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They were solitary hunters by nature, and were known for their abilities as bounty hunters and scouts. However, they were also isolationist as a species, and tended to discourage interaction with other species. Because of their hunting and tracking skills, the Empire enlisted the aid of the Shistavanen many times, in an effort to explore the farthest reaches of the galaxy.
The Shistavanen were best known for their lupine appearance, complete with thick brown fur and glowing, red eyes. The males of the species were generally larger than the females, and both sexes could move about on all-fours or by walking upright. Communication between individuals was accomplished through a combination of loud barks and growls, although many Shistavanen learned the Basic language after the end of the Clone Wars.
Shistavanen society was based on the family unit, with each family including the parents, their offspring, and sometimes the immediate in-laws. Young pups were homeschooled as part of a government program, but they were also trained as hunters and trackers as part of larger groups. Individuals were deemed to have reached adulthood when they made their first kill, often while hunting in the forests of Uvena I.