Muttations, or simply mutts, is the name given to genetically modified animals created by the Capitol. Mutts have been created for a variety of purposes, both inside and outside the Hunger Games Arena. The name is likely a corruption of the term "mutation".
- Main article: Jabberjay
The jabberjay is a type of exclusively male bird that was created to eavesdrop on enemies of the Capitol during the First Rebellion. They had the ability to memorize and repeat whole human conversations and repeat them back to their Capitol handlers. However, once the people in the districts realized how their private conversations were being transmitted, they used the jabberjays to feed endless lies to the Capitol. When they realized they were being played, the Capitol ceased using the jabberjays and abandoned them to die off in the wild. Eventually they did die off, but not before unexpectedly mating with female mockingbirds to produce a whole new species; the mockingjay.
By the time of the 75th Hunger Games, the Capitol had replenished the jabberjay population and used them in one of the time "sectors," where tributes Finnick Odair and Katniss Everdeen were trapped and forced to listen to the birds' mimicry of their loved ones' screams. They were described as black and crested, similar to the mockingjays' appearance.
- Main article: Mockingjay (bird)
Mockingjays are accidental muttations that were created when female mockingbirds mated with male jabberjays. They pick up songs very quickly by imitating the pitch of a human's voice and can relay them back and forth to people or other mockingjays. Since the Capitol did not mean for these birds to exist, they are viewed as a symbol of rebellion within the districts. However, after victor Katniss Everdeen's use of a mockingjay pin in the Games, mockingjays went into vogue with the people of the Capitol and their likeness often appeared in clothing, jewelery, and other objects. The Mockingjay pin is a symbol of rebellion, since Katniss wore it in the Hunger Games. Mockingjays are mainly black like the father jabberjays, with white patches under their wings from their mockingbird parents. They have a crest, also inherited from the jabberjays, which may be similar to that of a bluejay.
- Main article: Tracker jacker
Tracker jackers are deadly wasps that were made by the Capitol and placed around the districts during the first rebellion. They are larger than regular wasps and have a gold-colored body. Their stings raise lumps the size of plums on their victims, and their venom (engineered to target fear in a victim's brain and alter their memories) causes hallucinations that can drive people to madness. More than a few stings can kill a person; some people die after just one. These mutts will also hunt down anyone who disturbs their nest and attempt to kill them, hence the name tracker jackers. They live in huge hives high up in trees.
In the 74th Hunger Games, the Gamemakers released a pack of wolf-like creatures on the final three tributes, Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, and Cato. These creatures were able to balance on their hind legs, jump very high, and had four-inch long razor-sharp claws. Each of the mutts resembled one of the tributes who had died previously in the Games, had a collar marked with the district number of the tribute it was based on, and had eyes that looked remarkably human.
This was achieved by using Capitol technology to recreate the humans, mixed with a form of wolf. This made them look so much like their tribute, that Peeta wondered if they had been made using the tributes' real eyes. The muttations mortally wounded Cato trying to kill him but he was armored with some Capitol-created armour. Katniss and Peeta listened to him suffer for the night before she was able to take a mercy shot and put him out of his misery. The 74th Hunger Games was the only known year that these creatures were used, acting as a painful and effective weapon to drive together the remaining tributes at the Cornucopia. Katniss recognized five wolf mutts: Glimmer, Foxface, the boy from District 9, Thresh and Rue. Katniss realized what these muttations were when she shot the wolf mutt that looked like Glimmer.
In the film, the mutts don't resemble the tributes at all. They look more like generic large, vicious, bulky dogs. They run on all fours, and resemble each other. In the book they could balance on their hind legs and jump high, but in the film they did not. The wolf muttations had brown, grey, black, or silver fur, and short muzzles. The Gamemakers designed these beasts in the Control Room, where they monitor everything that goes on in the games. The mutts are first seen when Lucia, a Gamemaker, shows a hologram of one to Seneca Crane for evaluation. He says that they're excellent, so she inserts it into the Games. In the film, the mutts are responsible for the deaths of Cato and Thresh. At the end of the scene, the muttations run off into the woods, instead of jumping into a tube which leads back to the Capitol like in the book. Also in the film, Katniss gives Cato a mercy shot a lot earlier.
mutated species of monkey. In the Catching Fire film, these were made to appear like Mandrill monkeys. They viciously attacked the tributes, harming them and even killing the female Morphling from District 6, when she saved Peeta's life. They used their claws and their teeth to make deep punctures in their victims' flesh that looked harmless, but in reality were deep enough to cause internal bleeding. The group left the beach after the morphling died so the hovercraft could take her body away. According to Katniss, their claws come out like switchblades and they are very agile.
