Otherwise known as “mutts,” these mutations are used for various purposes, such as biological weapons in the Hunger Games arena and the First and Second rebellion.
What are Muttations (Mutts)?
The Capitol regularly created new creatures in laboratories and the Control Room of the Hunger Games. These creatures are known as “muttations” or simply “mutts.” They are genetically modified animals that possess enhanced skills and strength to serve the Capitol in various ways.
Origins of Muttations
Muttations were most likely first created by Dr. Volumnia Gaul, the chief architect of the Hunger Games. When Coriolanus Snow first visits Dr. Gaul’s laboratory, he is horrified and frightened by the muttations that she was creating. Thus, one can conclude that muttations were not common before Dr. Gaul and that she was the one who popularised them.
64 years later, during Katniss’ time, mutts are a common element within the Hunger Games arena, created and refined by experts in the Capitol.
Types of Muttations
Wolf mutts made an appearance in the 74th Hunger Games, when only three tributes remained standing – Katniss, Peeta, and Cato. The wolf mutts were a combination of wolves and humans (specifically the tributes that were killed previously in the 74th Games). They were capable of balancing on their hind legs and jumping extremely high.
The mutts also possessed razor-sharp claws that were 4 inches long. The most horrifying aspect about these mutts, however, was the fact that they each possessed a strange resemblance to one of the tributes who had previously died in the arena. They had a collar tied around the neck with the district number on it. Their eyes were remarkably similar to the eyes of the tributes, so much so that Peeta wondered whether they were the tributes’ real eyes or not.
The wolf mutts were used to drive the remaining tributes to the Cornucopia. They mortally wounded Cato, who suffered all night long before Katniss killed him out of mercy. Katniss and Peeta managed to save themselves by jumping out of their reach on top of the Cornucopia. The mutts finally left the arena through a tube in the ground.
The Third Quarter Quell featured a genetically modified species of monkey known as the monkey mutts. The monkey muttations were extremely agile and contained claws that came out like switchblades. The razor-sharp claws and teeth were capable of inflicting deep puncture wounds in the tributes, which caused internal bleeding. The tributes in the arena were viciously attacked by these mutts, and the District 6 female Morphling was killed by them.
When President Snow realized that Squad 451 was still alive, he released a pack of lizard mutts into the Transfer system underground. The mutts were reptilian creatures with sharp talons, long tails, and pale white skin that stretched tight across their bodies. Even though they were four-legged creatures, they were able to walk on their hind legs with “skittering” movements. With arched backs and jutting jaws, the lizard mutts were capable of decapitating their victims in a single bite. They made hissing sounds and were given the ability to say “Katniss”, most likely to frighten her. They gave off the scent of President Snow’s roses and could track Katniss’ scent.
Lizard mutts resembled humans because they were most likely created through Avoxes and those imprisoned at the Capitol. They managed to kill off most of Squad 451, including Jackson, Finnick, Leeg 1, Castor, and Holmes before they were annihilated by Katniss.
Snake mutts or “snakelets” were created by Dr. Volumnia Gaul before the 10th Hunger Games. With an enhanced sense of smell, these snakelets attacked anyone whose scent they did not recognize. This is how they attacked Clemensia when they did not recognize her scent on the report she was given as homework. Although the bite of the mutts was venomous, Clemensia managed to survive with the help of an anti-venom. However, she ended up suffering from neurological damage and other side effects.
The snake mutts were brightly colored and merely the length of a ruler and the width of a pencil. They were released into the arena, where they attacked everyone except Lucy Gray, whose scent they recognized through a handkerchief that Coriolanus managed to sneak into their container.
Rabbit mutts were created by Dr. Gaul. Part pit bull and part rabbit, the mutt she kept as a pet was capable of snapping a metal rod into two with its jaws.
Jabberjays were black and crested male birds with a unique ability to memorize and repeat whole conversations between people. The Capitol used these muttations to eavesdrop on the rebels during the first rebellion. However, once the rebels caught on, they used these jabberjays to feed numerous lies to the government. The Capitol was thus forced to abandon the jabberjays to die, which they eventually did, but not before they mated with female mockingbirds to produce the mockingjay. Jabberjays made a comeback in the third Quarter Quell where they were used to torture the tributes with the screams of their loved ones.
Mockingjays are accidental muttations created by the mating of male jabberjays and female mockingbirds. They possess a black body like jabberjays, and white patches under their wings which they inherited from mockingbirds. They also have crests similar to that of a bluejay, which they inherited from their jabberjay fathers.
Mockingjays possess the unique ability to pick up musical notes and sounds from humans and relay them back and forth in the same pitch as the original. Since mockingjays were not intended to exist, they are viewed by the Capitol as a sign of rebellion. They soon became the actual symbol of the rebellion when Katniss wore a Mockingjay pin in the arena, and Katniss herself began to be referred to as “The Mockingjay.”
Tracker jackers are genetically modified wasps that hunt and kill anyone who disturbs their nests. They are bigger than regular wasps. With a golden body, their stings can raise lumps the size of plums. The venom from their stings can cause hallucinations that can drive people crazy. Further, more than a few tracker jacker stings at once can be fatal.
Several other muttations were created and used by the Capitol, including:
- Flesh-eating rats
- Stinging butterflies
- Carnivorous squirrels
- Murderous birds
What are muttations in The Hunger Games?
The Capitol genetically modified animals to create new creatures called muttations. These muttations are man-made creatures and are often horrific monsters that serve the interests of the Capitol.
What do the muttations symbolize?
The term “muttations” is a play on the words mutt and mutation, likely to symbolize a corrupt version of genetically modified animals.
Who created the muttations?
Muttations were most likely first created by Dr. Volumnia Gaul. During his time as a mentor in the 10th Hunger Games, Coriolanus Snow discovers Dr. Gaul’s laboratory where she bred several muttations including the snake mutts and the rabbit mutts.
Why are there muttations in The Hunger Games?
Muttations are genetically modified animals created by the Capitol for various purposes. They are used as an extra source of entertainment in the Hunger Games, to spy on rebels, to protect the Capitol, and so on.