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Animals with strange behaviours/societies/cultures:
tv personalityI'm writing an autistic character, and I want one of his obsessions to be a specific animal species. Preferably something unusual, obscure and endangered, because I want him to be obsessed with "saving" them. Anyway, I'm trying to find some species that has an interesting/complex society, or social behaviours that he can either aspire to, or relate to in some way. I.E. if they were very empathetic and inclusive of everyone, or were known to be outsiders in their habitat, etc. something that relates to autism, if you know what I mean. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
Obsidian ProboscideanElephants are matriarchal and that could be considered strange (to people who have grown up in a patriarchal society, anyway). They're also endangered, and, while not exactly obscure, they are strong and intelligent (at least enough that they rival humans). Also, they're social animals (like humans) and they travel in herds. The females (and young calves) live together, and the males leave the herd when they're thirteen to find a bachelor herd made up of young males, usually led by a much older male elephant (this might be considered unusual, too). That's where they learn to behave like an elephant bull. Older male elephants can also be mostly solitary (except for maybe a cattle egret hitching a ride and the occasional meeting with another elephant). Their emotions are like ours and they mourn their dead (they way they do so is pretty interesting. They sort of kick the bones around and examine them by sniffing them and putting them in their mouths, as if to take in as much information on the dead elephant as possible). Some show empathy for members outside their species (as long as they don't see them as threats, that is). They also have good memories (they really don't forget much). Some elephants, if they have a traumatic experience, get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
edited 26th Oct '11 1:35:48 PM by BlackElephant
I'm an elephant. Rurr.
slice of liceElephants aren't obscure in any way, but I think I know why you chose elephants OP: There's no real rhyme or reason as to why an autistic person latches on to a particular interest. You can literally choose the animal species by dartboard and it really wouldn't make a difference.
edited 26th Oct '11 3:37:31 PM by OuthouseInferno
Forget the tropes until after you're done.
WŁtend JaegerThis reminds me of a Korean movie named Mal-A-Ton, where the main character is a severely autistic young man who has an obsession with zebras.
"I'm going to kill them all, but not before I teach them how to speak so they can beg for mercy while I kill them slowly and painfully!"
I need a drinkThis might prove useful.
Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
There are loads of endangered frog species. They're not terribly social, but many have cool and unusual habits and life cycles (Biased? Who, me? No...) Australia also has all sorts of neat cool things that are going endangered. How about bats? They're social. And not very popular.
Be not afraid...
tv personalityTotally agree about elephants, but they do lack a certain exotic je ne sais quoi. it's always more "interesting" if your character is rambling about some obscure sounding species no one's hear of. frogs are a good idea, I'll look into that some more. what sort of prompted all this is the lifecycle of a mayfly, which I think has a very strong metaphorical meaning (not applicable for this, I don't think, but very interesting) — they are born underwater, and take a year to fully "birth". when they finally mature, they only have 24 hours to live. basically, they spend the majority of their "life" watching the world from afar, and they only get one day to live in it. I thought that's such beautiful symbolism for the american dream and people chasing after goals without appreciating the moment. don't you wish there was a website that compiled all of these crazy life cycles? would be a great writers resource
Obsidian ProboscideanThat's very poetic (the mayfly comparison). I like that. Perhaps there could be a "Useful Notes" section for things like this?
edited 27th Oct '11 12:56:55 PM by BlackElephant
I'm an elephant. Rurr.
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