002 – Loaps

The Loap is a relatively widespread species in the current era due to their relative passivity and value as pack animals and as a food source. Historical records are relatively vague, but Loaps are said to have originated on a world colonized by the Grey in the distant past. These ancient Grey, seeing the value of the beasts, prized them for their mild behavior and array of resources that could be provided, including meat. Modern Grey are unable to digest meat, but the humble Loap is still widely raised as a source of food, leather, fur, and even fuel and fertilizer all across the galaxy. Loaps are hardy animals, but have their limitations and can not survive particularly hot climates.

The Loap is a rather heavy creature ranging between 2 to 4 meters in length and about 1.5 to 2 meters tall. Their elongated bodies are held up from the ground by six, thick, stubby limbs. Their paws are wide and thick with two stubby hooves over their two toes. The loap has two sets of eyes, a forward facing set with a wide field of view, and some somewhat primitive eyes along the side of their head to scan for sudden movements. The Loap is naturally born with a tail, but most captive Loaps tend to get their tail bobbed at birth to prevent them from getting stuck as Loaps tend to be relatively clumsy. Loap bodies are thick due to layers of fat and fur, but their undersides are relatively hairless and prized by leathercrafters. The undersides of Loaps are covered with teats that allow Lopes of either sex to nurse young. Adult Loaps typically feed on grasses and lichen, while the young drink milk infused with the vegetative matter.

Interestingly, the milk of the Loap changes as the adult’s litter ages. The Loap will process the plant-matter far less and the milk that it produces is thick with chunks of the plant scraps, essentially weaning the offspring off the milk and onto plants. Loap milk is very popular among many species and generally the harvesting of milk from a Loap does not endanger and Loaplings as Loaps spend much of their time eating and producing milk. The milk is generally green due to vegetable matter, and the smoothness of the milk depends on the age of the litter and the demands of customers. Though Grey do not consume meat, they are able to consume Loap milk and it is a staple of much of the modern Grey diet, even today.

Loap meat is widely consumed with the Loap being the second most eaten animal in the galaxy behind the Ocian Fatfish. Loap flesh is a rich red meat that tends to be complimented well by sweeter spices. Consuming raw Loap is not advised as it is not uncommon for Loaps to pick up internal parasites as they consume grasses. If one must eat raw Loap, which is quite the delicacy on Blassna, it is advised to do so under the watchful eye of a talented chef. The choicest cut of the Loap lies on their hairless underside as the mammary glands consist of a great deal of fatty tissues. The particularly tough meat in their feet and legs is generally minced for filler.

Loaps are not generally raised as pets or mounts. While Loaps have the temperament for these roles, they are generally too large or too slow respectively. Male Loaps can become quite aggressive in the presence of females in heat. A side-result of this nature is that during mating seasons many male Loaps are used in rodeos, particularly on more rural worlds. The large, flat teeth of Loaps are particularly important in some existing tribal rituals and are not unknown as trinkets and jewelry.

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