Item #: SCP-1773
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-1773 should be kept in their original plastic container in a refrigeration unit when not being tested. During testing, care must be taken to not consume SCP-1773. Personnel who consume SCP-1773 must have their stomachs pumped within 30 minutes. Once every two weeks, ten grams of dust may be placed in SCP-1773's container, although it is not necessary.
Description: SCP-1773 are a species of Tardigrade, informally known as “water bears.” SCP-1773 have a rapid life cycle which lasts only two weeks and occurs throughout the year.
After birth, hundreds of individuals of SCP-1773 begin to cannibalize their siblings until only the strongest are left. The several dozen1 remaining individuals quickly mature to a macroscopic size, reaching roughly 2 centimeters in length. Mature individuals form clustered heaps and move quickly, seeking mates. It is unknown how they determine the sex of other individuals. After mating, the male dies and is eaten by the female, which gives live birth to 200-300 offspring. The constant cannibalism serves to limit population growth, resulting in a net gain of zero individuals each mating cycle. Any extra mass evidently comes from their supplementary consumption of molds and dust.
Individuals of SCP-1773 are colored brightly and give off enticing, fruity aromas. Coloration includes blue, pink, green, orange, and yellow, with each color matching a different fruity scent. Despite this, they taste bitter and are mildly poisonous to most higher life-forms, including humans. This is presumed to be a defense mechanism, though why SCP-1773 advertise it attractively is unknown.
Like other species of Tardigrades, SCP-1773 are extremophiles, capable of surviving desiccation, freezing and boiling temperatures, high amounts of radiation, exposure to vacuum or high pressures, and, unusually, the processes of digestion. If their consumer does not regurgitate them due to their bitter flavor, SCP-1773 pass through the GI tract and are excreted alive and undigested, often taking bites of the host’s stomach lining along the way. SCP-1773 appear to be host to the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers as well. Consumers of SCP-1773 develop a myriad of ulcers in a short time, requiring intensive antibiotic treatment. Testing on human subjects is currently not permitted, but tests to determine SCP-1773's limits of survival are permitted with Level-3 clearance.
SCP-1773 were discovered by CDC officials tracing a highly localized outbreak of stomach illness. Subjects were found living in a plastic container labeled “Gumi[sic] Beeps” in a shopping mall candy store in █████████, ██, priced at $2.25 for ¼ of a pound. A small slogan printed on the underside of the container read, “Live Fast, Die Young.” The manufacturer was billed as “Tardi-Great, Inc!” No such company has been found to exist, and the container was free of any fingerprints or DNA which might have led to the producer.