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When a human being is infected with the T-virus, metabolic activation takes place leading to a constant state of hunger. Eventually, the food source of the resulting zombie will run out and it will eventually die from starvation. However, a unique reaction in some zombies leads to the complete reformation of the host's cells, leading to a mutation. This mutation leads to one becoming a "Licker".
The Licker loses its eyesight due to the expansion of the brain, leading to the loss of much of the skull and particularly the upper section of the face leading to the complete degeneration of the eye cavities. In exchange, they develop an acute sense of hearing to accommodate this loss. The skin rots and peels away completely, leaving the Licker's deformed muscle tissue completely visible, where it is reformed. This enhanced muscle structure gives them greater abilities in comparison to average zombies, allowing them to jump great heights and distances and move more quickly with heightened agility and movement.
The Licker goes through two primary stages of maturation. In its initial form, they are smaller, slimmer and more nimble with extremely small claws. After a period of time however, they finally reach their mature form in which their muscle mass expands and their claws and mouth enlarge.
The Licker was named by R.P.D. officers on September 27, 1998, after the sudden appearance of the "Licker" and its quick decimation of a number of officers. The name comes from its trademark tongue, which is its primary method of attack next to its large claws.