BANTHA (STAR WARS)
Star Wars: New Hope
Banthas were a species of large, hairy mammals with sharp, spiraling horns. They inhabited the desert planet Tatooine, though they were bred on many worlds throughout the galaxy. They were social herd animals, and were often domesticated, and used prominently, by Tusken Raiders as mounts and companionship—though they never killed them for their food or hide, a use utilized by many other species for products such as Bantha steak, butter and clothes or furniture.
Banthas were peaceful herd animals.
Banthas were large, quadrupedal mammals that averaged in height 2 to 2.5 meters. An adult’s average weight was 4,000 kilograms, and they had extensive shaggy fur, which was brown or black in color. Both females and males of the species had a pair of spiraling horns that extruded from their skull and grew at a knob a year. Banthas possessed a wide mouth, bright, inquisitive eyes, and a large tail which dragged on the ground as they walked. They had wide, flat feet with four digits.
All banthas were peaceful herbivores, and lived in herds.
Banthas were easily domesticated, and were bred on many worlds throughout the galaxy. they were widely used as mounts. Their milk, which was distinctively blue, was drunk plain as well as being used in yogurt, ice cream, and butter. Their meat was used for dried jerky, steak, and burgers, and their dung was used as a fuel. Bantha-blood fizz was a sparkling drink made from purified bantha blood. Bantha hide could be mashed with grains to make Ardees, also known as Jawa juice. Their hide was also tanned and turned into clothes or funiture. Young banthas were known as calves.
The Tusken Raiders of Tatooine tamed and domesticated banthas, and they shared a close, almost mystical bond. Every boy had a male bantha and every girl had a female one. When Sand People married, their banthas also mated, and, should its rider die, their bantha usually perished shortly after. If a bantha died before its rider, its remains were placed in a large graveyard, which was treated with great respect by Tuskens and other banthas. Tuskens never harmed or ate banthas. Tuskens could also ride their banthas into battle.
Banthas in the galaxy
A common sight on Tatooine, banthas could be found wild, wandering the vast expanse of the Tatooine desert, or domesticated, under the ownership of Tuskens or in cities such as Mos Espa. They shared their name with the White banthas of Nelvaan.
Banthas were the subject of several slang phrases and insults. “Bantha fodder” (or “Bantha poodoo” in Huttese) was a phrase used as the equivalent of “worthless”; a person or thing deemed to have no value beyond something for a bantha to graze on, because of bantha food’s unpleasant smell. “Not give two bantha ticks (about something) meant to not care in the slightest (about something or someone), “Son of a bantha” was an insult, and “A wild bantha chase” meant a futile errand.
In 20 BBY, an LAAT/i gunship featured customized nose art of a flying bantha dropping a pair of bombs. During the same year, the rebels of Onderon owned a hunter cart with a bantha skull.
During the Imperial Era, Jedi—in—exile Obi-Wan Kenobi befriended a herd of Banthas. Two were named two Dolo and Nara, respectively.
By 5 ABY, Malakili, a former beastmaster for Jabba the Hutt, wore a lucky braid of bantha teeth and fur. later in the same year, former slave Cobb Vanth had enlisted the help of a group of Tusken Raiders to drive a criminal syndicate called the Red Key Raiders away from Tatooine. The Tuskens rode into battle atop banthas. One such bantha was particularly large. The animal had an eye scarred over, fur matted with filth, and wounds with open bones and rusted gears.