Strider is the name of a genus of extremely long-legged marsupials found all over Phaara, and scattered over a few other continents on Elara. They are mainly herbivores, but also selectively consume some insects.
Striders come in various species, dependent on their particular habitat. Regardless, they all have similarities. Their torsos are similar in size to a horse's, and covered in a short fur. Their heads resemble those of a wolf, except for their extremely long and prehensile proboscises which reach almost to the ground. Striders live in small herds, and their migration patterns are not wide-reaching.
Female gestation last approximately 4 months in the womb, with the single infant then making their own way into the mother's pouch, located in her front abdomnial region, where the "newborn" will continue to grow for another 4 to 5 months. The mother's range and mobility decrease as the child matures, until "birth."
The joints in the striders' legs allow them to kneel, but they almost never do, prefering even to sleep on their feet. If they ever fall over, it is possible but incredibly difficult for them just to get to a kneeling position. Needless to say, predators who feed on striders try to take out the legs, making them extremely vulnerable.
Striders have been domesticated as mounts, but are useless as draught animals. Their fur is short, but warm, and has been used for both clothing and floor or wall coverings. The mother's milk is sweet tasting, but contains a high amount of nutrients, and has often been used by healers for medicinal purposes. Their flesh is not good tasting, and so striders are not used for food.
The plains strider is the second tallest (on average) but the fastest of the striders. They generally prefer the grasslands and flat plains, but will venture into forests and hilly meadows.
The rock strider prefers the meadows and plateaus of mountains and their foothills. Their feet are smaller than other striders, suitable for picking their way through the rough landscape.
The sand strider is part of the same Family as the other striders, but while they are different species of the same genus, the sand strider is significantly different.
They are the shortest of the striders, the height of a mature sand strider being only about 1/2 pace tall. They do not have fur, but sport a scaly skin instead. Their colours also tend more to the tans and light browns, rather than the whole ivory to dark brown range of other striders. Additionally, they have two internal fluid sacks located under their back ridges for water storage in the hot deserts.
Swamp striders are the slowest of the striders, but have the greatest endurance. Their fur tends to a slightly greenish tinge of ivory.
Also known as "forest striders," tree striders live mainly in forest and jungle settings. Their proboscises tend on average to be shorter, but much stronger than other striders.