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What are Mutts in The Hunger Games? The Capitol’s weapon, explained

The Capitol has plenty of tricks up its sleeve, both in and out of the Games. Here's our guide to the Mutts in the Hunger Games series.

The Hunger Games Mutts explained: Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray

What are Mutts in The Hunger Games? You’d think things were bad enough in Panem, with all the child-killing and all. But oh no, the leaders of the Capitol just had to introduce Mutts into the mix, didn’t they?

In The Hunger Games franchise, there are plenty of fictional terrors. For one, there’s the Games themselves. But scattered throughout the action movies, you’ll find some terrifying movie villains, and they’re not always seedy politicians, either. Here’s everything you need to know about the Mutts found throughout the franchise.

What are Mutts in The Hunger Games?

Mutts (short for Muttation) are creatures that have been genetically engineered by the Capitol, and are often used to make the Games more challenging.

Originally, Mutts were designed by the Capitol during the Dark Days as weapons or as spy technology against the Rebels. One example of this are Jabberjays, inspired by the Mockingjays, which were birds that could record conversations in secret and playback recordings at a later time. (More on that later.)

When the war was over, the Capitol decided to continue using Mutts in the context of the Games, and would typically design them to kill off tributes in faster, more brutal ways.

Are there Mutts in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?

There are Mutts in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and if you guessed they’d be snakes, you’d be correct.

In the prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Dr. Gaul is a professor at The Academy who seems to take great pleasure in designing new Mutts. It’s possible that she may have been responsible for the concept in the first place, but this is never confirmed.

We see some of her experiments in the lab when Snow walks through, including a cute little bunny rabbit with the jaw of a pit bull. Yeah, you probably wouldn’t want to feed this one a carrot. However, the rabbit Mutt isn’t featured in the Games. Instead, you’d be facing a certain scaly reptile…

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What kind of Mutts are there?

There are likely hundreds of variations of Mutts, but only a handful are seen throughout the franchise, with the most notable being Jabberjays. 

The Jabberjays are more famous for what happened when they ended up mating with native mockingbirds, which ended up making a hybrid creature known as Mockingjays. The Mockingjay would later go on to become the symbol of the revolution and become the moniker for Katniss Everdeen.

The Hunger Games cast had to face plenty of horrific creatures throughout the movies, so we’ve broken down each one you need to know about.

Here are all the known Mutts in The Hunger Games:

The Hunger Games Mutts explained: Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss


Made during the First Rebellion, Jabberjays were used as spy devices. They were able to record and playback conversations, which made them very useful for monitoring the plans of rebels.

However, the people from the Districts soon worked this out, so they then played the system by recording fake messages and false information, which helped them outsmart the Capitol for a little while.

Jabberjays were eventually released into the wild when they were no longer needed after the war, and they went on to integrate themselves into nature.

The Hunger Games Mutts explained: the Mockingjay symbol


If you watch Hunger Games movies in order, the Mockingjay is the first Mutt you’ll encounter. The Mockingjay was the genetic result of Jabberjays mating with mockingbirds after they were released into the wild. Much like their full Mutt counterparts, they can listen to and replicate sounds. Only where the Jabberjays can record full dialogue and conversations Mockingjays can only mimic songs and tunes.

The reason for their symbolic meaning comes from the fact that the Capitol did not intend for these Mutts to exist and that they were born from the Capitol’s own mistakes. Therefore, the Mockingjay became a symbol of hope, rebellion, and change.

The Mockingjay was also on the pin that Katniss wore in the 74th Hunger Games, making it one of the most prominent pieces of iconography in all of Panem.

The Hunger Games Mutts explained: Tracker jackers

Tracker jackers

Tracker jackers are a deadly, poisonous variation of wasps. Much like wasps, they have nests and stick in large hives, but their painful sting can cause vivid hallucinations. This happens during the 74th Games, in which Katniss cuts down a nest to attack the other tributes sleeping below her and gets stung in the process.

Too much venom can kill a person, and they’ll usually result in swollen, deformed victims. It’s not enough to just outrun them since, as their name suggests, these Mutts can track down the person who disturbs their nest.

The Hunger Games Mutts explained: Wolf mutts

Wolf Mutts

Wolf Mutts were the big climax of the 74th annual Hunger Games, and were created by the Gamemakers to lure the remaining tributes out of the woods and into the open for one final showdown. A visual mix of dogs and wolves, these Mutts are huge and bloodthirsty.

They also come in packs, and the amount of Mutts is equal to the amount of tributes who died in that Game. Their eyes were also eerily similar to those of the tributes, to the point where Peeta wondered if they had, in fact, used the actual eyes of the dead. A creepy detail, but never confirmed to be true.

The Hunger Games Mutts explained: Monkey mutts

Monkey Mutts

As you’ve probably guessed, Monkey Mutts are just that: monkeys. They have a similar appearance to Mandrill monkeys, though they have bright orange fur and long, sharp fangs. They’re used during the 75th Hunger Games to hunt down Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick. You may remember them chasing our heroes through the jungle. Monkey Mutts also have sharp claws, which they use to tear apart their victims…lovely.

The Hunger Games Mutts explained: Lizard mutts

Lizard Mutts

Easily our least favorite Mutts, because they’re so damn scary. When Katniss and the rebels are advancing through the Capitol underground in Mockingjay — Part 2, they’re attacked in the dark by these awful, zombie-like creatures. Fast, scaly, and with disturbingly sharp teeth, these Mutts take out several of the squad, including Finnick.

They also have pale skin and long tails, moving on all fours like lizards. Lizard Mutts are able to kill a victim with just one well-placed bite and are shown to be incredibly strong and fast. Frankly, these guys are horrific.

The Hunger Games Mutts explained: Snake Mutts

Snake Mutts

During the prequel story, Dr Gaul is shown in her lab perfecting several different Mutt prototypes. But her most prized creation is a vat of snakes. They’re rainbow-colored, bright, and sound almost beautiful. But their venom is incredibly toxic and dangerous, and they’re able to kill instantly if enough of them attack.

One of Gaul’s tricks is how they’re controlled, and she tells Snow that if the Snakes are used to someone’s scent, they won’t go for the kill. (He later uses this information to save Lucy Gray by planting a handkerchief she used into the tank before the snakes are dropped into the arena.) Ultimately, there’s not much you can do about these slippery little guys unless they know your smell. Sorry.

That’s everything you need to know about Mutts! If you’re on a franchise rampage, see how The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is connected to the Hunger Games, and take a look at all the Hunger Games Easter eggs in the new installment.

Or, see what we thought of the new movie with our The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes review. You can also see what we think are the best movies of all time or, to stick with the Games, check out our interview with Francis Lawrence about Songbirds and Snakes.