Domestic Bovine

Bovinae and its subspecies are cloven-hoofed, ruminant mammals, the males of which have horns that neither branch nor are shed yearly, but are permanent, growing throughout the animal’s lifespan.

Throughout Pern, bovines are used for food – milked or slaughtered for their meat, to provide clothing – their hide for tanning or hair clipped for use in weaving, or for burden-bearing, pulling and sometimes even ridden.

All domestic cattle belong to the biological family of Bovidae and the subfamily of Bovinae, falling under the two groups - Genus Bubalus and Genus Bos.

River Bovine [Group Bovini, Genus Bubalus]
click to enlarge

A large bovine used primarily as a burdenbeast, this breed was known on Terra a ‘water buffalo’. Brought to Pern as use for meat, milk, draft and pack animals, the ones taken to the northern continent are all domestic. During the Second Crossing some escaped and some were left behind to fend for themselves, so on the southern continent these species are also feral. The milk of the River Bovine is quite rich in butterfat, the hide thicker than that of other bovine and is primarily used for shoes, boots and flight gear.

These animals are very large, weighing up to 2000 pounds primarily black with large widely curving horns. They are adapted well to tropical and sub-tropical wetlands, primarily kept in the low-lying river deltas between Igen and Keroon and Igen and Telgar, Southern Boll, Nerat and Ista.

If left alone, they will spend much of the day submerged in the water, lying on the muddy bottoms with only their heads above the water. Docile and gentle, they are easy to work with; children can and often do handle them. River Bovine cannot be herded but will naturally follow their handler, even without a leadrope.

Scrub Bovine [Group Bovini, Genus Bos]

click to enlarge

Known on Terra as Banteng, this large species was a wild bovine domesticated and brought to Pern for food and use as a burdenbeast. Transported to the northern continent at the Second Crossing, most are domestic although some have since escaped and formed small wild herds. On the southern continent these bovine are both domestic and wild.

Scrub Bovine have hair that is a short, rich chestnut with white legs and rumps, their horns short and curving slightly inwards. They are acclimated to heat and prefer the drier lowlands, hill country, the sparser forests of Southern Boll, Nerat and Ista and the semi-arid plains and hills of Igen, Keroon and Telgar.

Like the River Bovine, Scrub Bovine are strong and can grow to weigh nearly 2000 pounds. Valuable for their hardiness, these animals provide meat, milk and hide and lend their strength to plowing fields, and as pack animals.

Bighorn Bovine [Group Bovini, Genus Bos]
click to enlarge

On Terra, this large-horned bovine was known as ‘Gayal’. The ones taken to the northern continent are all domestic. The ones left behind to fend for themselves at the time of the Second Crossing have interbred with other bovine and created hybrid cattle that roam the southern continent as feral herds.

Primarily black to dark bay with large humped shoulders, these bovine grow very large, weighing up to 2200 pounds and are used exclusively for meat and hide and nothing else due to their short-tempered nature. Their round horns are massive, projecting almost straight to the sides from a wide, bony poll. These bovine prefer hilly terrain, evergreen forests or the semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests in the lower elevations of High Reaches, Tillek, Lemos, Bitra and Bendon in the northern continent. In the southern continent they are raised in the forests of Xanadu and Eastern and roam in small feral groups in the foothills to the Southern Barrier Range.

Wooly Bovine [Group Bovini, Genus Bos]

click to enlarge

This bovine was transported to Pern as an invaluable resource for those who would later settle in high altitude places. Known on Terra as Yak, this medium-sized herdbeast is used for meat, milk, draft, pack and especially mounts in steep and difficult terrain. All of the existing animals then on Pern were taken to the northern continent during the Second Crossing where are all domesticated.

Adapted to both high altitudes and frigid climates, herds of these beasts are established by remote and hardy folk living in the mountainous areas of High Reaches, Telgar, Lemos, Crom, Bitra and Bendon that border the Northern Barrier Range. In the last 100 turns herds have been reintroduced in the southern continent in the high altitudes near the Southern Barrier Range in small herding camps.

They are a variety of colors ranging from buff to bay to black with thick coats for which they are highly prized, the long, shaggy hair and dense, woolly undercoat cover the chest, flanks, thighs and belly forming a long ‘skirt’ that reaches the ground. In summer the fiber is shorn and spun into thread and yarn used for weaving and knitting for clothing that is exceptionally warm.

Bos primigenius [Group Bovini, Genus Bos]

Includes all breeds descended from the Bos Taurus (on Terra from Northen Eurasia and southeast Turkey), the Bos indicus (on Terra the humped cattle cattle from the Indian Subcontinent) and the extinct Bos primigenius (Aurochs) and loosely referred to as ‘cattle’. Selective breeding has led to the development of a variety of subtypes or breeds of which the frozen fertilized ovum of many were transported to Pern for introduction.

Only several of the hardiest breeds were selected for the Second Crossing to the northern continent and the rest were turned out to fend for themselves. Those that survived formed a feral group with several hybrid results.

These animals are now raised as livestock for meat, as dairy animals for milk and as draft animals pulling carts and plows carrying packs in caravan or as mounts. Leather and fiber for clothing, dung for manure or fuel, bone for tools and jewelry.


Highland [Bos Taurus]

click to enlarge

High Reaches, Tillek, Fort Mountains

Dairy [Bos Taurus]

click to enlarge

Keroon Plains, Temperate lowlands of both north and south

Draught [Bos Indicus]

click to enlarge

Igen, Nerat, South Boll, Ista, Wesern Isles and Tropical regions of the Southern Continent

Longhorn [Bos Taurus]

click to enlarge

Telgar Plains, Landing

Humped [Bos Indicus]

click to enlarge

Nerat, Ista, Southern Boll, Wesern Isles and Tropical regions of the Southern Continent

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License