Sandworms are gross-looking little things. Maybe a little bit cute. I almost feel bad using them as bait. What if instead of us hunting them, they were able to hunt us?
Could they make it from water onto land? How much food would they need to sustain themselves? And what’s so unusual about the way they’d eat you?
You might find sandworms gross, but they’re nothing to be afraid of. Usually, that is. Sandworms live in deep tunnels at the bottom of the sea, where they prey on lugworms and some small bivalves. The way they hunt and eat their prey is pretty terrifying. We’re lucky they don’t get larger than 80 cm (32 in) in length. Because if they did, well, you’d better see it for yourself.
The most horrifying thing about a sandworm is its big, strong jaw. Sandworms use it to grab onto poor victims. And this thing that comes out of its mouth is part of the digestive tract. Yep, they can push it outside of their bodies. [Gross sound] Gross.
The good thing is, sandworms are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. It’s good because if they were carnivores, they for sure would want to eat you. But now, there might be a slight chance you’d be safe.
Naturally, sandworms are very introverted. They don’t like to leave their burrows much. Giant sandworms would be good swimmers. They’d mostly feed on algae and scavenge fish and smaller marine animals. Even birds that hunt near shallow water might become dinner.
And what about people? Most likely, human-sized sandworms wouldn’t eat humans that often. Just try not to make them angry.
But this doesn’t mean you’d be completely safe. Sandworms don’t have eyes. They couldn’t see you when they were searching for food. So they could accidentally bite you. Because of their increased size, sandworms would need to consume more food. They might leave their home waters of the Antarctic and Arctic oceans and spread further across the planet. They might even have to evolve and move onto land, so as not to become extinct.
The most dangerous time would be during their mating season when they leave their burrows. But not because they’d be out and about. They’d have other things on their mind, if you know what I mean.
It would be dangerous because larger predators would travel to shallow waters to feed on them. Some beaches would be off-limits and would have to post warnings about the sandworms. If they became too much of a problem, humans might decide to reduce the sandworm population.
And didn’t I tell you not to make them angry? Hunting sandworms would do precisely that. They might want to get their revenge. If a sandworm was coming after you, it would happen in the water. Unless we’re talking about giant, evolved sandworms that would live on land. But more on that in a minute.
A sandworm would grab you with its strong jaw. Its mouth would be full of sharp teeth, and the bite would be excruciating. A sandworm that’s bigger than you might try to swallow you. It wouldn’t chew you much, so you’d end up in its reeking, slippery crop right away. It’s where worms temporary store their food. You might be still conscious and in a lot of pain.
In the worm’s gizzard, you’d get ground up together with ingested sand. If you were to escape, you’d better do that now, while you still might be able to cut your way out with a sharp object. If not, you’d move through its intestine, where all your nutrients would be absorbed. Whatever was left of you would be pooped out.
- “Sandworm Or Ragworm, Clam Worm, Alitta Virens Or Nereis Virens”. 2020. waterwereld.nu.
- “Nereis virens”. 2020. Encyclopedia Britannica.
- “King Ragworm”. 2012. realmonstrosities.com.
- “Bloodworm Life Cycle”. Bethney Foster 2020. animals.mom.com.
- “Ragworm explained”. 2008. Planet Sea Fishing.
- “Dune’s Sandworms Explained: Why They’Re So Important”. Bella, Ross. 2020. Screenrant.