Creatures have always held a special place in the hearts of Star Wars fans. Dewbacks, wampas, and even rathtars have all upstaged humans from time to time in various Star Wars scenes. But would you want a wampa as a pet? And come to think of it, are there pets in Star Wars? It’s an interesting question, and the answer, in large part, depends on your certain point of view.
Before we take a look at possible Star Wars pets, let’s define what we’re talking about. Merriam Webster defines a pet as “a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility.” Another important term to take a look at is sentient. Merriam Webster defines sentient as “responsive to or conscious of sense impressions .” Wookieepedia, on the other hand, defines sentience as the ability of a species to think intelligently. So ewoks and gungans would fall into this sentient category (and would never be called pets) while non-sentients such a loth-cats, porgs, and the aforementioned rathtars are commonly referred to as creatures and could be considered potential pets.
How you define these terms will probably affect your opinion as to whether the creatures below are pets, domesticated wildlife, or tamed beasts.
Here are a few creatures in the Star Wars universe that would be considered pets.
Books and novels have mentioned Star Wars characters having pets that sound very familiar to traditional pets you might have in your own home. Luke Skywalker had a dog in the A New Hope novelization and in the novel Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge there is a mention of Biggs Darklighter’s pet anooba.
Lizards also appear to be a common pet choice on Earth as well as in the galaxy far, far away. Jacen Solo kept a rock lizard as a pet according to The Essential Guide to Alien Species. The ewok Chief Chirpa had an iguana in Return of the Jedi who could also be thought of as a pet. You can see the tail of this iguana in the screenshot below I found on Wookieepedia, but I wasn’t able to get a good look at it while watching the film.
In the Forces of Destiny short “The Stranger,” Jyn Erso returns a pet tooka-cat to a girl being pestered by stormtroopers.
Loth-cats (who regularly appeared on Lothal in Star Wars Rebels) are a specific breed of tookas. Loth-cats are seen as more of a wild cat than a domesticated species in the series.
A more untraditional pet is the rancor in Jabba’s Palace.
At the beginning of Return of the Jedi, a rancor is kept in a pit below Jabba’s Palace. I’m pretty sure Jabba the Hutt is the official owner of this rancor. And that this rancor is definitely pleasing Jabba by devouring people who don’t please him. So I think you could call this rancor Jabba’s pet. However, the person who truly loved and cared for this rancor was his keeper, Malakili, who is visibly upset after Luke Skywalker kills the rancor (in an act of self-defense).
You could also argue that the rancor isn’t a pet in Return of the Jedi because he is kept for utility (to kill enemies) rather than just for pleasure. A similar argument could be used for the krayt dragon Count Dooku tamed during The Clone Wars because I don’t think he tamed this dragon for companionship purposes.
There are many Star Wars creatures that humans or other sentient species domesticated and used as a mode of transportation. I wrote about a few of these creatures you can hitch a ride on for the official Star Wars site last year. Some of these creatures include tauntauns, kaadu, blurrgs, and luggabeasts. But there are some relationships between character and creature which could also be considered a pet type of relationship.
The book The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide explores many of these unique relationships between species. On Tatooine, Tusken Raider children are paired with banthas at the age of seven in a relationship meant to last their lifetimes.
When eopies grow old they are sometimes given to children as pets.
Tusk-Cats are another form of species regularly domesticated and used for transportation purposes in Padmé Amidala’s homeworld of Naboo. There’s a photo of Padme Amidala riding a tusk-cat in Star Wars: Yoda’s Challenge Activity Center. Not much is known about Padmé and her tusk-cat but she reportedly rode a tusk-cat during the victory races of Naboo. Tusk-cats were also known to be protective of Naboo children which suggests they were capable of strong bonds with humans.
Jedi can’t have pets because they aren’t supposed to have many possessions. But Yoda was at one point gifted a kybuck. Yoda kept this kybuck in a garden behind the Jedi Temple in Coruscant and considered it more of a friend than a pet. This kybuck made a few appearances in the 2003-2005 Clone Wars TV series and there was even an action figure of Yoda that included his kybuck companion.
Kowakian monkey-lizards are an interesting species as they are described as semi-sentient. The Kowakian monkey-lizard in Return of the Jedi, Salacious Crumb, was considered an employee of Jabba the Hutt.
But in Star Wars Adventures 2 a Kowakian monkey-lizard named Noni is described as being a family pet. I supposed in Noni’s case referring to her as a pet may be a way to simply include her in their family even though she appears to be more intelligent than a lizard or a loth-cat.
Finally, I would argue that Chewbacca became the proud owner of a few pet porgs by the end of The Last Jedi. Just look at the mess they are making in the Millenium Falcon. Only beloved pets get away with stuff like that.
As the Star Wars universe expands, I hope the relationships between sentients and non-sentients are further explored. There is still a lot to be discovered about creatures both big and small and tame and fierce in so many of these worlds.
Sources: The Wildlife of Star Wars – A Field Guide, Wookieepedia