Colloquially known as tree dragons, sharamik are a large reptilian predator native to the forests of Khar'shan.
When they hatch, sharamik are nearly a foot long and not particularly thick. Their four eyes are open within minutes, and they begin to hunt small forest creatures and particularly nutritious vegetation within hours. A fully-grown sharamik resembles nothing so much as a fallen tree branch, several feet long and no more than a half-foot thick. Rumors abound of larger, deadlier sharamik the size of entire trees, and though an entire subculture developed around the search for such a creature (known as Losharek), the largest sharamik on record was a mere five feet in length.
Technically omnivorous, tree dragons live primarily on a diet of leaves, insects and detritus. During mating season their diet alters noticeably - to balance their heightened metabolism, sharamik supplement their diet with as much meat as they can find. Combined with their tendency to attack if disturbed, tree dragons have always featured prominently in cautionary tales for young batarian children. Even in modern society, it is still considered wise to avoid tree dragon habitat at certain times of year.
Tree dragon bones are highly valued by bone artists, who frequently use them as a centerpiece for displays intended to invoke certain feelings of primitive fear. They also feature prominently in batarian holovids, used as a sign of danger or occasionally to foreshadow the death of a major character. Certain religious orders and primitive medical traditions hold that ground sharamik bone can be used as anything from an aphrodisiac to an ingredient in a mythical recipe for immortality, but such claims are dismissed by all modern medical teachings.
For thousands of years, tree dragon eggs have been considered a high-caste delicacy among batarians, and this has led to some organized efforts to domesticate the notoriously ornery species. Such efforts have met with limited success; sharamik are accustomed to living in isolation for most of the year, and do not survive long in captivity. The most success has been fairly recent, with large enclosed biodomes which simulate the tree dragons' natural habitat while periodically releasing a mixture of chemical stimulants and hormones into the environment to manipulate the biochemistry of the sharamik within. These enclosed facilities have the advantage of creating a constantly breeding, short-lived population of sharamik as well as allowing tranquilizer to be added to the atmospheric controls for regular egg harvests. Due to the cost of establishing and maintaining such an elaborate system, sharamik eggs remain a delicacy restricted to the high castes.
While sharamik eggs and bones are highly valued, the meat of the sharamik itself is tough and gamey, and is avoided even by others of the species. Harvesting facilities frequently turn a side profit by collecting the dead tree dragons during their egg harvests and selling the meat as a cheap food for slaves, and some have even been rewarded by the Ministry for Environmental Protection for their efficient use of what would otherwise become hazardous waste.