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Avatar Wiki

Fan Lizard
Species Information
Home Planet


Na'vi Name



Fanisaurus pennatus - winged fan lizard


Brown and yellow


45 cm, roughly 1 meter across when unfurled.

Behind the Scenes
First Appearance


Fan lizards (Na'vi name: kenten) are small nocturnal creatures that live on Pandora.


Fan lizard illustration

At first glance, this unique lizard appears to be little more than a dull, ruler-length reptile with few different features. When agitated, however, it has wings that unfurl like a bioluminescent antique Chinese fan and spins away to safety. In an instant, it morphs from dull to beautiful and then, just as rapidly, is once again a rather common-looking lizard.

Understandably, the fan lizard is a favorite among the young Na'vi who cherish this natural spectacle. At every opportunity, a Na'vi child will run through a field of ferns to disturb a group of resting fan lizards, and then marvel as the luminous magenta and purple discs float to the safety of a nearby branch. In the Pandoran twilight, this shimmering flight is strangely alien to the Na'vi.

An ancient dance (usually performed by the children) celebrates the lizard. Two dancers stand side by side to create a rigid "spine." Another group of children run by and taunt the pair, at which point the entwined dancers "unfurl" into a circular shape and "float" in a zig-zag pattern through the other dancers. This is usually accompanied by hufwe, or wind instruments.


Fan lizards are known for the large retractable disk on their back. This disk has a structure similar to that of the Da Vinci Helicopter. This magenta and purple membrane is bioluminescent and used for flight as well as to ward off any attackers with the brilliant light display and sudden increase in size. Note that when the fan lizard uses the appendage, the movement causes the body to spin with it.

Feeding Ecology[]

Nocturnal land omnivore that feeds on tree sap and small insects. Often feeds in swamps.


  • According to James Cameron's Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide, the fan lizard is one of Grace Augustine's favorite animals on Pandora.
  • Given Pandoran gravity and air density, the rapid opening of the lizard produces enough angular momentum to create lift, which startles predators and removes the fan lizard from danger simultaneously.


James Cameron's Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide pg 76 & 78


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