WikiFur:This week's featured article/Week 46, 2005

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A prancing skiltaire

The Skiltaire (or Skiltare) are a species of alien (not originating on Earth) intelligent weasel-like animals. They were created by Mark Merlino in the late 1970s as a non-human sentient species for a series of science fiction stories. Skiltaire have been depicted by numerous artists, and were selected as mascots of the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization and Mark's home, The Prancing Skiltaire. Noted skiltaire include Theta and Fanta.

Skiltaire vary in size, depending on sub-species and gender, but on average have a body length of 1 yard, not including a 1/2 yard tail. Body weight range is 60 to 120 lbs for an adult. They closely resemble Earth mustelids (weasels) and occur in two body-types. The aquatic type looks like a large otter, with a short, broad muzzle, small, rounded ears and a thick, tapering tail. The arboreal type resembles a marten, with a more fox-like face (though the muzzle is short), and a brush tail.

The fur of skiltaire can be any color, although aquatics tend to be limited to gray, brown, light blue, tan, or cream. They often have a single wide or multiple thinner stripes that run up their back, from tail-tip to the top of their head, and darker paws (boots) and ear-tips. The stripes can be any color, and are usually much darker or more intense.

An obvious characteristic on all skiltaire is a pair of 10 inch (25 cm) antennae which grow from just above the eyebrow. The antennae are the detector part of the animal's natural electrostatic field sense ability. The body of a skiltaire has electrogenerative tissue below the skin and insulated from the internal organs, much like an electric eel.

Skiltaire are natural tele-empaths, and use this ability to communicate with other skiltaire, other aliens with similar abilities, and to aid in hunting. They are also true carnivores and hunt live prey, though their diet includes much variety. Most modern skiltaire are hunter-gatherers, with some farming common in larger tribes.

Artists who have produced a body of work featuring skiltaire include Mark Merlino, Ken Pick, Ken Sample and Michael Sherman. They are also one of the popular fur-fan-created races for online role-playing (MUDs and other MU*s). Skiltaire were one of the 10 sentient species in the SF/FRP game Other Suns, published in 1983.