- "I thought they smelled bad on the outside!"
- ―Han Solo
Tauntauns (pronounced /ˈtɔːn-tɔːn/) were a species of non-sentient lizards native to the snowy plains of Hoth. They were used by members of the Rebel Alliance after they domesticated some of them when they built their new headquarters on Hoth.
Sure-footed and furry, the Tauntauns were well-adapted to the daytime temperature on Hoth, although they could not handle the chilling extremes of the night, which could often reach below -60°C. They featured scaly skin beneath their heavy layers of fur and secreted thick, pungent oils to attract mates. Tauntauns had two sets of nostrils, one large and one small. The large set was used for maximum oxygen intake during intense physical activity, while the small set was used during inactive periods and grazing, to keep out snow. Tauntauns could also alternate breathing between the two sets of nostrils, allowing them to regulate body heat.
Their long claws helped them to climb icy surfaces and scrape away lichen and small ice plants which often grew in glacial caves and grottos, with the crevices often serving as their homes due to heat from the planet's core often coming up through the openings. Sunlight that passed through the ice of the caves allowed the small plants to grow, thus providing a source of food for the creatures.
The creatures had an odor that was unpleasant to humans due to layers of fatty blubber that helped them acclimate to the cold temperatures of Hoth, but was apparently nothing compared to the smell from the inside of a fresh tauntaun corpse.
Tauntauns had fifteen varying subspecies of which all were prey to the towering wampa ice creatures. As they were swift, docile and able to run at speeds of up to 90 kph, they were often able to outrun their wampa predators and could use their horns for combat if necessary.
Tauntauns could be domesticated for various purposes. When the Alliance to Restore the Republic established their new headquarters on Hoth, they utilized the native tauntauns as mounts owing to the planet's cold temperatures occasionally shutting down their T-47 airspeeders in the morning. Kept in pens, the tauntauns were ultimately released from captivity when the Galactic Empire invaded the planet during the Battle of Hoth.
Behind the scenesEdit
When tauntauns first appeared in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, they were represented on screen through a combination of puppetry and stop-motion animation. Going through several design concepts, the current hairy tauntaun was finally decided on after going through several concepts of its appearance, ranging from a rodent-like creature to a more reptilian look.
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