They are predatory carnivores and are common in warm and temperate climates, favouring deciduous woodlands. Chavin are most active at dusk and dawn, but it is not uncommon to see them at any time of day or night. They have yellow eyes which are so reflective that they appear to glow.
They are pack animals and although they do not live in family groups, they are still closely bound. There can be up to 10 adult chavin in a group. If this number is exceeded then lower-ranking members (normally young males) of the group's hierarchy (they are led by a dominant alpha male and female) will leave to join another pack or start their own.
When encountered, a lone chavin is not usually a great threat unless it is starved for food. But it will attack if it feels threatened or if it is approached too closely, although it will run if its opponent is larger than human-sized.
Chavin in packs are a different story. Unless they have just eaten they will attack any potential prey with great ferocity and simply will not give up once the chase is on: they will chase their target until it is dead.