Baking Bread On Mars

…it really rises well there.

The Doclopedia #502

The Potawango Island Bestiary, Part One: Vampire Ducks

From the notebook of Dr. Thaddeus Silkmelon:

There exists on this incredible island a creature that is strange even by the standards we find here. When I first heard of it, I scoffed at the idea. Too ridiculous, I said to our native guides. Surely it must be a creature created solely to frighten naughty children. But I was quite wrong in my assumptions.

Vampire Ducks do indeed exist.

Late last night Pagoona, our head guide, took me too a clearing in the Great Woods where a heard of Cerulean Wombats had bed down for the night. Within minutes of our arrival, we saw about a dozen black and red feathered ducks emerge from the forest. This variety of ducks was of the upright standing nature that one finds in the common Indian Runner breed. However, no Indian Runner ever had those red glowing eyes or that beak tipped with two small razor sharp fangs. I must say that I am very glad that Abner Porkwaffle was not with us, as I am very sure this would have caused him to have a bad attack of nerves.

We watched in fascination as each duck slowly crept up to a sleeping wombat (which, I might note, outweighs even the largest Vampire Duck by 250 pounds or more) and gently nipped it on the ear or ankle. Then, the ducks lapped at the blood until their stomachs bulged. I would guess they drank perhaps a pint and a half, on average. When they finished, the ducks walked back into the forest with Pagoona and I following from a discreet distance.

Pagoona whispered to me that the Vampire Ducks fed on many large quadrupedal herbivores, but never on carnivores or humans. They also seldom fed on the same creatures more than twice in a week. So far as Pagoona knew, Vampire Ducks have no natural predators. He knew nothing of their reproductive habits.

We followed the ducks to a large hollow tree with a crack on it just large enough for each duck to squeeze through. They all entered the tree and Pagoona told me that we must wait for sunrise before proceeding further.

Come the rising sun, we ventured over to the tree and Pagoona reached in and pulled out a duck. He kept it in the shade, saying that the sunlight bothered them, though it would not kill them. Naturally, the first thing I did was to confirm that these ducks were indeed living creatures, not some form of undead as the legends about vampires state. The heart was beating, albeit quite slowly, and there was a pulse. The body temperature seemed a bit low and the duck was in a deep state of slumber. I took a blood and feather sample, then we replaced the strange fowl into his bedchamber.

I have made up my mind that before I leave this island, I shall learn much more about these Vampire Ducks, including where how and when they breed.

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