[[quoteright:250:[[Literature/{{Dune}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sandworm.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:250:Shai-Hulud, the Great Maker, the Grandfather of the Desert, the Worm Who Is God]]

-> '''Paul Atreides:''' Stilgar, have we {{Wormsign}}?\\
'''Stilgar:''' Usul, we have wormsign [[BlasphemousBoast the likes of which even God has never seen]].
-->-- Frank Herbert's ''Film/{{Dune}}''

So you're travelling the desert. A dangerous place, isn't it? You've got dehydration to worry about, of course, then there's heatstroke, scorpions, snakes, pack animals of dubious trustworthiness, and native peoples who may be ruthlessly territorial or just poorly disposed toward your particular ethnicity. But if you think that's all you've got to worry about, check your setting: if you're somewhere other than Earth, be it a sci-fi or fantasy world, then tread softly; without rhythm and check the ground often, because you may just wind up with a case of [[SandWorm Sand Worms]].

Scaled-up versions of real-life worms, these beasties tunnel through sand and dirt, being halted only by rocky terrain or artificial ground, though often enough they can force their way through that as well. They generally have no eyes or ears, rather detecting vibrations through their bodies. Beyond these basic traits, even the most incidental similarity to real creatures ceases. Sandworms are big, typically ranging between man-sized and resembling something like a moving mountain. They seem to be carnivorous, since they tend to go out of their way to attack and eat anything trudging upon the surface, either leaping without warning to swallow the prey whole or approaching with a [[{{Wormsign}} telltale furrow of disturbed earth]], depending on whether the writers want to give the target a chance to run away. Aside from the worm-like shape, these monsters are also recognizable by their [[LampreyMouth mouths]]: they're always either completely round or trifurcated, lined with rows of teeth, and with long tentacular tongues, the better to grab you by the feet and reel you in.

Intelligence varies but is usually pretty animalistic. They may be loners or travel in packs, again depending on how threatening the writers want them. Since they hunt almost exclusively by dint of sound transferred through the ground, they can be diverted by standing still or setting off something loud and percussive a ways off.

Similar monsters can be found in snow or water. These are, perhaps, a bit more believable.

Even in the best of cases, these are obvious instances of [[ArtisticLicenseBiology artistic license]]; it simply isn't possible for a creature so dense and large to pass that easily through heavy earth, [[SandIsWater even if it is fine sand]]. Failure to observe the SquareCubeLaw also applies, especially in larger cases, and especially since worms don't have any internal support structure such as a skeleton. (Exceptions may be made for low-gravity worlds.) Not to mention how does that thing sustain itself? They're usually depicted as being carnivorous, and huge. Nothing is even close to its size, and it doesn't feed ''that'' often, and even so, it'd be sustaining itself on creatures less than a hundredth its size, and it lives in the deserts, which have much less biomass than other biomes.

Though when you think about it, they're kind of like scaled-up, desert-dwelling earthworms.

A related creature is the '''Landshark''', a ground-burrowing creature with the appetite, temperament, and often appearance of a ThreateningShark. A landshark is often (but not always) a SharkMan

Compare SpaceWhale, FlyingSeafoodSpecial, DrillTank, AntlionMonster. See also {{Wormsign}}.

----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs'' had a desert planet that contained these which the Wolkenritter extracted {{Mana}} from. Pretty powerful too, considering how one of them almost killed [[MasterSwordsman Signum]].
* These appeared in a desert planet in ''Manga/DragonBall GT''.
* They appear in the Acid Tokyo arc of ''Manga/TsubasaReservoirChronicle''.
* In ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'', Sandworms are apparently the dominant native species on the planet; in the manga, they play a fairly major part in the story, because they are sentient and able to communicate with one another telepathically.
* Sand worms appeared in one episode of ''Anime/ExcelSaga'', when Excel fell through a trapdoor and came out in a desert.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' has sand worms controlled by a [[LovableSexManiac naughtier Paio II]] [[spoiler:[[SamusIsAGirl who turned out to be an extremely naughty little girl]]]].
