This patient, plodding creature is so named for the millions of hard ticks residing under its many rubbery, fleshy folds, their encrusted bodies rustling softly with the creature's every movement. The parasites are well adapted to the concentrated cyanotoxins saturating the monster's blood, and the bite of a single adult can carry enough poison to send the average bioconstruct into paralytic shock. The arthropods cannot survive long on the blood of other organisms, but have little difficulty returning to the sluggish and malodorous botanical.
Lacking orifices, the Ticktox absorbs sustenance directly through its porous surface, burying itself for many hours at a time in heaps of decomposing vegetation, dung and other organic material. During its annual reproductive phase, it may decorate its refuse pile with more colorful, less edible objects, each exhibiting its own unique decorative eye. This behavior is not known to serve any courtship or defensive function, as the parthenogenetic Ticktox will simply lay a clutch of eggs on its own. Of the six to fifteen babies typically hatched, only a few will survive and adapt to colonization by their parent's own parasite load.
Ticktox are largely nonviolent creatures, employing their rake-like claws to collect compostable detritus. Only when attacked does the Ticktox act aggressively, deluging its adversary in ticks by a suffocating embrace or a vigorous shaking of its skin flaps. Though not directly predacious, it will often drag paralyzed victims back to its tick-ridden compost heap, where they soon succumb to the cumulative effects of anemia and steady poisoning.
In the rare event that the Ticktox loses its entire population of ticks, it enters a strange state of torpor. Communication indicates that the monster subsequently loses all sense of self, as though stripped of what it considers its "true" consciousness, or a sort of "spirit."
Like many botanicals, Ticktox show little reaction to physical injury and can continue functioning long after other monsters would have expired. Their dense, damp folds of flesh are virtually fireproof, and their systems immune to most biological and chemical weaponry. The potency of their poison and inoccuous mechanism of transmission are widely applicable to combat situations.
Even creatures impervious to poisoning can have difficulty subduing a Ticktox, as its rubbery body and deceptively wiry limbs harbor incredible physical strength, dense muscles coiled tight to bones as tough as iron bars. With a single, quick swipe of its claws, the normally gentle and passive Ticktox can potential lop off the top of a hominoid skull.
POISONOUS: the monster's blood is sickeningly toxic, paralyzing most creatures who attempt to feed on the Ticktox.
TICKS: the Ticktox is a breeding ground for its own unique species of tick, a single bite from which can introduce its poison directly into the host's system. Collectively, the ticks can weaken prey via sheer blood loss and irritation.
VEGETABLE RESILIENCE: the Ticktox is largely plant-based, and unperturbed by physical damage.
PHYSICAL STRENGTH: despite appearances, the Ticktox is lethally strong.
Contents copyright Jonathan Wojcik