Avatar: 30 Pandora Animals From The Movies Explained


Summary Avatar films have incredible world-building and introduce a wide variety of animals and creatures on the alien planet Pandora.
Direhorses, Ikran, Toruk, and other creatures play a significant role in the story, including aiding characters in transportation and battle.
The diverse range of creatures in Avatar showcases the creativity and attention to detail in creating unique ecosystems for the franchise.
James Cameron’s Avatar films have been widely praised for incredible world-building, innovative storytelling, and incredibly realistic CGI, and this is perhaps best seen in the wide variety of animals and creatures introduced on Pandora. Avatar and its sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, both developed the lore of the alien planet Pandora and its dominant species, the Na’vi. In addition to the Na’vi, dozens of creatures were brought to life on screen.
Outside the previous and upcoming Avatar movies, some additional animals and creatures have been featured in video games and live shows associated with the Avatar franchise. However, this list looks at all the creatures introduced in the mainline films. Jake Sully and his adopted family have had numerous interactions with the wildlife that brings Pandora to life and enriches the story, so here is an introduction to each of those creatures that populate the landscape.
30 Direhorse
Direhorses may include the word horse in their name, but many things separate these creatures from their namesake. For a start, direhorses are roughly the size of an elephant, which is more convenient for the Na’Vi riders who tower over humans. They have six legs and like many other creatures on Pandora, they have the neural whip which allows them to connect to other living things like their herd or a Na’vi rider. Direhorses are also nectarivores, feeding on plants and sap and occasionally insects found in the plants they feed from.
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Direhorses are frequently used by the Omatikaya clan to travel and cover long distances. Jake Sully learns to harness the connection with the creatures of Pandora by first connecting with and riding on direhorses. Unlike the banshees that form a unique bond with their rider, direhorses can be used by other riders than their primary owner.
29 Ikran (Mountain Banshee)
The mountain banshee or Ikran natively are large dragon-like creature that can fly and soar through the skies at great speed. The Ikran are used by many of the different Na’vi clans as they are some of the most versatile and reliable forms of traveling on Pandora and they are used in aerial hunting and even during wartime. For the Omatikaya, bonding with an Ikran is a necessary rite of passage to becoming an adult member of the clan. Once bonded, Ikran remain loyal to only their rider for the rest of their lives. The mountain banshee is primarily seen in the Hallelujah Mountains.
28 Dorado Verde
The Dorado Verde is another species of banshee found on Pandora primarily among the tropical islands. The Dorado Verde are the smallest of the banshee species which means they are not capable of carrying an adult Na’vi and don’t serve as mounts. Due to their elongated sharpened jaw which somewhat resembles a beak and the fin-like flaps that are present on their legs and tail, they are adept at hunting fish from the water. These creatures are somewhat akin to earth seagulls in their choice of habitat and food.
27 Toruk (Great Leonopteryx)
The Great Leonopteryx is the apex predator of the Pandoran sky thanks to its tremendous size and considerable agility. Referred to as Toruk by the Na’vi which translates to “last shadow,” this creature is the source of much lore and legend for the Omatikaya clan thanks to their interconnected history. Throughout the history of the Na’vi, only five Na’vi managed to bond with a Toruk and each was hailed as a hero and leader of the clan. Jake Sully manages to become the sixth person in history to accomplish this feat, and the first in more than four or five generations.
26 Angstik (Hammerhead Titanothere)
The hammerhead titanothere is a large herbivore found in the forests of Pandora. Their namesake hammerhead appendage allows them to clear through forests with ease and fight off potential predators. This creature also possesses armored plates that cover much of its front half, but the hindquarters remain largely exposed. The hammerhead titanothere, which is one of the most powerful creatures in Pandora, is also easily agitated and provoked and will charge at perceived threats to protect itself, and its herd.
25 Hexapede
As a small land herbivore, the hexapede is often prey to larger more aggressive creatures on Pandora. However, their great speed, agility, and the rate at which they breed ensures that they do not go extinct despite their predators. Hexapedes are somewhat similar to gazelles on Earth, but they are plentiful across many different biomes of Pandora including forests, deserts, mountains, and subarctic tundras.
24 Prolemuris
The prolemuris can be found swinging through the trees and forests of Pandora. These creatures are similar to Earth apes and monkeys and likewise represent a sort of evolutionary link between many of the other creatures on Pandora and the Na’vi. Up to this point, every creature mentioned has had six limbs or appendages, two long antennae, and two pairs of eyes. The prolemuris has a single pair of eyes and a single antennae and despite the presence of six extended appendages, the prolemuris has just two arms extending from its body before they split into two forearms.
23 Thanator
The Thanator is one of the most intimidating and imposing land creatures found on Pandora and may well be the apex predator on land. It has impressive musculature and shares much in common with Earth creatures like panthers and lions who tend to prey on any other land animals both larger and smaller than itself. The thanator is a creature that strikes fear into the brave warrior race of Na’vi because of its considerable strength and prowess which allow it to stalk and hunt down its prey with considerable ease and speed.