* Mister from CoyoteRagtimeShow takes advantage of Sand Worms as weapons against the 12 Sisters.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''. The hollow Bawabawa acts like one of these in desert-like Hueco Mundo, including giving the protagonists a ride to Las Noches.
* According to WordOfGod, the Ohmus from ''Manga/NausicaaOfTheValleyOfTheWind'' are partly inspired by ''Dune'''s Sandworms, though they don't really burrow and look more like pillbugs. The name is actually a dual pun on both "King Bug" (''Oh-Mushi'') and the way Sandworm is pronounced in Japanese (''Sando Uohmu'').
* ''Anime/TheBigO''. In episode 17 "Leviathan", the title megadeus is a giant mechanical version.
* Though shaped more like a lobster, Renocraft in the ''Monster Farm''/''Anime/MonsterRancher'' anime digs through the sand and targets its prey much like a sandworm.
* ''Anime/{{Vexille}}'' uses this, in the form of Jags, giant revolving tubes of scrap metal that make their way across the desert outside Tokyo. They eat more metal to survive, which means that it's really not a good idea to drive cars out there. Also the reason why there's a "giant concrete gate" outside the main city. They also die when they fall into the water, a fact which is used to great effect in the movie.
* On some occasions, sandworms appear in ''Anime/SpaceRunawayIdeon''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* In the original ''[[Comicbook/SonicTheHedgehog Knuckles the Echidna]]'' mini-series, Knuckles encountered a sand worm in the Floating Island's desert, Sandopolis Zone.
** ...which is never encountered in ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic (3) & Knuckles]]''[='=]s version of Sandopolis Zone, unless you count the caterpillar-like enemies.
* ''{{Thor}}'': The Asgardian desert has giant sand worms.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films]]
* ''Film/{{Tremors}}'' reinvented the trope to drastic degrees. Indeed, the Graboids weren't really wormlike at all except in basic principles, and asserted the predatorial habits that have made Sandworms the monster-movie favorite they are now. (actually, there were precursors- a few ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' enemies come to mind- but they had smaller budgets and no KevinBacon)
** They made some nice [[MinovskyPhysics theoretical background]] for the series, though. They "swim" through the ground through the use of thousands of little "teeth" on their sides, they ''must'' retreat from explosions due to sheer pain from vibrational shock, and they have a brilliantly executed life cycle; the Sandworms which show up on seismometers, are mini-velociraptors with [[InfraredXrayCamera infrared-vision]], then organic rocket-critters which carry the eggs to other areas.
** The website explained that their initial classification as "pre-Cambrian" life was incorrect, and graboids actually evolved from squid or cuttlefish-like organisms that adapted to drier habitats (such as by losing the eyes and relying on other senses). This theoretical background was rather well thought out even if it did have its flaws. The squid/cuttlefish connection does make a lot of sense when you look at the Graboids' anatomy and intelligent behavior.
* The ''Film/{{Dune}}'' film by Creator/DavidLynch helped codify their typical appearance. They're also a [[HorseOfADifferentColor Fantastic Cavalry]].
* ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'', where the ''Millennium Falcon'' lands ''inside'' one - well, inside of an Asteroid Worm - and barely escapes.
* ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}'' was taken out by one of another iconic SandWorm species that lived on Saturn. These had white-and-black stripes and one mouth inside another- compare the xenomorphs of the ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' movies.
* The grossly CG sand worms from the SciFiChannel movie ''Sand Serpents''.
* [[FluffyTheTerrible Jeff]] from ''MenInBlackII'', though he uses tunnels which are already built (the NYC subway).
* ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon'' introduces The Driller, which is essentially a MechanicalLifeform version of a sandworm. They're supposedly Cybertron's apex predators. Shockwave has one as a "pet".
** Skorponok in the first two movies also sort of fills this role, being able to burrow through sand and leap out to strike against his enemies.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* [[TropeMaker Invented]] by Frank Herbert's ''Literature/{{Dune}}'', where the beasties were hundreds of feet long, [[HorseOfADifferentColor used as mounts]], capable of swallowing entire ships whole, and their offspring [[SolidGoldPoop crapped out]] [[{{Phlebotinum}} the substance]] that kept the entire cosmos's economy running. Practically every case of Sandworms in fiction since has been a carbon-copy of these critters, though scaled down to somewhat less incredulous levels.
