As large as a bear, as stout as a marten, the Bearten are ambush predators in Thistleland with a rather unusual way to snatching away more or less anything that wanders into their trap.
Bearten are built with thick stout legs and large wide paws. Their chest has a lighter brown patch on it then the darker brown main pelt, though by no means as bright as a martens. While not tiny, their rounded ears are smaller in proportion to their head. Beartens also have longer torsos with large, sagging underbellies. Their jaws while not wide, are larger then a typical mammal, hinting at a very large gape.
Described in olden texts of Thistleland as the Gulper Eels of the land, the Bearten will typically dig a shallow pit and cover itself with earth, plant material, stick and leaves, leaving itself mostly hidden in the environment. Once all but it's snout are covered, the Bearten will concentrate, and then slowly and deliberately breathe out, spilling an almost invisible gas over an area in front of itself that leads straight into the Beartens maw, the gas typically reaching up to five feet ahead. This fine mist, slightly blue in hue, will settle on the lower levels of the ground, and the bear will remain motionless afterwards, taking slow, shallow breaths while both unseen and unable to see.
When the Bearten detects an animal of sufficient size, or several smaller animals with their vibrations felt through the mist, the Bearten will activate this trap. Prey sizes are typically from rabbit sized up to person size, sometimes even larger. The Bearten will rapidly inhale the mist with one large breath, filling it's lungs. The mist appears to be non-Newtonian in nature, with the quick intake making it act like a highly viscous liquid, drawing in mist connected with it, and any animal that is within this mist. The process takes less then half a second, and with the almost hiccup-like intake of air is finished, whatever prey was there has vanished down the throat of the Bearten.
It has been known for Bearten to fall asleep while hunting this way, sleeping for days at a time in their dig-out. They will still hunt during this sleep period, and will inhale-consume on reflex, without knowing they consumed prey. During these times, when a Bearten wakes, it will often be unaware it ate anything, even with a bulge, and will continue to hunt, oblivious. This situation is due to Beartens sleeping patterns being semi-hibernation in nature.
During the process of breathing in prey, the Bearten will also dislodge itself from it's dugout, and then calmly walk back to a den nearby, it's large sagging underbelly containing the prey or several prey that were inhaled into the stomach. Due to the Beartens design, it will allow prey to move and attempt escape as it moves away, relying on strong stomach walls and the effects of it's swaying underbelly when walking to subdue prey inside. Once in its den, the Bearten will lay on it's side with bulging stomach exposed, and sleep the meal off over a period of a couple weeks. There are reports of people being rescued from being eaten by a Bearten as long as half a week to a week with only minor noticeable injury. It appears a combination of inhaling air, and the Bearten's loose and inefficient containment of air in it's stomach allows enough air to enter while it sleeps for prey to survive, that or the mist itself sustains the prey as it may do in the Beartens lungs.
Typically Beartens have little to no idea on what animal they have eaten, and treat any animal in it's mist the same with little regard. It's possible they are unaware they are even eating creatures, and instead are just assuming food appears in their stomach if they hiccup-inhale. Their stomachs are also strong enough to resist most attacks with little more then a burp. It is advisable to have members of an adventure group save you in those situations.
Due to their size and effective hunting strategy, Beartens are marked as a medium-high danger by the Adventure Guild, and advised to tackle with groups of at least three people due to their ability to swallow at least one party member. Outside of feeding, they are known to be somewhat docile, even halfway friendly/curious. Be cautious in such events.