Gremlins are a race of small destructively-mischievous reptilian creatures. They are created when a Mogwai is allowed to consume food after midnight, causing the Mogwai to conceal itself in a cocoon and metamorphize into a Gremlin.
They're intelligent creatures, very capable of operating technology. Like the Mogwais, they're highly sensitive to light and reproduce asexually by means of spontaneously generating new Gremlins whenever they're exposed to water.
While they retain the Mogwai's aversion to light, natural sunlight has proven fatal to Gremlins, as one Gremlin has been seen melting into a green liquid after being exposed to for a short time.
- In the movies, it isn't explained where Mogwais came from or how Mr. Wing obtained them. The novelization reveals them as having been created by an alien scientist known as Mogturmen.
- In the second film, one of the Gremlins consumes a "bat serum" from a science laboratory and mutates into a winged variety. Other Gremlins in the film likewise consume different substances that cause them to achieve new and mutated forms.
- During the second Gremlin infestation, a Gremlin ingests a serum from the aforementioned laboratory, causing it to achieve enhanced intelligence and the ability to speak fluent English. During a televised interview with a Human actor, the 'Brain Gremlin' claims that the motivation of the Gremlins is to achieve their own civilization, but fully acknowledges the anarchic nature of the Gremlins as a hindrance to this goal. This is demonstrated by the Brain Gremlin immediately picking up a gun and shooting another nearby Gremlin to prove his point. This, combined with the laughter of the observing Gremlins, indicates that not only do Gremlins take no issue towards killing one another, but they also seem to consider the act humorous.