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Content Warnings: Animal death, animal eating habits, animal mating habits, animal violence, animal injury, missing persons, animal attack, human death, humans as food source for animal, wilderness injury




                                        Adventurous music plays.

                                        SEBASTIAN is walking alongside a river.


SEBASTIAN:                   I’m hoping, really hoping, that out of all the times I wander off into 

                                        the woods to study fae, I don’t happen to die or go missing in a place                                          called Lake Desolation Forest. I mean, what  even happened to the                                              person who named this place to call it Lake Desolation? What were                                              they even desolate about? Maybe they were just wanting to name the                                          place something badass so they could say it in a batman voice over                                              and over again. Desolation. Desolation. Luckily, though, Lake                                                        Desolation Forest isn’t all that  desolate. It’s actually a great space to                                            search for fae living in the New York  area. The fae I’m looking for                                                  right now are a particular species that hold their mating season                                                      between August and September. They are a river-dwelling species                                                that hardly drift away from their home unless they absolutely have                                                to, such as when food shortages occur. We’re really close now. 


                                        You hear the crunching of leaves.


SEBASTIAN:                  This is the Painted Rivulet, a species of sprite. Pixies and Sprites are                                              both types of fairies, but pixies are fae that mimic insects and often                                              have hard outer shells and horns that protect them from all sorts of                                              predators. Sprites, on the other hand, get their camouflage by                                                      blending into the plant life around them. Most of the time when you                                            ask a person to picture a fairy, they imagine some little tiny human 

                                        in a flowery dress with butterfly wings living in a garden. Sprites are                                              the kind of fairy that they’re picturing. The Painted Rivulet gets its                                                name from this really cool color scheme of pink, purple, and blue. It                                              has a humanoid appearance, but has decorative frills that spring out                                            from its arms and legs. Several sprites have features like this, but,                                                  unlike the Painted Rivulet, they often use it to mimic the stylings of                                                the plants that they make their home in. The Painted Rivulet does 

                                        away with that kind of camouflage in favor of bright colors to attract                                              those of the opposite sex. The Rivulets have a set of four wings that                                              are long and circular, almost like that of a dragonfly. The Painted                                                  Rivulet usually grows up to five inches and has a lifespan of two                                                    years. They are ready to breed at one year old, which is why it is so                                                crucial that they find a partner to be with for the rest of their                                                          lifetime.  I’m looking at a male of the species right now.




 ​SEBASTIAN:                  The male Rivulet has a pair of coattails that trail out behind him. They                                          are almost as long as his own body, about five inches, and end in                                                  circular shapes that I like calling the brush.




​SEBASTIAN:                   The male looks like he’s about to start the mating dance right now.

                                        He is waving the brushes back and forth in a pattern to attract a                                                    female’s attention.



 SEBASTIAN:                  He just sent out another call. It’s really cool to see such a beautiful                                                example of life along the water. In folklore, bodies of water are some                                            of the most dangerous places to be and are home to some of the                                                deadliest fae. I have an… idea of just how true that is, but it’s still an                                              unfounded claim that needs more research and understanding of                                                  the different specimens that inhabit aquatic areas.



​SEBASTIAN:                  Oh look at that! It seems to have worked in his favor! A female, mostly                                         blue in color, has become curious about his tactics. He is waving 

                                       faster now and has--


                                       SEBASTIAN laughs.


​SEBASTIAN:                 Done a move in what I can only describe as a sort of death drop. He                                             has launched himself onto the branch and is letting his coattails speak                                         for themselves. He is beginning a more elaborate pattern. It looks like                                         he is including wind direction into his performance, a calculated move                                         on his part. The female is flying closer and, if she chooses him, should                                         fly around him in a short--

                                       Whooping SPUR-SPUR-SPURS.


​SEBASTIAN:                 The female has stopped in her tracks. There’s another male trying to                                             get her attention. And it seems to be working. The two males are                                                 dancing similarly, trying to, I guess, copy and outdo each other, but                                             this new male has an advantage our male doesn’t. He has 

                                       longer coattails. If our male doesn’t act fast, he’ll probably end up                                                 losing her for good. He is shifting tactics and is now flying in 

                                       the air as he holds his coattails up. He places them out in front of him                                           at her sides, but now the female is fluttering away. The female backed                                         away from our male and has chosen to ignore his advances. The new                                           male has appeared to have won this contest. The male we are                                                       following is slowing down, but he’s still going. Poor little guy.


                                       Complicated SCRRR-PURR EEO-EOO-EOOO.

​SEBASTIAN:                  He’s trying again. Another two calls in hopes of finding a mate. If he                                             doesn’t get one now, he’ll probably never get the chance again.




​SEBASTIAN:                  Another female is coming. She is smaller than most, I think. The male                                           is waving his brushes again. Now the male waits for her to make 

                                       a decision. Will she pick him or will she move on to search for another                                         mate? The female is hovering in the air right now and-- There she                                                 goes. She has chosen him. The female flitted around the male in a                                               loop.

