Stopping by for the first time for the A-Z Challenge? Read a short intro to the A-Zs of Worldbuilding here!
Animals serve many purposes. They are a vital part of the ecosystem, they offer companionship, and they can be sources of food.
And creating animals can honestly be one of the most fun parts of worldbuilding. But as always, there are things to consider!
Types of Creatures
The kinds of animals abundant depend on the climate and terrain. Where there is water, there will be fish. In warmer climates, there will be amphibians near the water. Unless you create an amphibian that thrives in cooler climates. 😉
Plains have the ability to support herd creatures that require extensive grazing grounds. There will be less birds (but not no birds), plenty of rodents, large predators that don’t need to hide themselves for defense, and smaller predators that can hide in grasses and burrows.
There will be an impressive amount of birds in forests, and less of the larger herd creatures (think deer rather than buffalo, since deer can more easily maneuver through trees). There will be lots of rodents. There will be some snakes, depending on how cold it gets in the winter.
There will be lots of birds and primates, amphibians, reptiles… anything that thrives in warm weather and high humidity year-round. Just don’t forget predators and grazing animals here, either!
Don’t forget the rodents and insects (or equivalent).
Rodents thrive in pretty much every climate, except the very coldest ones, and even then they will attempt to survive.
Also insects. Insects are incredibly resilient creatures, and even if they have a very short amount of time when they can breed, their eggs can remain dormant for a while. Even through an incredibly bitter winter.
How They Look
Where an animal lives will determine a lot about how they look – whether they have fur, skin, scales, or feathers. Some of that will depend on how an animal lives, as well, though.
If a creature needs to be able to navigate through air or water well, you’ll more likely find scales or feathers. When they do have fur or just skin, there will be extra fat to insulate them, and fur and feathers will both be oily.
Creatures in warmer climates will be less likely to have double-furred coats.
These are not hard and fast rules, though. Many of these features crossover climates and functions, so don’t be afraid to make a creature look interesting.
To Sum It Up…
Animals are fascinating. Don’t get too enthusiastic, though, and end up with so many that you’re overwhelmed with what to do with them in a story. Start with the animals that your characters will actually encounter – whether they are domesticated breeds that are raised for sustenance (milk, meat, eggs, etc.) or wild creatures that will endanger them or animals that will leave you alone if you ignore them.
Original image used in header is by PublicDomainPictures.
My intention is to turn the A-Zs of Worldbuilding into a workbook after the Challenge is finished. If you’d like to stay notified about that, you can subscribe to my newsletter here. Please make sure and select the A-Zs of Worldbuilding option!