Cottonpuffs are a mutant offshoot breed of fluffy ponies. Their exact origin is unknown but researchers believe they are the offspring of a feral fluffy and either a chipmunk or a related small mammal.
Cottonpuffs are considered the fluffies of fluffies. Typically functionally retarded and even more fragile than their bigger cousins. Adult cottonpuffs typically get to be the size of small guinea pigs, perhaps 4 - 5 inches tall at the shoulder. They seem to only come in the color white with black eyes. They seem to have very stubby tails like hamsters or maybe not even have a tail. They also do not have manes as regular fluffies do. In all other aspects, though, their physical appearance is identical to a normal fluffy.
Cottonpuffs are extremely dumb. Many of them do not possess the language center that their bigger cousins do. This may be due to a lack of exposure to other speaking creatures or simply because their brains are too small. Still, some of them have a very basic grasp on speaking. Like hamsters, cottonpuffs will regularly eat their young. Typically this behavior happens only in the males. Females will not usually eat their own offspring unless they are feral and food is scarce however they may attack the brood of another nesting female and eat those babies instead. Most breeders and owners will make sure any females they own get pregnant at the same time as a cottonpuff with its own foals will ignore other females. Males are typically kept separated from females except during mating. Cottonpuffs will sometimes beg to be allowed to play together but caregivers must watch them carefully in case the male turns violent.
As fragile as fluffies are, cottonpuffs are even more susceptible to damage. A normal human can literally break one in half with their bare hands. Their heads twist off easier than aspirin caps. Many small mammals - gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs - are also fragile animals but the bone structure of the cottonpuff is lighter and much more easily breakable. Their bones are also more rigid, meaning they can't turn, stretch, and bend as easily as rodents do.
Cottonpuffs have never been seen with wings or horns. Scientists have yet to determine if this is because an earth fluffy sired the original strain or if their jumbled genetic makeup prevents such features from appearing. Cottonpuff females also typically have six teats compared to the usual two (or sometimes four) of standard fluffies.
Unlike fluffy ponies, cottonpuffs are omnivores. They eat anything - grass, plants, flowers, berries, worms, small mammals, spiders, and of course each other. They have a similar gastrointestinal system as normal fluffies but seem to possess additional enzymes that allow them to digest meat with no ill effects.
Gestation only lasts about 2 weeks compared to the 3 weeks of normal fluffies. But like hamsters, foals are born naked and do not grow their fluff until after a week or so. They also do not open their eyes until they are around a week old. Cottonpuff females typically give birth to a clutch of 4 to 8 foals. Normally a couple of them will die due to malnutrition or simply by being ignored by the female. They do not possess the intelligence (or programming?) to understand how to rotate foals on their teats to make sure they all get a share of the milk.
Despite their intelligence and fragility, cottonpuffs are rapidly becoming popular pets. They can be kept in the same Habittrail cages that hamsters are. And their ability to speak - although limited - makes them more interesting to owners rather than gerbils, hamsters, or those goddammed noisy guinea pigs.