"The Gripter are an interesting creature to say the least. Seeing them jump their way across the rocky crags I traversed during my venture across Haven was one of the most humorous moments....but there's nothing humorous when it comes to their strength. Anytime I was made witness to them catching various species of insect, I watched as the poor creature attempted to free itself from its grip of iron, only to always fail and be consumed. I would dread the day I was shrunk to a level where the Gripter would think I look like a tasty snack."--William Tancard's: Guide to Haven's Glorious Creatures.
The Gripter are a common species of rodent mammalian organisms native to the many rocky outcroppings across Haven. They resemble various species of rodent, but most closely appear like rodents belonging to the Sciuridae (squirrel/chipmunk) family of rodents. Their name comes from their famous front and back paws, allowing them to grip onto objects very easily. They are extremely common, having a global population of around three billion individual members and they can be found in almost any rocky or barren temperate landscape on planet Haven, always hiding among the many cracks and crags located therein.
Due to their commonality, they are often labled as a "pest species" and private residents in areas where they are known to inhabit are exempt from the typical laws prohibiting the hunting of Haven-Born fauna, and are given free reign to trap or exterminate them as Gripters often times can lay waste to many gardens of essential produce an individual may be keeping. Often times however, Gripters will be kept as pets by Haven's populace, and are one of the most popular rodent mammals to be kept by sapient individuals.
Gripters have a quadruped build and share many commonalities to their cousin species, the Haven Squirrel, however they often times grow much larger then that of the aforementioned species of rodent, usually growing to length of around a foot (0.3048 meters) or more, and an average weight of around twenty five pounds. (11 kilograms) Across their body, many finely grown hairs have been specifically developed to be able to withstand the thick winds of their native environment, as well as providing protection from the rough terrain they cross on a daily basis.
A rather unique trait among the Gripter compared to its contemporaries of its respective family it belongs to is that the Gripter is an omnivore species, as they often times need to supplement vegetation with fresh meat due to the lack of many species of flora in their native environment. As a result, the Gripter has evolved to be able to close in on prey very quickly, being able to clock speeds up to thirty five kilometers per standard hour.
Along with great speeds, the Gripter has specially developed eyes and noses to be able to locate small prey insects and various other small fauna, being able to see up to a kilometer in a distance, as well as being able to notice the smallest detail out of place atop the rocky surface they are walking upon. Their noses are able to give them a similar ability, being able to detect very faint smells produced by various species of prey. Their hearing on the other hand isn't anything to write home about, only being able to hear in close proximity to itself, leading it to rely on the two aforementioned methods above all others.
Their name comes from their famed ability to grip objects, as they evolved with powerful opposable thumbs to both grip would be food, as well as traverse their native environment more easily. As a result, the Gripter is able to grab ahold of the rocky surface, and with its specially developed legs, it will fling itself across the many cracks they may otherwise fall into. With this, the Gripter is able to safely cross the hazardous ground, pounce upon prey, as well as avoid would be predators, being able to fling themselves up to four feet vertically, meaning their predators need to be extremely fast themselves. If they manage to ensnare prey, they will lock them in their grip with almost an iron-like vice, requiring a large amount of force for it to break its grasp on the unfortunate creature it has caught.
The Gripter inherently are a very skittish creature, often times fleeing from the smallest sound made in their general direction, as well as any animal that may only be slightly larger then themselves. They are also fairly aggressive, as they will more often then not attack any other Gripter that comes within proximity of their nest. However once the Gripter mating season begins, which typically happens on Haven's local mid summer months, the Gripter will become much more passive, and will begin to search for a mate of the opposite sex.
Once a mate is found, the two will begin to create a nest together within a small crack or crag they find, covering any entrances with debris they discover. After the female Gripter becomes pregnant, the male Gripter will begin to search for food to bring back to her as she awaits to give birth, which will typically take around a standard month after conception. A female Gripter will typically have a litter of around two to three Gripters, which will typically take around half a standard year to fully grow, until' they too leave the nest and begin to search for a mate themselves.