- «Once the katarn hunted us, and the highlands of the forest was theirs for a thousand generations. But their hunting did not destroy us. Nothing of this world is to be squandered, my son. The katarn gave the Wookiees its strength and courage, and allowed the Wookiees to find the rrakktorr. Now we repay them by returning the gift. Someday it will be their turn again.»
- ―Chewbacca to Lumpawarrump[src]
Katarns had slender bodies with rodent-like tails, and narrow faces leading back to a cartilaginous ridge protecting their neck and shoulders. Their paws had opposable digits, and their lower limbs are covered with sharp spurs, both of which allowed them to climb and hang from the branches of the giant wroshyr trees and feed on tree-burrowers.
Katarns were creatures of great importance in the Wookiees' culture. The Wookiees, who called the katarn the "Old Prince", hunted them in their hrrtayyk ceremony. Wookiees said the katarns were born by a wound to Kashyyyk that fell from the sky ages ago and made a home for the katarn. The katarns then hunted the Wookiees, thus unlocking the Wookiees' "inner fire". To thank the katarn, the Wookiees hunted them. They believed that someday it would be the katarn's turn to hunt the Wookiees again.
Katarns were ferocious and merciless predators which would track their prey for long periods before choosing an opportune moment to strike. They have been described as "silent, shadowy, and deadly," qualities which made them the mascot of Judder Page's Katarn Commandos.
Some katarns were domesticated as the war-mounts of Wookiee dragon troopers. On another note, there was a small subspecies of katarn that populated the Shadowlands. These katarns had no climbing abilities, as evidenced by their four large trunk-like legs. They also had two small dangling manipulator arms. They had more rounded out edges than the main katarn species and two large tusks. The reformed Revan battled several of these in his second trip to find the Kashyyyk star map.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Star Wars: Jedi Academy (Non-canonical appearance)
- "Holes" (Mentioned only)
- Republic Commando: Hard Contact (Mentioned only)
- The Clone Wars: Decide Your Destiny: The Way of the Jedi
- "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Rodian" (Carving)
- Star Wars: Republic: The Hidden Enemy
- The Force Unleashed novel (Mentioned only)
- Rebel Dawn (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Galaxies: Rage of the Wookiees
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
- Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor (Mentioned only)
- A Forest Apart (Mentioned only)
- Heir to the Empire (First appearance)
- Tyrant's Test
- Young Jedi Knights: Diversity Alliance (Mentioned only)
- Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial
- Heir to the Empire Sourcebook
- The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- Alien Anthology
- Callsigns: Names of Kashyyyk"—Star Wars Gamer 10 "
- Star Wars Galaxies: The Total Experience: Prima Official Game Guide
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption: Prima Official Game Guide
- Threats of the Galaxy
- Jedi Academy Training Manual