When fully grown, the sailu is about 30 cm long, and is covered in silky black and white fur, which gives it a panda-like appearance. Its face and body are flattish ovals, connected by a short neck. It has a flat wet nose and its eyes are completely black. Although it superficially resembles a tiny, gnome-like anthropoid, the sailu has a very different skeleton and muscular system than terrestrial animals. For example, it lacks joints such as elbows or knees; the sailu's limbs are able to bend along their entire length, much like a squid's tentacles. It moves very slowly and ponderously.
On Oshanko, sailu are restricted to the Imperial family — only the Emperor’s children are allowed to keep them as pets. They are said to be highly affectionate and are easy to maintain, as they can eat terrestrial plant products such as lettuce and strawberries.
They are extremely rare, however; there is no official record of their numbers, but unofficial rumour states that there are less than 2000 left. On Oshanko it is illegal to clone sailu or use artificial breeding techniques, leaving them at the mercy of natural selection. Their mating habits are probably complex, as they are said to have three or four sexes.
In typical flamboyant style, ace starship captain Joshua Calvert gave a sailu to Ione Saldana as a gift. In doing so, he risked the wrath of Oshanko; however, Ione was very appreciative of her present, naming the little creature Augustine.