The canyon crawler is a large animal found in the western Earth Kingdom, and more commonly the Great Divide. Its many sensitive nostrils provide a sharp sense of smell for hunting, and its powerful jaws allow it to quickly kill its prey. Food brought into the gorge often attracts these creatures, which are known to scale the sides of the canyon in search of prey.
While making their way through the Great Divide, Team Avatar, along with the Gan Jin and Zhang tribes, encountered a canyon crawler that attacked their canyon guide. Aang managed to subdue the beast with his airbending, which caused it to flee; however, the assault had broken the canyon guide's arms, temporarily preventing him from earthbending.
After making their way to the other side of the canyon, they discovered that each tribe had brought food along with them, which soon caught the attention of many canyon crawlers that quickly overwhelmed the group. However, by working together, the group managed to muzzle the creatures with the bags in which they had stored their food. They mounted the crawlers and tricked them to climb up the steep canyon wall by dangling food in front of them. Once at the top, they released the creatures, which immediately followed the food back down into the canyon.
The canyon crawler resembles a mix of a crocodile and a spider. It has four eyes on either side of its face and a forked tongue in a sharp-toothed jaw. Much like a traditional arthropod, the crawler retains a two-segmented body made up of a head and a trunk to which its four skinny, biramous legs attach. The canyon crawler's name is derived from its arachnid-like characteristics and from its ability to run up sheer mountain walls. The canyon crawler also uses multiple sensitive nostrils with which it easily detects the scent of food.
The canyon crawler is a dangerous animal that primarily inhabits the canyon of the Great Divide, but its habitat is spread throughout the arid terrain of the western Earth Kingdom. Though the crawler prefers live meat and its various useful features make it the perfect hunter, the canyon crawler is primarily an omnivorous scavenger that is willing to eat whatever it can find.
The canyon crawler's body structure is somewhat similar to an ant's, with its long insect-like legs connecting only to the center of the body as an ant's legs connect to its thorax. In addition to its appearance, the canyon crawler also behaves similarly to an ant. Its overall tagma structure resembles that of primitive arthropods, such as the sea-spider.
- In the Avatar: The Last Airbender video game, canyon crawlers are the most powerful enemy.
- The creators stated that the canyon crawlers were the product of an experiment to see how crazy they could make the hybrid animals. Reportedly, they asked if anyone could make a cross between a crocodile and a spider because they could not visualize such a hybrid. One animator produced a drawing, and that design turned into the canyon crawler.
- From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Creature: Canyon Crawler.
- O'Bryan, John (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (May 20, 2005). "The Great Divide". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series, page 60.