The giant, broad-bodied Foetodon is a surly jungle predator and scavenger, well-adapted to life prowling leaf litter-chocked forest floor. Scutes along its back betray the species common ancestry with crocodilians, but the snout is short and heavily reinforced for bone-crushing and brutal territorial confrontations.The Foetodon has poor eyesight, but, as a solitary ambush predator, this does not impede its success. Lying concealed beneath leaves in excavated scrapes along the edges of game trails, the predator will wait patiently to ambush oblivious prey using the path. Most often these are small herbivores (like Pugiodorsus, tree-tops or one of the large flightless birds like Hylaeornis) caught unawares as they pick their way along the path, but a Foetodon takes virtually any prey available, even Ligocristus, young Kongs, and Avarusaurus. The boorish carnivore cannot afford to be choosy. Its attitude is one of “bit first and ask questions later.” As such, much depends upon the effectiveness of the first, powerful bite.
A Foetodon’s physiology is geared toward small bursts of activity with long periods of rest in between. When lunging, it can do so with frightening speed and power. The massive jaws exert a staggering pressure, enough to shatter bones and cripple, thereby ensuring that even if it fails to kill or secure the prey with the first bite, the wounded victim is unlikely to be able to escape.
The species has an excellent sense of smell for tracking wounded prey. It also uses its keen nose to grub out invertebrates living amid the thick leaf litter. This veritable sea of decomposing vegetable matter can be many feet deep and hide all manner of small snacks to interest a hungry Foetodon. Indeed, the young live exclusively on these morsels while still small and conceal themselves in the detritus and in marshes from larger predators, including cannibalistic members of their own kind.
The adults themselves can have predators, like V. rexes.
Skeletal AdaptationsNo longer a water predator like its distant ancestors, a Foetodon relies upon the power of its strong, high-mounted back legs to propel it forward when striking. Because juvenile Foetodon still spend much of their lives in water, a large, powerful, broad tail (like a crocodile’s) is retained in the larger land-based adult. Foetodon sometimes suffer from a disfiguring infection picked up from the leaf litter. So virulent can the infection become that even the bones of the reptiles frequently bare cruel scars.
Using the shallow ponds as nurseries, baby Foetodon swim among the weeds, hunting invertebrates and swamp-wings until old and large enough to survive ashore. During their infancy they are often prey for wading birds, the sharp pickax-like bills of herons like the great grey heron making short work of their leathery armor. The tables will be turned when the infant reptiles are grown.
Juvenile Foetodon are also common prey to young Piranhadon, snapped up as they float on the surface in their nursery groups.