Caring for Unee
—A short guidebook on everything you need to know about having a unee, so you don’t have to remember.
Dt: 582 A.T.
Unee are to be raised for meat. Taking care of the unee themselves is the easiest part of the process. There is much information to remember, so I have written down much of it. No need to remember, just keep this guide with you until the knowledge becomes habit. Keep this after that too, you will need to consult knowledge from time to time.
By habitat I do not mean only The Outcropping, but the environment in which unee are best suited to live if not thrive in. If you are raising unee for your food needs, you want unee to thrive. They are a hardy species overall, but optimum meat requires good care, and that starts with a good environment. They need some light and shade during the day, and a little bit of warmth during the dark. Keep them at low altitudes, on thin continents if possible.
Unee, like most other creatures in The Outcropping are lizards. They have cold blood, scales, claws, a tail…normal lizard appendages. However, you should watch out for the spikes on their tails and forearms. Actually, about their forearms: there’s two segments and they walk on the larger, harder segment. They use this bit to push up their bodies off of hot sand for extended periods of time. They have a lot of muscle and fat, but not enough strength to do much damage to a xiruen. If you upset one or more of your unee, tail swipes are your biggest worry.
Beyond that, there aren’t many breeds of unee. Its hard to find many beyond red and blue even in the wild, but you might find green and brown/gold unee. Those scales are usually worth more than the meat, so get the right unee for your plans. They seem to lose heat most during the dark in the folds of their necks, so if you’re having a problem with cold unee at first light, try wrapping cloth around their heads overnight.
Even wild unee are by and large docile. In the wild they are not solitary like kiindem, but aren’t much in the way of pack animals like aisanee or eniimar. They’re more like sudamin where if you get lots of them together, which can happen just by wandering round, they have no problem being social. You can hear them clicking their jaws together in patterns to communicate, as they don’t seem to have a voice. You’ll learn what the patterns mean, or at least figure out rough ideas as you go. If you feed them, they’ll like you. Generations of xiruens feeding unee turned into domestication and now they expect food.
What they like most are roots. If you’re around Pan Arbnhap, or even in it, you can find xiruens who hop around to sell them. They’ve got the supply, and if you have unee, you’ll have the demand. Thick, hard roots don’t come up often around The Outcropping, so I have no clue why they got a taste for them, but it’s clear that unee love them. If you can’t find roots, or don’t have the lott to constantly buy roots, branches, leaves, grasses will keep your unee fed. Even dry, dead ones will do in a pinch.
If you trust your surroundings, you can take them out with you, have them follow you around and forage for food themselves. Keep a very sharp eye out for urgai. Otherwise, all other pests can be dealt with by a swift foot or weapon. Sudamin like to hang out around the trees and foliage you want to feed your unee with. If you feel generous, you can take the flowering or fruiting pieces and toss them aside. They’ll mostly leave you alone after that, they’re after little bugs that come to the smells.
As I said before, unee have cold blood. Can’t get them too hot when it’s light and they can’t get too cold in the dark. You can’t control the weather, so making them shade and warmth options are key to getting your unee to a good age and size for meat. You can raise your unee for years and keep it lean if you want, but it’s hard to make enough lott from that kind of meat.
Unee don’t need moisture as much as we do, and can get it from roots and other vegetation. As long as you feed them more than just dead plants they should be fine in that respect. Don’t worry about skin discolouration where their heads and tails are not quite the same colour. That’s normal and is not a sign of bad health.
What is a sign of bad health is an over or underactive unee. Apart from young learning their way in the world, unee don’t really move quickly or for long periods of time. If all they do is move, or they never move you have a problem. They really like the bark, but there’s a couple kinds of trees that have lots of oils in them. Likely defenses against sudamin and other climbing creatures like epbee. All that oil, if it’s too much of their diet, makes their brains weird. It can be okay as a treat, since the oil gets the tails and stomachs nice and fatty.
If you’re planning on selling unee meat, or just getting enough for yourself, this is a very important section. I’m not sure what other use you could have for a unee, but there are inventive xiruens out there. If you’re selling meat in large quantities, you can get by with tail meat, and that keeps your unee herd in good condition. It’s a large muscle, but they do not seem to miss it all that much. Belly meat requires slaughter. Either way, make sure your blade is clean and dry.
For tail meat you’ll want to cut just past, that is towards the tip of the tail, the last or first set of spikes. If you cut the other side, there must be some nerves there because that cut is painful and the tails don’t grow back the same. If you cut in the right spot, you can have another full grown tail again in a couple of months. Full grown adult tails usually regrow in about 10 weeks, but younger unee tails take longer for some reason.
If you need to kill your unee, do your best to do it out of sight of the rest of your herd. It’s better for them that way. I recommend grabbing the head with two hands and swiftly rotating it back, but if you have to cut, avoid the good stretches of meat for the killing blow. The neck meat and skin is not a good cut, but the skin is usable due to sheer area. Once you’ve killed your unee, make two cuts from the base of the head to the tail cut, each about a finger’s width from the spine. That meat can be used, and it’s often quite long. That’s good stuff. From there, you’ll want to cut off the muscles and tendons from the spine on either side after you’ve skinned a bit around the spine, and the belly muscles and fat should flop down and be easily removable from the ribcage and other bones. It’s a good, expensive cut if you can do it right.
Getting a Unee
Unfortunately I don’t have a great deal of knowledge on domesticating your own wild unee. Roots help, and you should be able to find them around the unee given that most wild unee are in Pan Arbnhap where the roots are. The bigger the better.
If you’re buying a domesticated unee and want to get them used to you, walk up from behind straddling the tail and give the unee a good two-handed smack on its belly. Another trick is to put a hand on its throat without squeezing and rub into the back of its head. They like attention and physical contact, but the scales are thick so you’ll need some pressure.
As always, food helps the unee like you, so make sure you have enough vegetation.