|Average height||4-8.5 ft. (Giant)|
|Location / range||Hoth|
|Danger rating||Medium threat|
Tauntauns are omnivorous reptomammals 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.
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. 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.
Their four nostrils served to warm inhaled air. Their larger pair were used to bring oxygen into the blood stream during physical exertion. When lying 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. 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.
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. Besides their horns, natural camouflage, and their safety in numbers, tauntauns also relied on their ability to run 90 kilometers-per-hour to survive.
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. 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.
The climbing tauntaun was a subspecies of tauntaun which originated on the planet of Hoth. Known as the smallest of its species, it had the two upward curving horns that met just above the top its head and used its wide paws studded with heavy claws to climb glaciers and caves. It subsisted on a diet of lichens and moss.
The Glacier tauntaun were a rangy species that inhabited Hoth's valleys and ice caves. It was largely unstudied by science. Smaller and less furry than its larger cousin, the common tauntaun, the glacier variety was identifiable by its high-pitched and humorous screech, as well as its shorter horns and longer muzzle.
The Scaly tauntaun was hairless, despite the evident need for fur in the harsh cold of Hoth. Unlike its larger cousin, though, the scaly tauntauns lived in small groups beneath the surface, near hot springs and geothermal vents. They could smell the slightly-sulfur atmosphere released by the vents, and dig downward in the necessary direction. The scaly tauntauns used little energy in daily activities, and could easily trap heat within their bodies to keep warm. These unique traits made the scaly tauntaun a target for scientific research for two main reasons: studies did not have to be conducted on the frigid surface of Hoth, and the scaly tauntauns were an incredible example of a high-efficiency energy processor.