** The ''Dune'' example is a bit more realistic, since it's established that they feed on a combination of the plankton-like larval form of themselves, and other, smaller worms. Their mass is sustained by their semi-crystalline body, and their ability to pass through the sand is because they consume it, as part of getting the aforementioned plankton. The reason they attack anything that vibrates is because, since they are blind and have low intelligence, they attack on the off-chance that the vibration is caused by another worm. Their physical attributes are consistently extrapolated from the neccessities of their living-in-sand nature - their bodies are designed to be capable of passing off enormous amounts of heat to deal with the friction in sand, and their strength is quite enormous, as it would have to be to move such a mass through such a dense medium.
* The immense wormlike monster in the catacombs of Bookholm, from Walter Moers' ''Literature/TheCityOfDreamingBooks''.
* Man-eating giant earthworms begin crawling on the surface in Creator/BrianKeene's ''The Conqueror Worms'' after an [[TheGreatFlood endless rainstorm]] forces them out from deep underground.
* Dholes or bholes (it's not quite clear whether they are different creatures or just a different way of spelling) appear in Creator/HPLovecraft's mythos. They are enormous wormlike creatures that secrete corrosive acid slime that helps them tunnel through solid rock. Cthonians are another burrowing mythos creature, but they are more squidlike than wormlike.
* Bore grubs inhabit the Clayr's Glacier in Creator/GarthNix's ''Literature/{{Lirael}}''. Unlike other examples on this page, they're not actually malevolent, but they're pretty stupid, slow to react, and can chew through solid rock and ice with their rotating jaws, so it's best to stay out of their way. The bigger ones are largely responsible for hollowing out the places where the Clayr live.
* According to [[ExpandedUniverse supplemental material]], [[Franchise/StarTrek the planet Vulcan]] has a second, silicon-based type of these known as ''a'kweth'', or "underliers". [[StarfishAliens They're sentient.]]
* ''Summer of Night'' by Creator/DanSimmons has these in the rural Midwest. They're described as being like Moray eels
* Subverted in the third book of Creator/JohnVarley's ''Literature/GaeaTrilogy''. Yes, there is a giant sand worm; Gaea herself has created and placed it, no doubt directly inspired by Earth fiction. It's miles long, it's probably hungry (it has ''turned'' the original landscape into the desert it is now)...and it moves so slowly that it's basically just a living terrain feature[[note]]another one, that is; since the bulk of the books are set inside the alien known as Gaea, nearly every terrain feature is "living" in some sense or other if you dig deep enough[[/note]]. Some of the passing humans cut graffiti into its skin.
* Diggles in PiersAnthony's ''Literature/{{Xanth}}'' series are giant worms that could phase through solid rock and literally worked for a song.
* A Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse example is [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Greater_Krayt_Dragon Greater Krayt Dragons]], ridiculously huge ten-legged dragons that mostly ate banthas, but there's an illustration in ''The Wildlife of Star Wars'' of one digging up and eating a ''[[http://msngroup.aimoo.com/IcewindDaleGamers/krayt_dragon_lg.jpg sarlaac]]'' . Usually they stayed buried in the sand.
** Tatooine also has [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dune_worm dune worms]], which... are basically exact {{Expy}}s of sand worms.
* The Flayers in the ''StarTrekDeepSpaceNineRelaunch'' are carnivorous worm-like creatures which lurk beneath the sand of a certain desert on the planet Harkoum. They're known to eat people; crossing the desert on foot is practically suicide.
* In the Literature/{{Retief}} story "Internal Affair", the ambassador sent to the planet Quahogg disappears after reporting being chased by forty-foot giant worms, and Retief and Magnan are sent to investigate. The worms turn out to be [[spoiler:the intelligent life forms the ambassador was sent to meet]] (somehow the CDT overlooked this little fact), and, while the ambassador ''was'' eaten, [[spoiler:this did no harm]]--in fact, it turns out that [[spoiler: the only safe place for humans on the planet is inside the worms.]]
* ''Literature/{{Redshirts}}'' has Borgovian Land Worms, which eat two characters.
