The dune prowler is an ambush predator native to the Bloodstone Desert. Dune prowlers hunt from beneath the sand, using their sensitive bristles to feel the approach of a target even as they remain well hidden.
The dune prowler's hunched posture, elongated arms, and pronounced hump give the beast an ungainly silhouette. Its skin is thick, reddish, covered in coarse spines and patches of thicker protective hide. Its long claws allow it to dig deep furrows in moments, and its long arms provide superior reach and leverage. Its hump is one of the dune prowler’s greatest natural advantages: not only can it store a week’s worth of water, thereby helping the dune prowler survive in the arid wastes, it also holds stores of fat that can nourish the creature for up to three weeks.
During the heat of the day, dune prowlers dig into the cooler sand or soil to rest, leaving only the tops of their heads and snouts above the sand to regulate their temperature. They remain alert and ready to burst out and seize any creature that passes within reach. The bristles protruding from their skin allow them to feel subtle vibrations in the sand that can detect any movement, no matter how stealthy. Well-traveled spots like oases are favoured places for such ambushes, but dune prowlers are quite capable of burrowing through the desert sand to stake out a new area if food is sparse.
Dune prowler lairs are extensive underground tunnel networks, built by males to gain the attention and affection of a mate. The grander den, the more likely a female is to respond. A dune prowler couple will inhabit the same den for decades, producing several generations of young. Because infant dune prowlers are blind and vulnerable, one of the adults stays close to the den while the other hunts nearby. Once the young are capable of hunting, a dune prowler family forms a loose pack that can split apart to hunt separately or gang up as needed to take down larger creatures or slaughter groups of smaller ones that might otherwise scatter. Status in the pack is determined by mock combat that rarely spills any blood. These mock combats are common and necessary; in addition to deciding the pack’s hierarchy, they determine which creatures have access to the best territories, finest lairs, and largest number of mates.