About the PRAIRIE Piot Sanctuary

           The PRAIRIE Sanctuary first came to public attention as a result of a question in the uk.media.sf.tv.b5 news group.

Mr Argyle indicated a desire to purchase a baby piot that another poster, a Mr Steve Stone, had previously offered for sale. Little did he realise that the group was regularly read by two piot experts, Mr Andy Beales, author of the best selling book, Piots - Even more dangerous than a Zarg! (Centauri Press 1996 price 15.99 UK pounds) and Mrs Margaret Hall, founder of the PRAIRIE Piot Sanctuary. Here is the text of Mr Beales' post to Mr Argyle.

           Dear Mr Argyle, I can't believe that you're willing to pay to import such a vicious predator as the piot.

As you are well aware, adult piots grow to almost 4 feet in length, and when deprived of their staple diet of spoo turn into vicious killers that can seriously affect the cat and dog populations within their hunting ranges.

So I respectfully suggest you control your macho urges , and get something altogether safer, like a rottweiler.

Andy Beales, Author of "Piots - Even more dangerous than a Zarg!"

Margaret Hall followed up this post with another, supporting Andy Beales' plea that people should think carefully... several times... and then take a course in Minbari meditation.... and then think a little longer, before embarking on the responsibility of piot ownership.
An appealing baby piot I have to agree with Andy on the subject of piots. So many people see them when they're hatchlings, with those big soulful red eyes and go, "Aaaaaaah... Isn't it cute." They don't think ahead to when they're fully grown and quite capable of taking half your arm off. Properly trained, a piot makes a loving and satisfying pet; in the wrong hands they become killers. That's why here in Gwynedd we have set up the Piot Rescue And Imaginative Rehabilitation Institute for England&Wales (PRAIRIE). People were buying these delightful animals, letting them get out of hand then, when they could no longer cope, taking them out into the countryside and dumping them. Of course they were then simply shot by irate farmers, tired of losing sheep to these skilful predators. Now we have a humane capture and re-homing programme established. Support us with a donation or simply by stressing on your friends: A piot is for life and your children's life and their children's life and their children's life (because remember that piots naturally live for about 150 years) not just for Christmas. Another appealing baby piot

Choosing Your Piot

The Faithful PiotBefore taking on the responsibility of piot keeping, be sure to ask yourself why exactly you want a piot. If you want to show your piot in the many classes run under the auspices of the piot Fancy, you will need to go to a top piot breeder and make sure that you get the necessary registration papers giving your piot's complete lineage and proving it to be a pedigree. As well as making sure that the young piotling shows all the classic Signs of Health (listed below), you will be looking for
  • particularly well defined skin markings
  • a good deep ruby red for the eye colouring
  • elegance of line
  • regularity in the fangs.
  • a fine emerald sheen and razor edge to the claws

The Signs of a Healthy Piot

Whether your piot will be a fine plump show specimen, a lean hunter or a cuddly companion, the main points to watch for are:

  • bright shining eyes which should never be runny
  • a smooth, flexible skin with a slightly rubbery texture
  • an alert expression
Danger signs which should warn you not to take on the piot, however plaintively it looks at you with its soulful eyes:
  • runny or half-closed eyes
  • a skin with rough or raw patches or which feels flaky
  • lethargy (unless the piot has just eaten)
  • broken or green-stained fangs
  • splitting or missing claws
Hunting with piots is becoming increasingly popular for those who have a few thousand acres of moorland or woodland within easy reach and can afford the Third Party Insurance and compensation payments to farmers when your piot prefers a sheep or a heifer to its proper prey.

Many people will just want a piot for the love and companionship this noble creature can offer (if properly reared and trained). Whilst in the wrong hands a piot is a ruthless killer, if properly disciplined from a piotling, it will be obedient and gentle and (relatively) safe to leave with children over about 12 years old -- as long as they are not afraid of the piot and you have left them with a stout stick. A firm whack on the nose with a stout stick soon reminds the piot who is boss.

On no account must you consider keeping a piot if you are in any way timid or afraid of large carniverous creatures with large fangs and razor sharp claws capable of dismbowelling a small cow. The piot will sense your unease and will therefore never become totally trustworthy. If a piot senses fear in a human, it will rapidly change from a docile pet into a ravening beast.

A piot out of control!

Care and Feeding of the Piot

           Newly hatched piotlings need a feed of minced raw meat mixed with ground bone and dried blood. This should be offered every 3 hours. Feed as much as the piotling can eat in one sitting, then remove any leftovers as stale food can quickly make your piot ill. This meat, blood and bone mix is known to piot fanciers as "sprigy food". Piots grow very rapidly in the early stages and require huge amounts of food if they are to grow healthy fangs, skin and claws. As the piot becomes larger, say after 3-4 months, the meals can be increased in size and the frequency decreased until when it reaches adulthood, at say 15 years, it will only have a meal every few days. (Though if you keep your piot as a pet, some authorities recommend that for safety, you actually feed smaller meals daily so it never actually feels hungry.)