** Later it is revealed that [[spoiler:not only did the lead writer of the show have nothing to do with these, he was on vacation, but the TV company got in trouble with the Herbert estate as well]] proving that sand worms are VERY lawyer unfriendly.
* In ''[[TheShipWho The City Who Fought]]'', Simeon is attacked by a literal "worm" program, two metres thick with rows of rotating concentric teeth - apparently based on a real creature.
* In ''[[TheColSecTrilogy Exiles of ColSec]]'', these are a recurring threat. They vary from about three feet long to about ''seven'' feet in ''diameter'', and are armed with deadly stinging tentacles. They're at least somewhat justified in that they have durable exoskeletons, and that they lurk under a shallow layer of soil and ground cover rather than actually burrowing. [[spoiler:In the end, it's helping to kill a particularly large one that serves to somewhat endear the central cast to the native humanoids.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Tremors}}: The Series''
* The Sand Rays and Sharks from ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys'', obviously based on the Graboids from ''Tremors''.
* During its "movie ripoff" phase, ''{{Sliders}}'' likewise did an episode featuring one.
* The ''Series/{{Dune}}'' miniseries.
* An episode of 1960s ''Series/OuterLimits'' called ''The Invisible Enemy'' had an astronaut team investigating why a previous landing party had vanished and their ship destroyed. They barely escape after being attacked by ''[[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever giant]] [[SandIsWater sand]] [[ThreateningShark sharks]]''.
* ''Series/SeaquestDSV'' featured a giant, fire-breathing worm that lived in underwater caves.
* ''Series/{{Earth 2}}'' had the Terrians, humanoids with a complex and very alien psychology who traveled like sandworms through the soil of their (living, symbiotic) homeworld.
* ''Series/LostTapes'' did an episode about Mongolian death worms.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology]]
* The Olgoi-Khorkhoi (Mongolian Death Worm), a legendary beast said to inhabit the Gobi Desert, is a 2-5 foot long worm capable of spitting acid and able to electrocute prey.
* Northern European and Siberian folklore held that the dead mammoths, whose bones were found in earth, or who sometimes were embedded in the permafrost, were burrowing creatures that died instantly upon contact with air. The word "mammoth" is likely derived from "underground deer" in some Finno-Ugric languages.
* Medieval Russian folklore had the beast Indrik ("the beast of all beasts"), who cuts underground riverbeds through earth and dies from exposure to light. Depending on the narrator, it could be the same creature as mammoth, or a separate animal.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** The iconic Purple Worm
*** It looks very much like a sandworm from {{Tremors}}, including the mouth parts, but lives underground and tunnels through solid rock, leaving tunnels similar to the Horta from [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries "The Devil In The Dark"]]. It hunts by sensing tremors of moving creatures which touch the ground, so flying is advised. And they're purple, covered in slime, and pictures of them have [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything inspired a lot of eye-rolling]] from gamers. One of the monsters that would go beyond the game's PG-13 rating, if parents didn't pretend they hadn't seen ''it''. In later editions, the artwork has made more the worm more scaly and less suggestive.
*** One edition mentioned a mottled worm, which was described as an aquatic version of a purple worm. This was later [[RetCon retconned]] and explained that they were both the exact same species, and purple worms could simply live underwater as well as they could on land.
*** In the Desert of Desolation series, Purple Worms (as well as a relative called the Thunderherder) could be found in the title desert.
** There's also the frost worm (based [[{{Expy}} directly]] [[CaptainErsatz off of]] the ''yakhmar'' from ''[[ConanTheBarbarian The Lair of the Ice Worm]]'') and the Remorhaz (also inspired by the ''yakhmar'', but is a bit more like a giant centipede than a worm and burrows through ice and snow with a body temperature that rivals molten iron).
** Likewise the Thoqqua (Rockworm) from the 1981 ''Fiend Folio'' and the Nightcrawler (no, [[Comicbook/{{X-Men}} not that one]]) from the Basic D&D game.
** 3.5 Edition also has the Ashworm, the Purple Worm's smaller brother. There's also a prestige class called the Ashworm Dragoon, which serves as sandworm-mounted heavy cavalry.
