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Common Name: Bulbasaur, Fushigidane (young), Ivysaur, Fushigisou (subadult), Venusaur, Fushigibana (adult).
Scientific Name: Venusaurus rafflesiformes
Description: Venusaur are large, heavy-set pokemon. They measure 79 inches from nose to rear, stand 32 inches high at the shoulder, and the skull alone measures two feet across. They are quadrupeds, with thick legs and three-toed feet. As mammo-reptiles, they fall more on the reptilian side of the spectrum, although they do have external ears. However, these ears lack muscles for rotation, and are immobile. Their eyes are large and red with round pupils. They have wide mouths, with sharp, conical teeth that project outside the lips. Their hide is thick and scaly, and is colored a beautiful green-blue.
However, a Venusaur's most distinctive feature is the symbiotic plant that grows out of its back. The visible parts of the plant include an 18-inch stem resembling that of a palm tree, four to eight sharp-edged, palmlike fronds, and a large, striking red bloom with white spots and six petals. Female Venusaur have a large ovary that is visible as an egg-shaped growth on the top of the flower. Invisible to the observer are the plant's roots, which burrow through the Venusaur's body, exchanging nutrients with its tissues, transporting hormones, and receiving nerve signals.
Venusaur have green tentacles, colloquially known as 'vines,' that retract into several sheaths on their backs, directly behind the shoulders. The vines are smooth and dry to the touch, and have an enlarged tip, often with a groove down the center. Highly dexterous, muscular, and supported with cartilage, these vines can extend with great speed and strike with stunning force. However, it can take several minutes to retract the vines once they are extended. Venusaur tend to grow more vines as they age.
Young Venusaur, commonly called Bulbasaur, are much smaller, and are a paler, greener color than adults, with patches of darker pigmentation. Their symbiotic plants are immature, and the plant's external parts are only visible as a large bud emerging from the Bulbasaur's back.
Juvenile Venusaur are known as Ivysaur, and are distinguished from Bulbasaur by their larger size, bluer coloration, and more mature plant. They have 2-4 fronds, and their bud begins to turn red and open slightly. They may grow a small stem as Ivysaur.
Range: Venusaur are endemic to western Kanto, but their range is fractured. The woodlands between Viridian Forest and the Victory Mountains contain some remnant wild populations, but they are encountered most often in captivity.
Habitat: Venusaur inhabit dense woodland, especially favoring areas with numerous sunny clearings were they can bask.
Call: At all ages, Venusaur are capable of making a high screech call, which advertises its territory, and a low growl, which is used to intimidate threats. When intimidating rivals, it will often alternate screeches with growls in quick succession.
Diet: Due to their symbiotic plant, Venusaur need little food. One meal every month will suffice. They are often found basking in the sun, photosynthesizing to their heart's content from dawn until dusk, when they hunt.
At all life stages, Venusaur are ambush predators. They crouch on the ground, blending in with the undergrowth, and wait with their mouths open for anything edible to wander by. Bulbasaur are too small to eat most pokemon and photosynthesize less, so must eat insects and other small nonpokemon. Ivysaur are slightly larger, and feed mainly on Rattata, Weedle, and Caterpie, which they often have to wrestle into submission.
Venusaur are much more formidable predators, capable of swallowing Jigglypuff whole and devouring even Raticate. Indeed, there are few bite-sized pokemon that they will refuse. Only certain poisonous pokemon, such as Oddish and Nidoran, will be ignored by these carnivores.
Venusaur may show several unique behaviors when hunting. Some Ivysaur have been seen to knock Pidgey out of the air with their vines, and this behavior is retained into their Venusaur stage, when they knock down Pidgeotto and even Fearow.
Occasionally, the Venusaur may fire from its bud a small seed, actually a modified embryo, which quickly takes root in the flesh of any prey it encounters and becomes a parasite. The Venusaur will show remarkable patience, tracking any prey attacked this way for days until they collapse. They will then devour both seedling and prey indiscriminately.
Life Cycle: Venusaur have a complex and fascinating life cycle, which is thankfully well-studied. The flower is the Venusaur's reproductive organ, and Venusaur lack reproductive organs of the animal type. Tubes lead from Venusaur's gonads to the flower, where animal gametes bind with the plant gametes in pairs. These pairs form pollen grains in the male Venusaur, and reside in the ovary of the female.
During the mating season, Venusaur release an alluring scent, which attracts their main pollinator, Butterfree. Butterfree land on the Venusaur's flower, looking for the nectar within. They also collect pollen from the male, which sticks to hairs on the Butterfree's body. They then transport this pollen to the female, which absorbs the pollen into her ovary. Within a few days, her ovary swells and turns brown, eventually falling off. She will regenerate a new ovary by the following year.
Meanwhile, the fallen ovary continues to ripen, forming up to eight embryos inside, each in its own compartment. Each Venusaur embryo contains two complete genomes, one for the Venusaur animal, and one for the symbiotic plant. As it develops, the plant tissues migrate to the embryo's dorsal surface, and take root in the developing Bulbasaur's tissues.
In about three weeks, the ovary opens, releasing eight tiny Bulbasaur. The siblings are well- developed, and can care for themselves from birth. As they grow, they unfurl fronds from the base of their bud, in order to absorb more sunlight. As their plant matures, Bulbasaur go through several growth spurts. An Ivysaur becoming an adult Venusaur can quadruple its weight in only a month!
Venusaur can live up to 45 years.
Relationship with Humans: Despite their slow speed, the power, size, and disposition of Venusaur have made them exceedingly popular in the battle trade. Unfortunately for them, this means that their wild populations have been absolutely decimated. Only a few survive.
However, captive breeding of Venusaur has been wildly successful, with pokemon breeders with pollen brushes taking the place of Butterfree. There are so many captive Bulbasaur that they are now used as 'starter' pokemon to beginning trainers. Usually, males are given away, as females are more valuable for breeding.
Venusaur do not make as appealing pets as some other pokemon species, but the ease of raising them has allowed them to spread throughout Kanto in captivity.
If you are lucky enough to encounter a Venusaur in the wild, do not try to capture it! Venusaur are endangered and federally protected, and taking one from the wild is punishable with a fine. Instead, please contact Project Bulb, the organization responsible for reintroducing captive Venusaur into suitable habitat.
Naturalist's Notes: Venusaur have few natural enemies, due to their size and poisonous flesh. Very young Bulbasaur have not yet accumulated enough poison in their tissues to protect themselves, and often fall prey to small predators such as Growlithe and Fearow, while larger, poison-resistant predators such as Nido-royals might take down an Ivysaur. But overall, the species is resistant to predator attacks.
Venusaur are very territorial, and on nights when they do not hunt they patrol their territories, screech-calling and scent-marking to warn away other Venusaur. The behavior does not lessen even during the breeding season, as Butterfree provide the only contact needed between individuals. Thankfully, violent confrontations are rare, but this may be due to the sheer rarity of wild Venusaur. It is believed that the purpose of this territoriality is to prevent other Venusaur from encroaching on their basking areas.