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Bonegnawers were large birds of prey native to the Jundland Wastes of Tatooine. They were admired and respected for their grace and beauty by the planet's inhabitants. However, they also had a fearsome reputation because of their speed and a pair of jaws that were reputed to be capable of crushing rock.
Bonegnawers had a lifespan of thirty to forty years. Baby bonegnawers, also known as "gnawlets", could make sound within hours, but it would be a matter of a few days before they gained sight. The diet of gnawlets consisted of marrow extracted from the bones of their parents' prey. They bore little resemblance to the striking birds that they would grow up to be. Young bonegnawers typically remained with their parents until they were capable of defending themselves, which was about three years from the day that they were born. Upon leaving their parents, male bonegnawers would set out on their own and try to find areas that were not protected by other males. A male bonegnawer's dominion covered an area of approximately 30 kilometers in diameter from his nest, and it served as his hunting grounds. Male bonegnawers were extremely territorial creatures and defended their dominion if it was trespassed upon by other males or mated pairs. Females, on the other hand, embraced communal living initially by forming a flock with their sisters. They eventually formed larger flocks with other females, who nested together and would not try to make other creatures leave their area. Female bonegnawers would do most of their hunting when Tatoo I and Tatoo II had sunk below Tatooine's horizon.
Adult bonegnawers of both sexes had a scarlet breast and tail, as well as a black beak. Their wingspan ranged from eight to ten meters, which made their colorful plumage visible from long distances. The color of a male's wings ranged from a deep purple to a bright blue while the female's wings appeared to be golden or the color of the desert sand. After mating, adult bonegnawers formed a permanent bond with each other. This bond caused them to shun contact with all other bonegnawers. The territory of a mated pair was approximately 60 kilometers in diameter from their nest, and they were just as protective of their territory as a solitary male could be expected to be. This was especially true when the pair were parents. The nests of bonegnawers were carved out of large rocks in Tatooine's wastes. Since they were not migratory, bonegnawers would only relocate under adverse circumstances. Bonegnawer nests were often littered with the shards of the bones of their prey—something of a testament to their rather unique diet.
For hunting, bonegnawers were equipped with strong eyes, which they used to spot prey such as womp rats, young banthas and humanoids from a great distance. They could see twice as far as a Human and could even distinguish different colors in poorly lit areas. Most surface creatures were unable to outrun bonegnawers since their wings allowed them to be both fast and silent. They would catch smaller prey in their beaks and tried to kill larger prey by slamming it into the ground at high speeds. The rows of teeth and the strong jaws of the bonegnawer's beak allowed them to get to what appeared to be their favorite prey—young cliffborer worms. Bonegnawers would breed only three or for times during their lifetime. Of the eight to ten eggs that the female laid, four to seven would not make it to the point of hatching after fourteen months. This was usually due to the eggs being moved in the wrong way, being exposed to cold for too long a period, or falling prey to natural predators and poachers.
Bonegnawers consumed the meat of their prey right where they killed it, but brought the prey's bones back to their nest. Over the course of several days, bonegnawers cracked open the bones and would either feed the marrow to gnawlings or eat it themselves. It was from this behavior that the bonegnawer gained its name. Though the bonegnawer was feared by many natives of Tatooine, it was also respected by them—especially the Tusken Raiders, who viewed them as emblematic of strength and courage. Swoop riders, landspeeder racers and skyhopper pilots believed that they served as great decals for their vehicles.
Others saw bonegnawers as a lucrative business. Since gnawlets fixated on the first creature that they saw with their eyes as a parent, bonegnawers were easily domesticable creatures and made excellent hunters and guard animals. The financial benefits that came from the sale of gnawlets resulted in hunters and poachers taking extreme risks to steal the eggs from their parents.
Behind the scenesEdit
The novelization of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was cited as being the only source for the bonegnawer entry in each edition of A Guide to the Star Wars Universe. While the book itself does refer to "bone-gnawers" it only appears to refer to them in the sense that they are some sort of scavenger. There is no apparent reference to them being "flying creatures" nor any apparent reference to the strength of their jaws.
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novel (First mentioned)
- Star Wars Science Adventures: Journey Across Planet X (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Galaxies
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe
- Galaxy Guide 7: Mos Eisley
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Second Edition
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Third Edition
- Alien Anthology
- Ultimate Adversaries
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 85; Bonegnawer