy vocalizations used to communicate, warn away predators and defend their territory.
Dunestriders are diurnal animals and as they are ectothermic, spend most mornings and winter days basking. Dune striders are well adapted to desert conditions. They are exceptionally active on even the hottest summer days and can endure weeks without food or water.
Mating occurs once every three years resulting in a nest of 1 to 4 large, leathery eggs. Dunestriders may live for 25 years or more.
This website was last updated April 1, 2017 . Copyright 1990-2017 David M. Roomes.