The sangrel is a mammalian predator found throughout all the Summerlands in varied form, ranging from 5- or 10-pound specimens that prey on mice and birds to 150-pounders that can take down elk, moose, and humans. Of course it's the latter sort that most people think of when they think of sangrels, but in fact they all behave about the same.
All sangrels are ambush hunters, so are compactly built and strong-limbed for climbing and leaping. Their body shape is not uncatlike, though their faces are longer-muzzled, like foxes'. Except in the very hottest weather, they look rounder than they are due to a hevy coat for fur, of coloration ranging from white through various shades of brown and grey to black, depending on the local environment. A sangrel's coat will change color if it is transported to a different region, but only as fast the hairs are shed and regrown. The most spectacular feature of a sangrel, however, is its tail: the length of its body or more, and fluffed out with fur to almost as wide as its body. Like many other animals, sangrels use their tails to express moods and emotions, and also as mating displays; a sangrel with a full, bushy tail is obviously well-fed, and therefore either a good hunter or a good scavenger.
Sangrels are normally solitary hunters, but mothers with cubs will often band together, sometimes with a few trusted males but usually not, and hunt as a unit (called a nursery), trading off care of the cubs. Also, those sangrels large enough to prey on migratory herd-beasts often come together during migrations and hunt jointly, not as well as dedicated pack hunters like black unicorns, but quite effectively nonetheless. These gatherings are also prime breeding opportunities, and often result in the formation of nurseries.
In many parts of the Summerlands, especially mountainous regions, sangrels are the predator that keeps peasants indoors at night, just as wolves are in the flatlands, and occupy an equally significant role in popular story and legend.
This file was last modified at 1457 on 27Apr99.