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They have long sensors found around their skulls, armored plates along their bodies, and long sharp teeth that make them a fierce and adept predator. Jake Sully comes face to face with a thanator in Avatar and barely escapes by jumping from a cliff edge into a body of water below. The creatures are incredibly fierce, but towards to end of Avatar when their home is being threatened, a thanator offers itself up as a mount to Neytiri, and they form a bond, so these creatures can be somewhat tamed.
22 Viperwolf
The viperwolf is an impressive predator despite its smaller size. Similar to a hyena on Earth, viperwolfs are pack predators that travel with a hunting party and find prey before attacking en masse. However, viperwolfs also possess an opposable thumb on each foot that allows them to climb trees and move swiftly across a variety of terrains. Due to their predatory nature and their tendency to travel in packs, other predators on Pandora tend to avoid attacking viperwolfs.
21 Woodsprite
The woodsprite is a seed of the tree of life, but it possesses sentience and autonomy as these jellyfish-like creatures are used in communicating and interpreting the will of Eywa. They connect the creatures and living beings of Pandora with the mother tree and help to unite life on Pandora. Just as Neytiri intends to lose an arrow into Jake Sully’s avatar, a woodsprite rests on the tip of the arrow which tells her to stop what she is doing. Then a whole swathe of woodsprites come and rest on Jake, a sign that forces Neytiri to take him to her home and seek further guidance and ultimately train him as one of their clan.
20 Stingbat
Stingbats are aggressive small flying creatures on Pandora who feed on both plants and small creatures. Stingbats are also prey to larger creatures like the mountain banshees and due to their size and reduced brain capacity, these creatures tend to end up prey or killed accidentally by sentry guns around the human base. Often, stingbats will hunt on their own, but they have been known to group together to overwhelm slightly larger prey like a hexapede. They can also be tamed as pets by the Na’vi who use them to hunt and provide companionship.
19 Tetrapteron
The tetrapteron is a relatively small breed of flying creature that mainly feeds on fish. They can be found in the wetlands and forests of Pandora and tend to leave other creatures alone. They are found in large numbers and may be similar to Earth flamingos with their bright coloration and tendency to keep to themselves. The name is derived from the four wings, two on each side as it translates to four wings.
18 Sturmbeest
The sturmbeest serves a similar role as the buffalo did to the Native Americans on Earth. They are used by the Na’vi for food, and their skin and remains are also utilized in making instruments, clothing, tools, etc. They are large and possess a single long horn above their head, herbivores that live mainly in large social groups. When threatened, the sturmbeests will initiate a stampede and break off into smaller groups to disorient and escape capture or death from predators such as viperwolfs, thanators, and occasionally a great leonopteryx.
17 Tapirus
The tapirus tends to be one of the most commonly preyed upon creatures on a planet full of large predators that evolved to more efficiently take down their prey. They are non-aggressive and often kept by the Na’vi as pets and possible food sources. They have a small cluster of protective armor plating on their back, but the rest of their body is exposed and fragile. Likely deriving its name from its similarity to the Earth tapir with its small stature and snout-like nose that extends downwards and may help it find small insects and plants for food.
16 Fan Lizard
Fan lizards are small reptiles that typically look like a dull brown lizards until agitated. On Pandora, it is common for Na’vi children to run through the habitats of these small creatures so that they trigger their transformation as the lizard spins and reveals a large disk-like wing that allows it to fly away from danger or disturbance. A small creature that highlights some of the tremendous ways that animals on Pandora have evolved in uniquely different ways from similar species on Earth.
15 Ilu
The ilu is similar in intelligence and biology to dolphins with the ability to breathe air and to communicate and travel using echolocation. It is also used by the Metkayina reef clan in a similar way to the direhorses of the Omatikaya. They travel swiftly through the water and serve as intelligent and wonderful companions for the reef clans.
14 Skimwing
The skimwing is a more stubborn and temperamental breed of creatures than ilu but they are used by more experienced riders in the Metkayina clan. They travel at almost twice the speed of ilu and can fly above the surface of the water while also propelling themselves forward in the water by using their powerful tail. Skimwing also breeds through gills under the water or from nostrils above its head depending on whether it is above water or submerged within it.
13 Tulkun
The tulkun are much more than an animal found in the Pandoran oceans. Similar in size to Earth’s whales which have become extinct by the time of Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water, these creatures are extremely intelligent and could well be more intelligent than their humanoid counterparts. They possess a unique culture, language, names, family histories, systems of mathematics, and much more. The Tulkun and Metkayina treat one another as siblings and communicate with one another through means of sounds and sign language.
12 Akula
The akula is similar to Earth’s great white sharks and these predatory creatures attack with great ferocity. They have a three-pronged mouth that opens to expose teeth that are similar to a snake’s long fangs. They also have a sharply pointed tail to help propel them through the water at high speeds.
11 Gill Mantle
The gill mantle is a creature that lives in symbiotic companionship with the Na’vi that live close to the water. When bonded with a Na’vi, the gill mantle glows red, providing light, and can sting small creatures to repel them which the Na’vi appear to be immune to, and they act as an external lung that can help Na’vi to breathe and dive deeper under the water. These creatures are similar to jellyfish in their appearance and movements and thanks to the companionship of the Na’vi, they can survive with their protection despite their slow movements.


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