Tunnel Lizards are a common and highly adaptable variety of subterrainian Rahi.
The Tunnel Lizard species was created by the Makuta using Viruses and Liquid Protodermis to be one of the many Rahi to inhabit the Matoran Universe. The species soon spread out, establishing populations in several different lands.
One population made its home in Metru Nui. Tunnel Lizard colonies here could be found in every metru, living within maintenance tunnels and abandoned portions of the Archives, though were most common in Onu-Metru. Here, most Matoran thought of the lizards as pests due to the Rahi's habit of unintentionally undermining surface structures, causing extensive property damage in the process. Most Onu-Matoran, however, enjoyed the lizards' company, even going so far as to tame a number of them, making use of the Rahi's digging abilities and keen senses to help in mining and construction operations below-ground.
At the beginning of the Visorak's invasion of Metru Nui, scattered Tunnel Lizard colonies were swiftly hunted down and captured. In response to this, seperate Tunnel Lizard colonies began grouping together, forming larger, more formidable groups. More confident in large numbers than they were alone, the Tunnel Lizards swiftly turned the tables on more than one squad or patrol of Visorak. Because of this, some portions of the Metru Nui underground were kept free of Visorak throughout the rest of their occupation of the city.
Several of Metru Nui's Tunnel Lizards later migrated to the island of Mata Nui. Here, they occupied the regions of Po-Wahi and Onu-Wahi, though were later forced to return to Metru Nui after the Bohrok were released intentionally by the Toa Nuva.
Some Tunnel Lizards established a colony on the Southern Continent. When the Great Cataclysm caused the area of the Southern Continent known as Voya Nui to rocket upwards to the surface of Aqua Magna, part of the Tunnel Lizard population was carried with it and managed to adapt to their new surroundings. One thousand years later, they managed to survive Voya Nui's return to the Southern Continent due to their subterrainian nature, which allowed them to ride out the event within the safety of their underground homes.
As stated above, Tunnel Lizards also established colonies in a number of other regions, including (but not limited to) Odina, Xia, Zakaz, and the Northern Continent, with each population possessing its own traits that allows it to survive in its habitat; the Odina specimens are feral and live in packs, often roaming the outskirts of the island in search of food. They attack Rahi, intruders, and even Dark Hunters, using their numbers to quickly kill and devour their prey in a gruesome, piranha-like fashion.
Abilities and Traits
Very common and adaptable, Tunnel Lizards owe some of their success to their sociable behavior; Tunnel Lizards usually live in small, tight-nit colonies that usually number one or two dozen, though Metru Nui's lizards have been known to gather in much larger numbers as a means of protection from enemies. Though rare, Tunnel Lizards have been known to attack Matoran and larger Rahi if threatened, using their numbers to bring opponents down.
These Rahi have also displayed unusually high intelligence for reptiles, possessing the ability to understand basic commands, or solve problems that are usually too difficult for most other beasts. Because of their smarts and social nature, most Tunnel Lizards are easily trained, and seem to truly enjoy the company of Matoran. Despite this, however, Tunnel Lizards often take on new traits to adapt to different environments. An example of this can be found in Odina's Tunnel Lizards, which are nasty and vicious in the extreme due to lack of prey on the island.
Tunnel Lizards are roughly the size of a Matoran, and are adapted to a life underground - their senses of night vision, smell, and hearing are very acute; and their large claws and drill-like tails allow them to dig their way through soil and earth in search of food. Though they will occasionally supplement their diet with fruits and other forms of plant life, Tunnel Lizards usually feed on small insects, reptiles, and rodents; Stone Rats and Kinloka in particular are are consumed with relish. Prey is immobilized by a paralyzing venom injected by the lizard's small fangs.
Though wild Tunnel Lizards use their claws to dig, those that were domesticated by the Onu-Matoran of Metru Nui were often outfitted with jackhammer-like devices. These allowed the reptiles to burrow through rock and other obstacles they might face while tunneling.
Known Tunnel Lizards
- Though it has gone through various changes and upgrades over the years, the Tunnel Lizard was user Toa Hydros' first BIONICLE MOC, with the Tunnel Lizard's first incarnation origianlly being assembled in late 2002.
- Society of Guardians (First Appearance)