A native life-form of the Planet of Arrakis, the Sandworm of Dune is a gigantic creature necessary for the production of the Spice Melange. The new Dune movie will give us a glimpse at these titans. Here are some facts about the Sandworms you must know before the movie releases.
Territorial in Nature
Like any predator, the Sandworms are territorial in nature. No two sandworms can occupy the same patch of sand. As soon as two sandworms sensed each other’s presence, a clash of the titanic creatures would soon follow. A Sandworm vs. Sandworm fight would start with huge, deafening roars that cleared up the clouds in the sky and filled the region with a distinct melange like smell.
Water Can Kill Them
The Sandworms are born in a planet which is basically an infinite desert. It has very little water and the Sandworms have evolved themselves to live without directly ingesting it. Water, as a result of thousands of years of evolution, has become poisonous to the sandworms. If taken in, water can react violently inside a Sandworm’s internal organs, liquefying its innards and leading to a painful death. The Bene Gesserit use this reaction to create the Water of Life, a poison created due to the reaction of water with Sandworm tissues. The very thing that gives life meaning is the one that takes it away for Sandworms. Interesting creatures, they are.
Attracted to Vibrations
The Sandworms use a specific method to pin-point their prey. They relied in the vibrations created by the shifting of sand. Once they locked onto that vibration, they will stop at nothing to hunt them down. Typically used as a measure to stop other Sandworms from entering their territory, they could use it to gobble up machines like Sand Crawlers as well as human travelers. Since they are highly protective of their territory, Sandworms do not leave any survivors behind. So to have faced the onslaught of a Sandworm and have lived to tell the tale is rare in the Planet of Arrakis.
More Than 10 Times the Size of Blue Whale
The Sandworms are invincible because of one single factor – they are HUGE!! In fact, Dr Yueh stated that observers and spotters stationed in the Deep Desert spotted Sandworms as big as 450 Meters. For the sake of comparison, the biggest creature on Earth is the Blue Whale. It is only 33 meters long. So if you stack up 15 Blue Whales in a line, they would roughly match the average size of a Sandworm of Arrakis. Some theories claimed that Sandworms twice the average size, of roughly 700 to 1000 meters existed in Arrakis’ Southern Pole Regions.
Can Live For Thousands of Years
The Sandworms of Arrakis have existed since time immemorial. Several ancient folklore and tales mention these huge creatures. Nobody really knows how old or ancient the Sandworms are. The elusive creatures do not leave much of an opening for letting someone study them. But several theorists claims that the true age of a Sandworm transcends any creature’s age in the Dune Universe. Their longevity is somehow connected to the spice Melange which is abundant in their systems. A typical Sandworm can survive for thousands of years at the very least.
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Have Impenetrable Armor
The skin of a Sandworm is orange in color and has thick, rough scales. The scales act as armor for the gigantic creature, each a few feet in dimensions. The Scales were strategically positioned to interlock wen a Sandworm goes down under thus preventing internal sand invasion. Not even the sturdiest of weapons could rip open a Sandworm’s hide. The only way to circumvent the creature’s scaled defence was by prying open the edges of one or more scales to get into the softer inside of the Sandworm. As long as the scale remained open, the Sandworm will not go into the sand. The Fremen used this technique to ‘ride’ a Sandworm
Provide Oxygen to Arrakis
Earth has trees. But the planet of Arrakis is devoid of all plant life. And yet life thrives there. There is a particular reason why it does so even without the presence of any trees. It is the Sandworm that helps generate Oxygen in the atmosphere. The body of a Sandworm represents that of a blast furnace. Its internal organs generate heat and temperature in such tremendous amounts that it acts as a relentless source of heat energy to the planet. The Sandworms are the environmental link that keeps life afloat in the desolate Spice rich planet of Arrakis. Without them, life would perish.
They Eat Sand
No we are not even kidding here. Left to their devices within the vast barren desert lands of Arrakis, the Sandworms find nourishment in the only source of food available to them. Sifting through huge dunes of sand, the Sandworms eat Sand Plankton found in Arrakis’ desert. The sand of Arrakis also came loaded with several dry minerals and ingredients the Sandworms needed to stay alive. Their food source also ended up giving them a distinct cinnamon like smell when they opened their humongous mouths to feed on unsuspecting prey. The Sandworms’ smell was almost identical to the scent of the Spice Melange because of their nutrition.
Lightning Follows Them
The Sandworms’ trail is followed by a massive lightning discharge in the upper atmosphere of Arrakis. So when you are on the planet and you see a sandstorm spewing lightning, you can be sure there is a sandworm nearby. When the Sandworm approached its breach-point, a surge of yellow lightning would soon follow., Researchers claimed that it was due to the result of a static electricity discharge into the extremely positively charged air. Sandworms are creatures that have thunder and lightning as their messengers. You do not mess with them.
Cultural and Spiritual Symbol
The Sandworm was more than just a gargantuan predator. It was a spiritual symbol to the Fremen, natives of the planet of Arrakis. The Fremen saw the Sandworms as the physical manifestations of their One God from their original Zensunni religion. The Fremen had many names for these creatures, including the Maker and Shai-Hulud. Other monikers included Old Man of the Desert, Grandfather of the Desert, and Old Father Eternity. The Sandworms were also responsible and had a huge role to play in the creation of the Spice Melange, humanity’s most valuable and traded resource. As a result, the cultural and spiritual impact these creatures have on the Imperium is huge.