** ''{{Dragonlance}}'' module [=DL12=] ''Dragons of Faith''. One possible encounter is with a ''{{Dune}}'' style sand worm. Its approach causes an earth tremor and leaves "worm sign" on the surface.
** The {{Mystara}} setting had the Leviathan Worm. The desert version was up to 500 feet long and 40 feet wide. It was sensitive to vibrations and attacked anything moving on the surface within a quarter mile. When moving underground it caused a ripple like an ocean wave on the surface above it. It attacked by engulfing an area of sand.
** Since the DarkSun setting was set on the desert planet of Athas, it naturally had several examples.
*** Silt Drakes, Red Silt Horrors and Silt Spawn all swam through the [[SandIsWater Silt Sea]].
*** The Sink Worm was DarkSun's version of the ''{{Dune}}'' sandworm. It was 50 feet long, left a sunken depression in the ground behind it (wormsign), burst out of the ground under its prey and swallowed it whole, its mouth was lined with teeth, and it could feel the vibrations of creatures walking on the ground.
** 3rd Edition ''Creature Collection''. Sand Burrowers track prey through vibrations. They grab their victims with tentacles that extend from their mouth, like the Graboids in the film ''Film/{{Tremors}}''.
** In the ForgottenRealms, illithid tadpoles that manage to grow up without a host become Neothelids. Basically Sand Worms with PsychicPowers and tentacles growing on their "faces".
** Aside from adopting the purple worm, remorhaz, ice worm, thoqqua, and neothelid (that last now uncoupled from its connection to illithids, which are a Wizards identity product) from ''[[DungeonsAndDragons D&D]]'', ''TableTopGames/{{Pathfinder}}'' has added the death worm (a direct interpretation of the Olgoi-Khorkhoi) and seugathi (neothelids' servitor spawn) to its lineup of such beasts.
** There's also the Spawn of Rovagug known as Chemnosit, [[TheRedBaron The Monarch Worm]]. It's a {{kaiju}}-sized EldritchAbomination sandworm with DisintegratorRay EyeBeams and the ability to MindRape those it stares at into feeling insatiable hunger for the flesh of their own kind, driving them into insane rampages of cannibalism in which they will [[AutoCannibalism eat their own flesh]] if they can't get anyone else's. Chemnosit has been described as actually holding back from devouring cities to first let its Hungry Gaze do its terrible work; only once the city's inhabitants have devastated themselves does it grow bored and consume the few survivors.
* Behold the [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?printed=false&multiverseid=121173 Thermopod]] from ''MagicTheGathering'', a giant slug that is not unlike ''D&D'''s Remorhaz. This one actually has a plentiful supply of caribou and goblins to feed on, though.
** Also of note is the [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=146 Wurm]] Creature type. These can vary quite a bit from creature to creature but most of them share a similar, dragon-like head. Oh, and these Wurms happened to live in Forests. Of course, there are also a few more [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=23039 traditional]] [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=130320 desert]] [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=35170 dwelling]] Wurms as well.
* The ''{{Dune}}'' boardgame.
** Had it gone to press, Last Unicorn Games' ''Dune'' RPG.
* TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}} has some miniature (2'-5' long) versions among its Awakened animals. They're descended from earthworms, secrete a powerful acid to penetrate stone, and eat concrete, particularly highways.
* ''{{Talislanta}}'' has giant sand ''eels''. Same idea, different flavor-text.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'' has rattlers. No, [[WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes not those]]. Mojave rattlers are named for the noise a cowpoke's teeth make as they race toward him. Before taking one on, re-read that part about "varying intelligence" real careful: rattlers in different parts of the country even have different ''personalities'', implying at least the intelligence of a clever hunting animal. [[spoiler: They're [[CosmicHorror smarter]] than they seem, too. And they don't eat everyone they catch. [[BodyHorror What do they do with them...?]] ]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' brought about several incarnations of these with the Tyranids since third edition.
** "The Red Terror" was a relative of the Ravener species (snake or worm-like Tyranids) that had the ability to burrow its way onto the battlefield and swallow smaller enemies whole. The Red Terror was later removed from the playable creatures: the Raveners got its burrowing abilities.