In Mockingjay, after President Snow realizes that he did not manage to kill Squad 451 and that they escaped into the Transfer, he sends lizard-like muttations after them. The mutts were four-legged with sharp talons at the end of each finger, had tight pale white skin and were the size of humans. They had long reptilian tails, arched backs and heads that jut jaws which enabled them to decapitate their victims in one bite. The mutts had the ability to walk on their hind legs as well as on all four, which Katniss described as skittering movements. When Katniss got closer to them, she saw that they seemed to be a mixture of humans and reptiles, with faces of conflicting features. They gave off a scent similar to that of President Snow's roses and had Katniss' scent to track her. They spoke through mostly hisses but were also given the ability to say "Katniss", most likely to frighten her. They were able to be killed but only were killed when Katniss detonated her Holo on them (by saying "nightlock" three times), though they managed to kill most of Squad 451—Jackson, Leeg 1, Finnick, Castor and Homes—before their annihilation.
These mutts can be considered biological weapons and are likely devised from human flesh given their near human-like appearance, and were likely formed using Avoxes and those the Capitol imprisoned.
- "Ah, here you are. Say hello to my new babies."
- ―Dr. Gaul, introducing Coriolanus Snow and Clemensia Dovecote to the snake mutts[src]
Coriolanus Snow first encountered the snake mutts in the lab of Dr. Volumnia Gaul, who used the snake mutts to determine whether a paper that Coriolanus had given her was a solo work or a collaborative effort. Because the paper had in fact been a solo work, the mutts did not recognize the scent of Coriolanus' classmate Clemensia and attacked her. This event and its aftermath left Clemensia in a state of highly charged emotions and caused a brief rift in the friendship between Clemensia and Coriolanus.
The snakes were of various bright colors, including neon pink, yellow and blue. Each was no longer than a ruler and not much thicker than a pencil. Due to their small size, Gaul referred to them as "snakelets." When Clemensia asked if there was a point to their color, Gaul replied only that "There is a point to everything or nothing at all, depending on your worldview." The snakelets could not see too well and could hear even less, but were bred to have even more acute sense of smell than that which normal snakes already possessed. Their venom was lethal, but one could recover if an anti-venom was administered quickly enough, though the victim might still suffer side effects and some neurological damage.
These mutts were later released into the arena during the 10th Hunger Games, killing Circ and Coral. However, although the mutts flocked to Lucy Gray, they recognized her scent and did not attack her. This was because Coriolanus, in a chance encounter, had a hunch that the snake mutts would be released into the arena. Wanting to protect Lucy Gray, he dropped a handkerchief with her scent into the tank beforehand so that they would recognize her scent and not attack her. Later in the Games, Treech attempted to attack Lucy Gray. Dodging his blow, she ran at him and dropped one of the snake mutts down his shirt. The mutt then attacked and killed him.
- "Hippity, hoppity. How was the zoo? It's like a children's rhyme."
- ―Dr. Gaul to Coriolanus Snow after teasing one of her rabbit mutts[src]
In addition to her snakes, Dr. Gaul had at least one rabbit muttation. She had modified it to have the jaw strength of a pit bull and stated that it was, in fact, part pit bull. She would tease it with a metal rod, poking at it until it would yank it from her hand and snap it in two. She often brought it with her when visiting the mentors for the 10th Hunger Games and fed it carrots.
- The arena of the 50th Hunger Games (2nd Quarter Quell) contained a number of dangerous mutts:
- In the 75th Hunger Games, one of the "sections" in the arena held an unidentified mutt in it which ripped apart a tribute so badly they could not be identified. That mutt was labeled as extremely large and very fast. Peeta called it "the Beast".
- Another section contained a large quantity of insect-like creatures, much like grasshoppers or crickets, but with large pincers that they would click continuously. They were a serious threat when they swarmed, which caused tributes to attempt to avoid them at any cost.
- While a prisoner of the Capitol, Peeta is "hijacked" into believing that Katniss is not human, but in fact one of the Capitol's mutts.
- Muttation gnats and flesh-eating rats were mentioned to be in one of the pods found in the Capitol during the attack by the rebels.
- In Mockingjay, Pollux helps steer Squad 451 clear of rats the size of beavers. It is unknown if these are muttations or simply large rats, although the first is more likely due to the nature of the area.
- In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, the lizard mutts appear to have no eyes or tails. It can be assumed that, because they have no sense of sight, they rely on sound and quite possibly smell.
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 30
- Catching Fire, Chapter 14
- Catching Fire, Chapter 24