Southern Slishbanes are the apex predators of the New Zealand coastline. They rely on a combination of stealth and power, and large adults have been known to eat the Fungologists studying them.
Southern Slishbanes start life as juveniles, hatching at about 10cm long and travelling inland into the lush forests that cover much of New Zealand's wild places. Here it preys on lizards, frogs, large insects and small birds. Juveniles have a voracious appetite, eating as much as 2kg a day. Young Slishbanes live in the forest for up to 6 months, until they grow to around 30cm long. They then travel back to the shoreline, where they prey on wading birds and invertebrates. They can spend several years like this, growing to 2-3m long. When they reach 4m in length, at around the age of 20, they begin venturing out to sea on hunting expeditions, devouring large fish such as tuna, as well as mackerel, seals, dolphins and even sharks. It is believed that when they grow to 6-7m in length they stay out at sea permanently, coming ashore only to lay their eggs. Southern Slishbanes have no known age limit, and continue to grow throughout their lives. It is believed that a Slishbane several centuries old sunk the Titanic.
The Southern Slishbane is a mottled green in colour, with a low ridge of spines along its back and tail. It is very flat, with an angular head and wide mouth. Its hands and feet are dark grey, and the middle toe of each foot grows up to twice the length of the other digits.
Hunting Habits Edit
The Southern Slishbane's high IQ, fast speed and incredible strength give it a wide variety of hunting techniques. A common technique used to hunt shorebirds involves the slishbane hiding in rock pools and springing out at the unsuspecting birds. Another technique, used in the open ocean in the hunting of dolphins and sharks, involves the Slishbane waiting in deep water and swimming up underneath its unsuspecting prey.