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A Carnigrel is a simple term given to a species of carnivorous four-legged beast. Discovered in 2499, Carnigrel were threatened with extinction due to being a worrying pest and threat to human colonization of new worlds. This forced the UNSC to kill on each sighting.
Carnigrel had thick, leather-like skin, which covered all of their body. Each of the four limbs had hardened paw-like feet, similar in appearance to that of a feline species, such as a lion. The only instantly noticeable difference besides colour was a small claw on the heel of each paw, used presumably for grip on all surfaces. The four limbs were surprisingly thin in proportion to the size of the Carnigrel, but were often mistaken for being weak. The limbs were very powerful for their size, and the Carnigrel used them to reach speeds of 40mph in short bursts. The fore-arms, or fore-legs, were very long in comparison to most animals, being the longest part of the limb.
A series of small, thorn like horns ran from the bridge of the nose, between the eyes (which were a narrow slit with piercing pupils), and down the spine in a neat line. A larger spike was seen on the head, just above the eyes. This horn was likely meant for defense and attack purpose, to bring down prey and/or challenge potential threats. The jaws of the Carnigrel were only just as wide as the shoulder span of the creature, giving an increased bite radius and room for more teeth.
The jaws held many sharp, thick teeth, each tooth seeming over-sized for the creature. The reason for this is because the teeth were similar in size to that of a Great White Shark. The teeth had a large overbite, protruding out of the mouth and resting between two other teeth from the opposite jaw. The Carnigrel had extremely powerful jaws, capable of bending thin metal beams and extremely efficient at stripping flesh from bones, though the consumption of bones was not uncommon with a Carnigrel.
Carnigrel had a very strong pack mentality, and would usually hunt in a group of 3 or 4. It was not uncommon for a single member of a pack to hunt independently ahead of the pack. Each Carnigrel had an average full grown size equivalent to that of a Great Dane (a large breed of canine). A single Carnigrel had a ferocious appetite, but could last approximately 9 months without food, instead entering a prolonged state of sleep similar to hibernation. After these 9 months, should there be no food, Carnigrel would often assert themselves as pack leader and cruelly pick off and eat the weakest member of the pack.
While sounding primitive and brutal, Carnigrel were deceptively cunning. They had extremely strong sense of smell, and had been known to use their strength to damage or break down small trees or structures to obtain their food or prey. Their hunting techniques were similar to known species of feline and canine, targeting the neck and legs of an animal to bring it down and suffocate it.
As well as being successfully aggressive hunters, Carnigrel are also heavily dominant amongst their pack-mates. It is not uncommon for the leader status of a pack to change on a regular basis. They have also been noted as well-travelled creatures, willing to roam great distances in order to hunt for food, or even challenge a rival pack. This is one of the main factors affecting their low population on the planets they are encountered on. It means that there is less territorial land to inhabit, making the weakest packs die out as the more dominant ones succeed.
In 2551, Carnigrel were believed to have been sighted aboard a mysterious fleet, known only as the "Ghost Fleet". No Marines are known to have survived, minus one SPARTAN, who had no memory of previous events. The exact date of the first believed sighting since extinction, according to a Marine Journal, was 15th February, 2551, at approximately 7:50 AM.
These believed sightings have caused uproar amongst the UNSC. While not an established faction, Carnigrel were a decent threat to colonization, and the fact that they had supposedly managed to travel into space and enter a UNSC fleet caused reason for panic. A supposedly extinct species was now believed to be back and more threatening than before.
Even before extinction, Carnigrel were extremely rare sightings, comparable to that of a rhino or an elephant back on Earth. The sudden appearance of them in space, aboard a vessel, led the UNSC to believe that either they were taken aboard by the crew, or had been taken aboard by other methods. The UNSC decided that it was more likely that the Covenant had used them like hunting dogs, setting them loose whilst boarding.
Carnigrel were labelled as 'Razertooth's' until after the Covenant Civil War, due to their large, dangerous jaws. It would appear that the Sangheili, however, had encountered the animals years before the humans. The name Carnigrel was then used from them, a term decided upon by both sides, though it didn't stop marines using the old term.
It is unknown where Carnigrel originated from, or indeed how they spread to other planets. They inhabit planets in such low numbers, usually only several packs per inhabitable planet, which makes it hard to determine whether or not a planet could be a homeworld.