                                       Multiple mating calls in the distance


​SEBASTIAN:                 They are now dancing circles around each other. It looks as if the other                                         pairs are beginning to take flight, too. Our pair is keeping close to                                               each other, but are beginning to join the group. The group, is of at                                               least sixty different pairs, and are clustering together in a large ball. It                                           looks like all of the pairs are ignoring each other, except for this                                                     choreography. They only dance with their partner, flying back and                                                 forth between each other in circles and twists. Oh, you guys will                                                     probably like this. There are about six pairs of same-sex Rivulets who                                           are a part of this dance. Four pairs of females and two pairs of males.                                           In the Nygard, The Rivulet demonstrates a great degree of emotional                                           intelligence and possesses a desire for social connection outside of                                             the connection they make with their flock. I think the same sex                                                       relationships will work out in favor of the Rivulets if a parent were to                                             die before their children were to reach adulthood.


                                       WAH. WAH. 


​SEBASTIAN:                And it looks like I’m not the only audience member watching this. Over                                        there, in the water, about, maybe, fifteen feet away is a pack of                                                      Shellycoats.


                                     SQE-WAHH. SQE-WAHH. WAHH. Sounds of splashing.


​SEBASTIAN:                God that one’s being really noisy. The first documented Shellycoats                                             were a species of them in Scotland. They’re closely related to Otters,                                           but they’re even more related to Siamogale melilutra, a now 

                                     extinct species that lived in China. They’re smaller than the Siamogale,                                         but, like the Giant Otter in the Amazons, can grow up to two meters in                                         length. The Shellycoats got their name from Scottish folklore, where                                             they would wear coats made out of shells that rattled as they moved. 

                                     Shellycoats have an odd, and adorable, habit of collecting piles of                                               shells and bones and shiny rocks that they decorate their homes with.                                           In fact, if you ever come across a large collection of shells out along                                             the riverbank, you’re probably in or near the home of a Shellycoat.




​SEBASTIAN:                Oh wow. One of them actually tried to jump out of the water and catch                                       a Rivulet.


                                     SPLASH. SPLASH. SPLASH.


​SEBASTIAN:               The other Shellycoats are following what must have been a leader. They                                       are jumping up about two meters into the air, but most of the Rivulets                                         are out of reach.


                                     SPLASH. SCREECH.

​SEBASTIAN:               One Shellycoat has managed to grip down on a Rivulet and snap it                                               straight out of the air. I’m not sure if the Shellycoat is eating the Rivulet                                         as a food source or is doing it for fun, like a cat trying to catch a bug.                                           Shellycoats like playing around with other species of river-dwelling 

                                     fae, but are predators at the end of the day that enjoy eating fish,                                                 amphibians, and turtles. I always assumed that they eat other species                                           of fae as well, I just have never seen it before. Which makes this whole                                         situation really cool. The other Rivulets are becoming wise to 

                                     the Shellycoat tactic and are moving themselves away from the                                                    riverbed up higher up into the sky. 


                                    WAH. WAH. WAH. WAH. WAH.


​SEBASTIAN:               The Shellycoats are talking to each other. Two of them have split the                                            Rivulet between themselves. Despite how cute and adorable and                                                  cuddly looking they are, Shellycoats, like otters, are strong, agile, and                                          highly intelligent predators. In fact, I’d be concerned for other animals                                          attempting to interact with them because of how weasley they are.                                              Despite them eating whatever they can overpower, they have a                                                      reputation for being a kind fae species. In folklore, they are said to                                                not act out of spite and are more likely to trick people than hurt them.

                                    Otters and Shellycoats are both intelligent and dangerous predators,                                          but aren’t really a threat to humans. However, they are really territorial                                          and will attack if they feel threatened.


                                    WEH. WAH.


​SEBASTIAN:              OHHHH My god. There’s a baby. He’s so small and cute. Oh yes you are.                                     Awwww my god.



​SEBASTIAN:              He’s so tiny. Shellycoats have litters of up to three babies. They’re blind                                       and helpless when they are born, so it is up to the pack to take care of                                         them and protect them from predators. Even when the pups are able to 

                                   swim on their own, the pack surrounds them in order to provide them                                           with their full protection. This little guy hasn’t even developed his beard                                       yet. Shellycoats have these wispy little mustaches and beards 

                                   that grow out over time. While their whiskers are used to look for prey in                                     dark or muddy water, these beards are purely decorative. It kind of                                               makes them look like old men, which makes their mythology even                                                 funnier. All in all, I think it’s fascinating just how much of their 

                                   mythology was adapted from the characteristics of their biology. In the                                       legends, the Shellycoats are really old and bearded water spirits that                                           take on the guise of old men. When a human wanders onto their                                                   territory, they’re said to lead them astray. They’ll also pretend to drown                                       and laugh at whoever tries to save them. I cannot wait to let others know                                     about this interaction between the Rivulets and the Shellycoats. They’re                                       going to think it’s so cool! Alrighty, this is Sebastian. Signing off.



CREATURE FUN FACT: The Painted Rivulet lays up to 50 eggs in an underwater nest and spends the first half of its life in an aquatic larval stage before going above water to cocoon itself in preparation for the final stage.



The Viridian Wild is created, written, and produced by Davis Walden with creative consulting by Nicole Miller. Our music is composed by Daryl Banner. This episode features the voice of Davis Walden as Sebastian. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as The Viridian Wild or email us at Learn more and find transcripts of this episode at We would like to thank our first Adventurers joining us on this journey: Joe and Mandy Walden. You can support Sebastian’s study of the magical world around us on our patreon at and gain access to bonus material such as bloopers and book recommendations. The Viridian Wild is a product of Always in My Head Productions. Till next time, happy trails!

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