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Starwars

Up to date as of February 04, 2010

From Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki.

Tauntaun
Designation

Nonsentient[1]

Planet of origin

Hoth[2]

Height of average adult

1.3 to 2 meters[2]

Hair color

White[1]

"And I thought they smelled bad...on the outside."
Han Solo(audio)Listen (file info)

Tauntauns were a species of omnivorous reptomammals who were indigenous to the icy planet of Hoth. Tauntauns were commonly used as pack animals during the Rebel Alliance's stay at Hoth. Tauntauns were also used as patrol mounts when it was learned that the Rebel Alliance's own vehicles could not cope with the cold very well.

Contents

Anatomy

Some glacier tauntauns and giant tauntauns in a Hoth ice cave.

Tauntauns were genetically similar to Kybucks and featured a mix of traditionally reptilian features, such as a lack of mammary glands and scaly skin. They were also warm-blooded, covered in fur (which ranged from gray to white), and gave birth to live young; mammalian characteristics. Known subspecies included the glacier tauntaun, scaly tauntaun, climbing tauntaun, and the giant tauntaun (also referred to as the common tauntaun).

Tauntauns possessed numerous evolutionary adaptations to the bitter, cold environments of Hoth. Those adaptations included wide feet for running across icy surfaces, swiveling ears, thick blubber, chambered lungs and dual nostrils, and a digestive system that excreted wastes as oils through skin pores, producing a distinctive odor. Han Solo commented on the smell after he sliced open his recently deceased tauntaun with Luke Skywalker's lightsaber to keep the latter warm. Their four nostrils served to warm inhaled air. Their larger pair were used to bring oxygen into the blood stream during physical exertion. When laying down to sleep, the larger pair sealed to keep snow out, and the second pair took over. A well-muscled tail extended a meter from their bodies to help maintain balance. They had clawed feet and hands to gain purchase on the ice. Their feet were also tridactyl, with splayed toes to act as natural snowshoes. The most important feature of tauntaun physiology was their unique blood mixture that was resistant to the tundra winds and kept their organs from freezing.[2]

Despite these adaptations, tauntauns sought shelter at night to avoid the extreme nighttime temperatures of Hoth. When shelter was unavailable, they used their evolved ability to hibernate during low nighttime temperatures. Some tauntaun breeds actually froze to death if awakened after sundown. When not eating the fungus that grew beneath the frost layer or lichens found in hoarfrost, the omnivorous tauntauns were also known to eat ice scrabblers and Hoth hogs.[2]

A giant tauntaun.

Tauntauns were matriarchal animals and lived in herds of twenty to thirty individuals. Horn-butting matches were common among both males and females who hoped to establish dominance. Tauntauns were able to give birth to two young at a time, which would occur twice within one Hoth year. Though they lacked mammary glands, tauntauns could regurgitate a form of "milk" produced in their crops.

They tended to be ill-tempered, a natural result of evolving in such an inhospitable environment. A peculiar form of "attack" among the females, and some of the males, during mating season was their spitting ability. Tauntauns would spit at each other's eyes, with surprising accuracy. While their smelly saliva was by no means deadly, it was quite inconvenient to have any liquid freeze near their eyes in Hoth's blizzards.[2]

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Predators

Tauntauns were the primary prey of the wampas. Besides their horns, natural camouflage, and their safety in numbers, tauntauns also relied on their ability to run 90 kilometers-per-hour to survive.

Domestication

If domesticated, tauntauns would require a grooming parlor to breed. Such a place would stink like the dirtiest imaginable kitchen to a sentient.[3]

A tauntaun

Although they were stubborn creatures, tauntauns made ideal patrol mounts for the Rebel Alliance's Echo Base in the absence of repulsorcraft, which were unreliable in Hoth's extremely cold climate. Personnel such as Corporal Vyn Rolado were responsible for taming the alpha female of a tauntaun pack, which allowed the Alliance to easily train the remainder of the pack. It was discovered that the ultrasonic frequencies given off by certain droid models irritated the mounts, and they would use their tail to swat any of those droids who happened to wander too close. Tauntauns were occasionally attacked by Wampas in the ice caves of the rebel base.

The Hutt gangster Jabba Desilijic Tiure was known to keep the head of a tauntaun as a trophy hanging on a wall in his throne room.

Some years after the Galactic Civil War had ended, tauntauns were exported from Hoth to the cold-climate regions of other worlds such as Coruscant. They were used as mounts, beasts of burden and tourist attractions. However, they longed for their old home and became surly and stubborn because of this homesickness.

Also by the time of the Second Galactic Civil War, small stuffed tauntauns were available as children's toys. The smooth, silky fur of the plush made it pleasant for young children to snuggle with. Jacen Solo had given one to his daughter Allana as a gift to make sure that she and Tenel Ka were not the sacrifice he had to make to become a Sith Lord.

The droid L9-G8 once made Tauntaun chowder for the Prince of Tamboon.[4]

Behind the scenes

Reptilian-style model
Rodent-like concept sketch

The creatures were represented on screen through a combination of puppetry and stop-motion animation.

Before settling on the hairy creature seen in the films, the design of the tauntaun went through several different looks, ranging from a large rodent-like creature to a more reptilian look.

In Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds the Tauntaun is the preferred creature for the Rebel Alliance mounted trooper regardless of the climate of the planet.

Players of Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided are capable of obtaining a DNA profile for bio-engineering a tauntaun by completing various tasks in the Battle of Hoth instance. Once the creature is born and trained, it can be used as either a mount or combat pet by the Beast Master profession.

Appearances

  • Darth Bane: Path of Destruction (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: Battlefront
  • The Bounty Hunters: Aurra Sing
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • "MidWorld" (Mentioned only)
  • The Clone Wars: Decide Your Destiny: The Lost Legion (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron
  • A New Hope: The Life of Luke Skywalker
  • Kessel Run (Mentioned only)
  • Iceworld
  • Deader than a Triton Moon (Epigraph)
  • Star Wars: Empire at War
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
  • Star Wars: Force Commander
  • Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi
  • Galaxy of Fear: The Brain Spiders
  •  Star Wars Galaxies – An Empire Divided
  • Star Wars Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameThe Nightsister's Revenge (Light Side and Dark Side scenario campaigns)
  • Star Wars: X-wing
  • Hoth
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back novel (First appearance)
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back junior novel
  • Star Wars 39: The Empire Strikes Back: Beginning
  • Star Wars 40: The Empire Strikes Back: Battleground: Hoth
  • Entrenched
  • A Hot Time in the Cold Town Tonite! (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi radio drama (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (Appears as a trophy head in Jabba's palace)
  • X-wing Rogue Squadron: The Warrior Princess (Mentioned only)
  • Prophets of the Dark Side (Mentioned only)
  • X-wing: The Bacta War (Mentioned only)
  • Dark Force Rising (Mentioned only)
  • The Last Command (Mentioned only)
  • Dark Apprentice
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
  • Before the Storm (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: Union (Appears in flashback(s))
  • Young Jedi Knights: The Lost Ones
  • Dark Tide II: Ruin (Mentioned only)
  • The Unifying Force (Mentioned only)
  • Sacrifice (Stuffed toy)
  • Fury (Mentioned only)
  • Omen (Mentioned only)

Non-canon appearances

  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Quest for R2-D2
  • LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
  • Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Hunger Pains
  • Ghosts of Hoth
  • Star Wars: Yoda Stories

Sources

Wookieepedia has a collection of images related to Tauntaun.

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back
  3. "MidWorld"
  4. Scavenger Hunt, 21.

See also


This article uses material from the "Tauntaun" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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