|Origin||No Man's Sky|
|Environment||Auserk Moor, Futerfjot Crossing, Subbou Wastes, The Ruyni|
|Reproduction||Sexual; gives live birth|
|Average Height||6.29 ft (1.92 m)|
|Average Weight||204.52 lbs (92.77 kg)|
Thorncats (Arcatik hokamai) are a species of large gusukcats indigenous to the planet Zukabergo-Nama Gusuk, partially domesticated by the Loranche explorer Somarinoa. They are notable for being effectively immune to the Lambent Virus.
Thorncats are the holotype species for horned gusukcats. They have a compact but well-muscled animal, standing at approximately 6.29 ft (1.92 m) at the shoulder and weigh upwards of 204.52 lbs. They have muscled but thin-looking legs and a long, strong, and thick tail that drags along the ground, unlike most other gusukcats. Like many other gusukcats, their fur is tawny in color. This is broken up with brown bands and splotches, ending in brown "socks" covering their lower limbs. Dark circles appear over their eyes, earning them the nickname "Nightshifters". A pair of curling horns extend up and slightly back over the head, and a pair of tusks extend and curl back out of their lower jaw. Unlike other gusukcats, they have developed a specialized, pig-like snout strengthened with a prenasal bone and ending in a cartilaginous disk at its tip. This nose is very sensitive to smell and they use this to dig through the soil for necessary oxides to consume.
Interestingly, the Thorncats were infected by the Lambent Virus that also did a number on both the Ibbochr Tailshrike and the Ibbochr Shalewolf. However, unlike those two Wolfshrike species, the large quantity of oxide elements consumed by the Thorncats—especially the titanium found in their systems—prevented the viral infection from reaching full maturation. Instead, it festered into boil-like pods that typically showed up along their dorsal ridge.
Thorncats consume oxide elements, and do not discern between iron, zinc, and titanium. Because of this mineral requirement, they are considered both herbivorous and lithotrophic. Normally they will feed on the various vegetation species on the world of Zukabergo-Nama Gusuk but are better known for using their incredible sense of smell to root out mineral crystals in the dirt. This is how they usually find the titanium that they require to survive.
Thorncats were first discovered in Auserk Moor, but were later recorded as being found within Futerfjot Crossing, across the Subbou Wastes, and around the Ruyni, a crashed Gek escape pod.
Thorncats are one of the species indigenous to Zukabergo-Nama Gusuk that have a history of domestication, along with the Speckled Gekdog. This began when Loranche explorer Somarinoa arrived on-world and in his desperation to survive on the harsh world with minimal shielding against it, came to feed some of these creatures, leading to a sort of easy alliance between the two species. When Somarinoa returned to The Clemi with one in tow, the local Gek began working on domesticating them as a whole to better the livelihood of those on-world and as an easier way to study the Lambent Virus that had become sterile in its body. It brought hope for the growing Coalition forces in defeating the virus permanently with the construction of antibody vaccines.
This effort was thought hampered during the Great Thaw when the world boiled and entered its irradiated summer state, but returning to the planet they discovered that some Thorncats still roamed the land. This has lent credence to the Hollow Zukabergo hypothesis, which postulates that the inside of the planet is either hollow or sponge-like, with massive cavernous regions that allow for subterranean biomes to continue the survivability of "winter" species during the "summer" years.