A fluppet

What is a fluppet?

(The fluppet FAQ)

Please note: This information is reproduced from research undertaken in the 1990s, since people have been known to ask.
Some information may since have been corrected by the fluppobiologist community.
Please redirect further questions to the Fluppology Institute.

Fluppets are cute. This is what they are, who they are, and what they do.

Because fluppets are cute, they also tend to be victims. This was a trend which started with the fluppets drawn at my school, through which people tended to draw spikes; hence the armoured fluppet. The book 101 ways to cook a fluppet by the author is a case in point (not currently available unless you come round to see my sketchpad). Fortunately the thick layer of fur protects fluppets from a lot of the damage they would otherwise incur.

Common questions about fluppets

How large is a fluppet? Fluppet size
Quite small; specifically, they're two feet across.
Do fluppets have mouths? Fluppet mouths
No (but see the question on fluppet subspecies below).
How do fluppets eat? Fluppet food
They filter air through their fur, and extract nutrients from it in a similar way to the feeding mechanism of sponges. This is a major reason that fluppets hate getting mud in their fur. Fluppet fur is an extremely complex structure as a result of this feeding mechanism; so while being a good protective layer and feeling extremely soft and cuddly, if removed from the fluppet the fur quickly deteriorates. Hence fluppet fur is not a valuable commodity, although it can taste quite nice if properly cooked (with the rest of the fluppet). A fluppet without fur quickly implodes under the vacuum which normally strains air through the fur, and disappears, leaving only a sad little pair of feet and baleful eyes — the nose and antennae disintegrate.
Do the workings of fluppet fur cause any problems? Fluppet fur
In spite of the risk of implosion, the structure is normally quite stable, and an attempt to dice a fluppet will generally result in a lot of blood and a large number of very small fluppets, so un-furring a fluppet is actually very difficult to do. Fluppets do not like to reproduce asexually in this way. While fluppets are resilient to chopping and dicing, they can be killed by various means of cooking, and by being impaled. The resilience to being chopped is part of the reason fluppets are attacked so often, since people who have previously tried to dispose of one tend to attack them on sight out of pure frustration. Generally, though, they're attacked simply because they are just so cute that they get on people's nerves. The noise made by air moving through the fur is generally not audible without special equipment, which is generally not useful as a fluppet detection device.
How do fluppets talk? Fluppet speech
They can oscillate their antennae to produce soundwaves. This produces an effect something like a spectrum analyser if examined closely. It does, however, appear to be an art which not all fluppets have learned; most just sit around and look pathetic.
How do fluppets hear? Fluppet hearing
The antennae are quite sensitive, and can pick up oscillation in the air well enough for the fluppet to hear. Under normal conditions a fluppet has very good hearing, but accuracy decreases significantly if the fluppet is attempting to talk at the same time.
How do fluppets mate? Fluppet reproduction
Feet to feet (they do reproduce sexually).
How do fluppets tell the difference? Fluppet gender
This is a difficult one. Generally, they can't. Hence female fluppets often wear bows in their fur.
What's the gestation period of a fluppet? Fluppet gestation
Don't you think there's too much sex in this discussion? We're talking about the mating habits of small fluffy creatures; this is probably unhealthy. For those who really must know, fluppets give birth from somewhere under the fur, normally only to one child, and do so on relatively rare occasions because sex isn't cute (although it can be quite fun). However, fluppets still prefer this method of reproduction to the asexual one mentioned above, mainly because it hurts less. About half the fluppet population is the direct result of breeding; the others have been through accidents which have redistributed the original amongst a number of children.
How do fluppets move? Fluppet locomotion
Slowly. They waddle around on their large feet. Not having any significant legs, movement is normally by means of rotation of the legs in a wheel-like manner; something like a cross between a penguin and Charlie Chaplin. However, fluppets have quite strong ankles, and can jump quite high from a standing start. They do not have the springiness of a kangaroo's tendons, so motion by jumping, although potentially faster than walking, requires a great expenditure of energy. Some fluppets have also been known to flick one foot very hard, and so instigate a rotating motion. This is a fast method of locomotion, but makes it hard to stop accurately or to look in the direction of travel. Fluppets are generally not keen on this, since it makes them dizzy and gets mud in their fur.
How bright are fluppets? Fluppet intelligence
Fluppets appear to have a quite high intelligence level, at least on par with the human average (okay, low intelligence level, then). A few fluppets have been known to make tools, but most are happy to use them if provided. Fluppets generally prefer to wander around and encounter the world, bringing a little cuteness to the planet, rather than settling down in one place (where they could be eaten), and hence concentrate more on the arts of communication and being cute than on technology.
How do fluppets pick things up? Fluppet dexterity
Fluppet antennae are quite strong, and extremely prehensile. Being long and thin, however, they are not good at containing a number of small objects (e.g. a collection of eggs), for which fluppets will resort to balancing things on their large, flat feet.
How varied are fluppets? Fluppet variations
Once full grown, most fluppets are fairly similar (to the human eye). There are variations in shape of fur and feet, and some have slightly uneven eyes.
Are there any other types of fluppet? Fluppet subspecies
While the common fluppet (Fluppetus fluppetus) is by far the most frequently found, there have been occurrences of dark fluppets (Fluppetus melanopellis), vampire fluppets (Fluppetus draculi), a fluppet with a mouth (which unfortunately got spiked before it could breed) et al. Fluppets have been seen in three dimensional form, but this is relatively rare. Vampire fluppets have a mouth and teeth, but no throat; the fangs are hollow and used to drink blood. Dark fluppets are a splinter group which has pledged to fight against the persecution of fluppets in a generally un-cute manner (typically by sitting on people until they suffocate); the reason for the varied hair colour is unknown. ASCII fluppets have also been seen:
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No, but really...
Fluppets were inspired by a similar-looking design on a pencil case seen in approximately 1990; the design on the pencil case was, I believe, grey and somewhat more shaggy than the average fluppet, and may have lacked antennae (but might possibly have been wearing headphones, if I didn't imagine it). I'll credit it if I find one again. They took on a life of their own in a selection of doodles among my social group (notable credit to Simon Holness, who probably instigated this), and survived my university years (“Fluppeteer” originating when I was asked for a character name for the MUD “Drogon” — this occasionally causes people to think my name is Peter).
Fluppet seal

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