For other Topics such as:

Grooming and Skin Care for Piots
Illness and First Aid for Piots
How to tell when your Piot is poorly
The Parasites of the Piot

I can do no better than refer you to the book by the expert Piots - Even more dangerous than a Zarg! (Beale, A. Centauri Press 1996 price 15.99 UK pounds)

Possible Sightings of Piots on TV?

           It was Mr Ben Fell who raised the question as to whether a piot had made an appearance in the TV programme Star Trek: Voyager.

He wrote:

Were Paris and Neelix caring for a Baby piot or what? At first sight of the adult, I thought we could be dealing with the fearsome Zarg, but upon closer inspection of the infant (and with reference to Margaret's detailed description of the piot's biology) it became clear that this was indeed the elusive little reptile.

Can anyone confirm this please? Margaret? Andrew?

To this Margaret Hall replied:

I was completely taken aback when I saw the infant creature. It's a Baby Piot! I thought. It was a complete coincidence that I saw it at all. Normally at this hour on a Sunday I'm pottering around the kitchen making dinner and listening to Children's BBC on Radio 4. Well, actually it's the other way round. I always listen to Radio 4 and Children's BBC just happens to be on at that time. But last Sunday my husband had taken over the kitchen table to mark assignments so I retreated to the other room and put the TV on to watch a video. And saw the piot...

Or was it a piot?

I just had to keep watching in case an adult turned up to confirm the identification. I'd come in just at the point where the egg hatched, so didn't see the adult until the end.

I would be grateful for Mr Beale's expertise to aid me in making a definite identification, but I fear this was not the famous umtsb5 piot. Mr Beale may want to correct me on this point, but unless it was the extremely rare Piotus Erectus, I believe it was merely a creature which due to parallel evolution has a similar form and habitat. The piots that my volunteers care for so diligently in the PRAIRIE Sanctury (good, caring homes always required) are of the more easily obtained Piotus Vulgaris. My piots are quadrupeds, though they are capable of bipedal locomotion over short distances. Also, as has been noted many times before in this group, Piots are firmly carniverous. Any piot worth its salt, even one so newly hatched, would have had Neelix's hand off at the wrist. The idea of inhaling nutitritous vapours would be completely abhorrant to a creature that revels in warm blood.

Mr Beales reply was extremely informative:

Ah yes, the "Is that a piot?" Yoyager episode. Unfortunately I was out on a field study at the time, but I have seen the episode in question and you are correct in assuming a that the creature seen was a sub space temporal recombitant DNA replication, resulting in a parallel development curve leading to the use of advanced technology while forsaking their natural aggression.

A true Piotus Vulgaris would indeed have removed Neelix's hand. However, I have heard of research that indicates that the young of many creatures, even the normally timid Spoo, will approach a near piot state of aggression when exposed to Neelix's presence for more then 5 minutes. As do the adults of a number of intelligent races.

The Piotus Erectus is indeed a rare beast, in fact the Piot Research Community is still arguing over the importance of it's tail in attaining it's upright posture. It still shares the red eyes, common to all piot types, but it's lower leg claws are somewhat stunted in comparison to the other types to enable it to function correctly in the upright position. It's tail is approximately 1.5 ft in length (the adult creature reaching about 5 ft), with scientists still arguing over whether the tail drags on the ground, or is just used to conter balance it's weight. However it's upright status is achieved, it can still sustain a speed rivaling that of the fastest earth mammals for short periods. In fact, the only time I've seen one it was moving that fast that I couldn't even gather any data on tail use before it disappeared.

Anyway, hope I've been of some help to you, and keep up the good work at the sanctuary.

Andy Beales, author of "Piots - Even more dangerous than the Zarg"


Finally, after all that, why not...

Visit a site that actually has something to do with Babylon 5!

See how to turn a human into a Minbari (without the aid of the crysalis)

Find out about social gatherings for Babylon 5 fans

Visit Margaret's real home page

Third Party Insurance

           This is essential for any piot keeper. Rates vary and it pays to shop around. Those who only show their piots or keep them as cuddly companions will simply need the Basic level of insurance which will cover you in case the piot's natural instincts suddenly overwhelm it and it runs amok in the shopping centre. Piots kept for hunting should have as much insurance as you can afford as it is only too easy to run up thousands (if not millions) of pounds of damages if your piot starts killing livestock, tourists, National Park wardens or a school party on a field trip. I'm sure you have all read in the National Press of the sad case last autumn where a pair of piots went out of control in the New Forest and killed and ate a whole minibus full of children at a picnic site. This sort of incident gets reputable piot keepers a bad name, and sadly two fine piots had to be put down, owing to carelessness on the part of the owner. The only good thing in a very dismal affair was the fact that the owner was fully insured and the bereaved were fully compensated. So remember, you have been warned!

Return to the section on Choosing a Piot (Hunting).