Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
- Cacnea [#331]
- Cacturne [#332]
Cacnea are a curious species of Pokémon which resembles nothing so much as a sentient, mobile cactus. The creature has a roughly spherical body with two long arms, a small flower on the top of its head, and it is covered in numerous spines of varying density and thickness, two of which are utilized as ersatz “feet” in locomotion. It possesses a rather distinct method of walking, wherein it uses one arm to prop itself up slightly on one side and throws the other arm forward at an angle, thereby swinging its other “foot” forward. Cacnea’s flesh, which bears a far greater resemblance to plant tissue than animal tissue, is both photosynthetic and succulent, allowing it to remain active even under the desert sun and store vast quantities of water for later consumption; observation of wild specimens has shown that a Cacnea can go for up to a month (28 days) between rainfalls before it begins to get dehydrated.
Cacturne, by contrast, is a humanoid Pokémon equal to a preteen human in size. The spikes that served as Cacnea’s feet are gone, replaced by two fully functional legs, and the flower atop its head has been replaced by a quartet of broad triangular leaves that have fused together to form a sort of hat, shading Cacturne’s face from the desert sun; this, along with its disturbing habit of holding its arms perpendicular to its body and remaining utterly motionless during the day to conserve moisture and energy, has garnered Cacturne the nickname of the Demon Scarecrow.
As these Pokémon have adapted to survive in the most arid climes, Cacnea and Cacturne are most frequently encountered in the deserts of Hoenn; curiously, none have ever been seen in the Orre region, suggesting that even they
cannot survive in that barren wasteland.
Cacnea and Cacturne have also been encountered in certain areas of Sinnoh, particularly in the sand-swept path that is Route 228; strangely, while Cacnea are more common than Cacturne in the wilderness of Hoenn, in Sinnoh the reverse is true; Poké-biologists and botanists have had difficulty determining why this is so.
Despite being Grass-type Pokémon capable of drawing sustenance from the sun itself, both stages of the Cacnea line are aggressively carnivorous. Cacnea is a sessile predator that roots itself in place and releases a cloud of intoxicating spores from its flower to beguile nearby herbivores and insects, which it then stuns with an array of vicious attacks and eats alive.
Cacturne, by contrast, is an active nocturnal predator that chases down its prey in packs while harrying it with blows from its spine-covered arms, slowly whittling away the prey’s ability to flee and resist until they can run no more and collapse from exhaustion. Cacturne is a truly implacable creature, being able to chase its victims for weeks on end
, and oral history from natives of Hoenn’s desert reveal that they also preyed on early humans in much the same fashion, forcing primitive nomadic tribes to band together and destroy them while the creatures remained inactive during the day; this may account for the reduced number of Cacturne in Hoenn.
As the above paragraph indicates, Cacnea is not to be underestimated. While a trained Cacnea will treat its trainer with love and affection, its overenthusiastic hugs can be extremely painful or even fatal to younger children; because of this, trainers are required to trim and prune their Cacnea’s spines. In addition, Cacnea’s typical method of feeding makes it dangerous to household pets, paralyzing them with repeated spine attacks and then injecting them with potent enzymes in order to liquefy their innards.
Furthermore, despite their friendly demeanour, Cacnea can be utterly ruthless in combat, often attacking their opponents just before the match begins, going for the eyes when launching their spines, and sometimes attempting to eat a defeated opponent alive. Cacturne behaves in much the same way, and it can also poison its opponent with venom-coated spines potent enough to kill a Snorlax.
Courting and Childrearing
Both stages of the Cacnea line become sexually mature early on, a necessity for a species native to the desert that spends most of its time alone. The species does not follow any sort of mating ritual; if two Cacnea of the opposite sex come across one another, the male will impregnate the female by releasing a cloud of spores from his flower in the general direction of her flower; whatever spore fortunate enough to take root there will grow into a larval Cacnea over the course of a few weeks, whereupon the female’s flower will detach and grow into a juvenile on the spot. The parents part ways immediately after mating, and the mother remains with her child for little more than a week before abandoning it.
Reproduction and childrearing is much the same for Cacturne, the only difference being that the female will lay an egg rather than have her offspring grow on the top of her head for a few weeks.
Cacnea are solitary creatures, coming together only to mate. Cacturne of the same sex will form packs of five to ten individuals to hunt prey, but there is no real emotional attachment amongst them; they will not be overly concerned should one of their companions die, and if food is scarce they may even consume the recently-deceased Cacturne in question.
Written by Sullen Frog.