The tauntaun is an omnivorous reptomammal occupying a key position in Hoth's ecosystem. Beyond providing a food source for wampas and the feline whitefangs, tauntauns also expand the planet's natural tundra by spreading fast-growing moss and lichen to new growth areas. In fact, scientists speculate that Hoth's limited fauna would quickly go extinct if the tauntauns disappeared.
More important to Republic, Imperial and White Fang forces on Hoth, tauntauns provide the promise of a native means of traversing the icy plains. Adult tauntauns can move at speeds of up to ninety kilometers per hour‒useful for outrunning all manner of foes. The trick, of course, is domesticating these notoriously ill-tempered beasts.