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- ―A bantha
A bantha is like a cow, and quite possibly nature's cruelest practical joke. These creatures managed to defy all the rules of natural selection in their physiology and evolution and yet became the dominant form of life on the rather heated and extreme environment of Tatooine. The bantha survived due to its ability to reproduce at utterly insane levels and overwhelm predators by sheer stench and massive numbers, and many a hunter's last sight in life was the slow, inevitable shuffle of a vicious pack of hundreds of banthas before being either crushed or gobbled up alive with their prehensile tongues (which they used to eat everything within their visual range, including each other). A popular punishment among the Sand People was to throw prisoners to the bantha, whom they saw as Gods (a form of blasphemy unprecedented in Galactic history, which eventually brought the wrath of the One upon their robed and smelly backsides).
- "Hey, that looks kinda cute... OH DEAR GOD, WHAT IS THAT THING?! GAHHHH! MY LIVER! IT'S BEING TORN OU- NOO-AGH!-EGACK!"
- ―The last words of an unfortunate traveler upon encountering and being devoured by banthas
Despite their appearance, banthas were highly evolved and efficient killing machines equipped with deceptively tame looks which they used to lure hapless Tatooine settlers and cattle drivers into the reach of their prehensile tongues, an organ quite suited to wrapping around an unlucky sentient before ripping out his intestines. Banthas of all genders had large antlers which they used primarily during mating season, but also doubled as excellent tools for disemboweling, decapitating, impaling or otherwise disabling their prey. Bantha brains were enormous and exceptionally intelligent, enabling them to use sophisticated pack techniques when stalking unsuspecting potential meals. Contrary to popular belief, many kills attributed to the savage krayt dragon were in fact the work of packs of banthas.
Xeno-paleontologists believe that the bantha first evolved sometime around 1,000,000 BBY and quickly became the top form of life on Tatooine despite their complete lack of adaptation to desert life. This has lead most to conclude that the bantha is proof of the Force's strange sense of humor, especially as bantha proved to be such a versatile carnivorous species. To drive off potential attackers such as krayt dragons, banthas developed a terrible stench capable of wiping out entire cities and adding to the hardships for settlers who would brave the dangers of their new homeworld. The prehensile tongue, however, was not naturally found among banthas as it first appeared after the species served as lab rats for an infamous mad scientist.
The only group to successfully domesticate banthas were the Sand People, mainly due to both species' love of fresh Jawa meat. In this way, the Tusken Raiders formed an alliance with many bantha packs and used them as mounts when hunting, which also led to bantha developing a taste for human flesh. The Sand People were also the only creatures capable of surviving bantha smell. Xeno-anthropologists theorize that this is because the Sand People had developed an immunity to all odor due to their own stench, as no Sand Person has been recorded showering or changing their clothes in the entire history of the universe. Banthas were also used to harvest the precious commodities of bantha milk and bantha poodoo.