How can the crystal foxes in The Last Jedi be living?

They're made of minerals and crystals, as far as we can see, so what holds them together? Is it the Force?

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    Star Wars doesn't abide by our understanding of physics and our definition of what makes a 'living creature'. That is the 'fiction' part in 'science-fiction'. – Sava Nov 26 '18 at 20:04
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    youtube.com/watch?v=KfTalQLQi3o – Valorum Nov 26 '18 at 20:49
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    @Sava also, Star Wars is more fantasy than sci-fi. There isn't an attempt at science in most of the additions to the world. – Centimane Nov 27 '18 at 18:44
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    @Sava: I for one am shocked at the biological inaccuracies in these movies about magical space wizards. – Michael Seifert Nov 27 '18 at 19:09
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    @Centimane Not to mention the tropes and themes: rescuing the princess, one on one battles, mystical magic, heroes and villains, etc. All very fantasy-like. – Kevin Nov 27 '18 at 22:31

I don't know the canonical answer, but flesh-and-blood creatures can have crystals growing off of their fur.

This is an image of a furry animal with ice crystals growing off of its fur:
woof with ice crystals growing on fur

It lives on a planet where it rains both liquid and crystal water, depending on temperature. Edit the first picture shows a creature with ice crystals that had actually precipitated and collected on its fur-- not ones that had grown there.

However, this creature has ice crystals growing off of its hair and clothing, because of the ambient air temperature around it, and the humidity it exudes from breathing:


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    Don't know who downvoted this, but it seems a perfectly good answer to how crystals could form on fur to create that effect. Nice idea! – Graham Nov 26 '18 at 22:41
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    It seems likely that the pictured hydrogen hydroxide crystals grew in the atmosphere of said planet and then 'rained' onto the pictured animal already in crystalline form. It is, however, possible on this same planet for liquid hydrogen hydroxide to fall from the sky and immediately crystallize onto whatever it hits on the surface - including animal fur - though, so +1. Also, the latter phenomenon can be highly unpleasant in large quantities, particularly when it crystallizes onto road surfaces and leaves and limbs of very tall plant life. – reirab Nov 26 '18 at 22:58
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    You might wish to note that this answer isn't especially accurate. The Vulptex has crystal fur, not fur coated with crystals. – Valorum Nov 27 '18 at 7:36
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    @Anoplexian - The making of video indicates that the crystalline structures extend into the creature – Valorum Nov 27 '18 at 18:06
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    @Anoplexian - I've added some edits to reflect this. The film's VFX Creature guy says that their fur has become crystalline as a result of the Vulptex consuming the crystal salt – Valorum Nov 29 '18 at 20:28

The very short answer is that although the outer "fur" of the Vulptex is crystalline, the inner part of the animal appears to remain mundane flesh and blood.

"The theory is they’ve fed off this planet for so long that their fur has become crystalline. They’ve taken on the very surface of the planet they live on.”

The Last Jedi: New Revelations From Star Wars Creatures Boss [Neal Scanlon - SW Creature Workshop]


Vulptices are foxlike creatures with coats made up of crystalline bristles

Star Wars Databank: Vulptex

The film's Visual Dictionary indicates that over time the animals have evolved to take advantage of their surroundings (and abundance of crystal salts) but there's no good indication that their physiology defies logic, any more than a snail does because it has an integument made from metal carbonate.

enter image description here

But no, it wasn’t his imagination. There really were animals back there—dozens of them. They were small—not much higher than a person’s knee, with long, pointy ears and drooping whiskers framing their faces. Their bodies glittered in the transports’ lights, and Poe realized what he’d thought was fur was actually a dense covering of crystal bristles. When the creatures moved, their fur made a sound that reminded him of the wind chimes of distant Pamarthe.

The Last Jedi - Official Novelisation

Although not part of the official canon, you can see from the film's making-of VFX video that the crystals appear to project directly from the Vulptex's skin rather than simply being coated onto their fur.

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    Ah, it's a porcupine! I too thought it was a fox at first when I saw the film, but this shows again that appearances can be deceiving. – Mr Lister Nov 27 '18 at 12:03

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