adequate supply of game or edible vegetation in the area, the animal will hunt or graze as necessary to keep itself fed. It will find its own water, keep itself groomed, and rest when tired. If the ranger marches by day and rests by night, nocturnal animals will either reverse their normal sleeping patterns and sleep when the ranger sleeps, or sleep by day and catch up with the ranger in the evening.
In extreme circumstances, an animal follower may depend on the ranger for routine care. If an animal follower accompanies a ranger into a city or other area where it's unable to hunt, the ranger will probably have to supply food. In a hot desert, a ranger may need to share his water. Wounded or ailing animals sometimes require medical attention. If an animal fails to receive adequate care, it may abandon the ranger (see the Parting Company section).
As an animal becomes more attached to a ranger, it may require extra attention or reassurance. Usually, an animal lets the ranger know when it needs attention by rubbing against him, frolicking in front of him, or whining incessantly. Usually, a ranger can soothe an anxious animal follower by playing with it for a few minutes, offering some comforting words, or stroking its fur. If the ranger makes a habit of ignoring a follower, it may abandon him.
Most healthy animals have a powerful instinct to procreate. On occasion, a follower will disappear into the wilderness to seek a mate. Usually, the follower returns in a few hours, or at most, a few days. However, so strong is the urge that the follower may abandon the ranger altogether if it has to travel long distances to find a suitable partner. Also, the quest for a mate is not without risk; a male follower may die while ighting a rival for the attentions of a desirable female (which may account for why some followers mysteriously disappear and never come back). But more often than not, a follower will complete its liaison without incident, rejoining its ranger unharmed and content.
Should a female animal follower give birth, the offspring don't automatically become followers. Initially, offspring are considered "followers" of the parent, as their relationship with their mother more or less parallels the mother's relationship with the ranger. As the offspring mature, they may wander away to start lives of their own, or they may stay and become followers, as decided by the DM. Offspring who become followers count against the ranger's normal limit.
Animal followers will rarely defend their rangers against attack unless trained to do so (see the Training Followers section below), especially if the opposition is supernatural or uses ire. In general, a follower is mainly concerned with its own safety, ighting only when necessary to protect itself. An exceptionally violent animal may relish any opportunity to attack, and some will stand guard over or attempt to drag away their incapacitated ranger, but most of the time, a follower is more likely to take cover or retreat than engage in combat. The DM determines the combat reactions of a follower just as he would for any animal in the game.