!! Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
* Lapras [#131]
!! Physical Description
Lapras is a large aquatic (but amphibious) Pokemon, being on average 2.5m (8'2") tall and weighing up to and over 220kg (485lb), though larger specimens have been found as fossils. It has a large rounded body with four flippers (the fore flippers twice as large as the hind ones) protected by a bony shell, a long vertical neck, and a beak-like head with a single horn and curly ears.
Lapras has blue, scaly skin, but it goes soft and pale on the underside of its body, neck and head. The shell is typically grey and covered in large, blunted spikes. Specimens with purple skin have been known, but they are astonishingly rare in an already rare species.
!! Notable Biology
Well-known for their capacity to understand human speech, Lapras are highly intelligent and can be easily trained to perform complex actions. Their shell is strong and lightly ridged, being relatively comfortable to sit on and also being a natural non-slip surface, and the protrusions make good seats and handholds; this combined with their great speed, strength and stamina, and their gentle, docile nature, make them excellent and comfortable water transport, which is the main reason for their great demand and resulting rarity.
Lapras also have very strong and high-capacity lungs, which allow them to make extended dives underwater to find food or to hide. This also gives them a great vocal capacity, and their main means of communication seems to be through complex and beautiful songs that echo for great distances over the sea. Recordings of Lapras songs have been in great demand among certain markets.
As they share traits of both the Water and Ice type designations, it should be no surprise that Lapras are at home anywhere on the sea, especially in the polar regions, and they can move even faster on ice than they do on water. Some are also found further inland, typically deep in watery caves, though they are rare and often poached by trainers. There have been constant rumours of a Lapras colony existing in Loch Lapp in Scotland, but concrete evidence still has not been found. Further detail on Lapras habitats is difficult to find due to the species being endangered and scattered.
Lapras are omnivorous, and have been documented eating both smaller aquatic and ice-dwelling Pokemon, scavenging from the corpses of larger ones, and feeding on plankton, aquatic plants and even going onto land to feed on tropical fruits and berries. Captive specimens adjust to a herbivorous diet easily, though occasionally require nutrition supplements to remain healthy.
Well-known for their gentle and docile nature, there are recorded times where wild pods of Lapras would be curious and unafraid of humans in boats and ships, but nowadays they are more likely to flee from human attention, often by diving underwater. Beached Lapras are often wounded, fatigued, or otherwise vulnerable, and easily caught.
As a result, Lapras have been hunted to near extinction, and now the greatest hazard to catching one is persecution. Most countries have banned the capture of wild Lapras, and trainers with one have to present permits or proof of owning it before the ban, or risk having it confiscated and facing charges. But not all countries uphold the ban, and the Big Five leagues have no restrictions regarding capture and use of Lapras, which has resulted in great controversy internationally. A Team Aqua splinter group has become well-known for harassing and impeding Lapras hunters, and recording and publishing their exploits.
One other possible reason for this great demand is that, though they rarely display it, Lapras are very powerful Pokemon. They do not evolve and thus require no special training or equipment to do so, and have been seen displaying a startling variety of abilities in captivity, including electric, psychic, and dragon type moves. A cornered Lapras is quite capable of fighting off most amateur trainers, if it chose to do so.
!! Social Structure
While there are very few nowadays, Lapras travel in pods consisting of up to a dozen females led by one or two males. In times past, most Lapras found individually would be solitary males wandering the oceans. But over-hunting has broken up most Lapras pods, and today very few exist and most Lapras of both sexes are found wandering as individuals or in pairs, singing over the winds in search of others of their kind.
As a result of their rarity and usefulness, captive breeding programs of Lapras have been set up in several countries, though with a low success rate. While long-lived, Lapras are shy and breed rarely, and very rarely have more than one young at a time.