Species 21: Autocannibaromatipods

Very popular as domestic pets due to their affectionate nature, these wonderful creatures are a miracle of evolution.  Their anatomy consists of a head, an abdomen and many hundreds of fleshy limbs.

In strong sunlight, these limbs give off a delicious scent irresistible to each individual autocannibaromatipod, causing the secretion of digestive juices and the immediate urge to ingest one of their own limbs.  They have no natural predators, as the scent and taste of each individual ''aromatipod''  is repugnant to all other species, and indeed, to one another, which makes them ideal for keeping in pairs and groups.  It goes without saying that they are very inexpensive to keep.

They are born with a finite number of limbs, which means that they will reach the end of their natural life when the final limb has been devoured.  To a certain extent, this will depend on the climate of the area in which they are being kept, as their appetite is triggered by the aroma, which in turn is generated by the heat.  Therefore, the cooler the climate, the longer-lived they will be.  In temperate areas, some subspecies hibernate throughout the winter months, prolonging their existence even more.

This researcher has heard disturbing reports recently of a disease new to the species, however.  The condition, autocannibanorexia, manifests as a complete lack of appetite in the animal.  The condition, thankfully, seems to be uncommon, and some aromatipod keepers have published papers describing the successful treatment of this condition by the application of sauces, culinary oils and vinegars to the limbs of affected creatures.  In most cases, this has led to full recovery, though some experimentation may be necessary before the correct combination of ingredients is found.  One keeper wrote:

''My aromatipod was failing fast, and I feared for his life, until one day my young daughter tripped over and spilt banana milkshake on him.  He is now going from strength to strength.''

Rating: Economical

Status: Dependent on climatic conditions

Right Thing To Say If You Ever Meet (an elderly) One:  You seem to be on your last legs

The End

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