** The Trygon is a giant version of the Ravener with all its burrowing abilities and an electrical attack. Since Raveners were much too small for a proper Sand Worm, the Imperial Armour books introduced their giant form (their being able to move is HandWaved as their electrical field breaking the ground into fine particles, which are easier to move around).
** January 2010 had Games Workshop feature a new sub-strain of the Trygon called the Mawloc. It is the most Sandworm-like creature in the game so far, having shorter arms and a multi-jawed mouth. On top of everything the Mawloc is not only able to burrow underground, but move around while underground and reappear elsewhere later (apparently it's faster while underground than on the surface).
* In ''TableTopGame/YuGiOh'', the Medusa Worm is a card that, when flip summoned, can destroy an opponents monster. You can then flip it back down so it can eat your opponents monsters again next turn.
* The Graveworm from ''{{GURPS}}: Creatures of the Night'' is an effectively harmless version of this. They're very easy to kill (literally, they have the "Easy To Kill" disadvantage) and have no real attacks but if people that spend to much time around a living one find their intelligence being drained away.
* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' has two:
** Dholes, gigantic underground worms with a penchant for destroying planets by burrowing through them. They are ''that'' large. Getting hit by a Dhole requires you to make a Luck roll; a success means there is enough of you left to hold a proper funeral.
** Chthonians, somewhat smaller underground worms with blood-draining tentacles and telepathy.
* ''TabletopGame/ArkhamHorror'', being CthulhuMythos TheBoardGame, has dholes and cthonians as per the literature and RPG examples above. In game terms, dholes are massive and incredibly powerful while cthonians can damage all the investigators by causing earthquakes.
* The CCG Guardians has a card called "The Great Ba'te" and it is one of the largest creatures in the game.
* Chaosium's supplement ''All the Worlds' Monsters''. Sand Worms: are 100-200 meters long, live in sandy deserts, water poisons it, can hear things miles away, attack creatures on the surface by creating a sand whirlpool beneath them, and a certain item allows them to be controlled and used as a mount. In other words these are a fantasy version of ''Literature/{{Dune}}'' sandworms.
* ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' has the Thunderwyrms, gigantic beasts that travel under the earth and are drawn above the surface by storms (hence the name). It's believed they were born of irradiated soil, a belief backed up by the fact that the largest Thunderwyrm (big enough to host a Caern inside it) nests under the soil of the Trinity test site.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''SandsOfDestruction'' has sand''whales''.
* ''VideoGame/SeriousSam 3: BFE'' has sand worms, which are known as Sand Whales for their sheer bulk. Contrary to the usual example, these (unkillable game-wise) bad boys eat mineral matter without a damn to give about mostly everything; they are nothing more than ''extremely'' territorial, though, which makes them a perfectly diegetic example of BorderPatrol on the more open-ended levels.
* ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar 2'' features the Riftworm, a gigantic worm that the Locust use to sink cities, awakened by the detonation of the lightmass bomb in the first game. "Giant" doesn't even BEGIN to describe it-- it'd probably be around 4 ''kilometers'' long. It's also HandWaved as far as biology and physics go. It's supported by a skeleton, and doesn't seem to be carnivorous. Also it has red blood, [[PaintTheTownRed and a lot of it]].
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** A recurring boss enemy in the series, often fought in multiples. There's the [[TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast Lanmolas]], [[TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask Twinmold]] and [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker Molgera]]. Oddly enough, most of them can ''[[IfItSwimsItFlies fly]]'' for short durations.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' sizes down the Sand Worms to a more reasonable size. ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' has both the aforementioned gargantuan Molgera, and its smaller offspring [[MookMaker that it likes to summon during the fight.]]
** On a more minor scale, ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' has the Leevers, things like fat leeches that appear in some parts of the desert.
** ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'' has sandworm-like creatures in desert-based RandomEncounters.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass'' has green worm-like enemies (which are literally called Sandworms) that chase and try to eat Link if he moves any faster than walking speed across certain sandy areas.
* [[ShadowOfTheColossus Dirge the Tenth Colossus]] is a giant sand worm. Except it hits you. At high speeds. [[ThatOneBoss And it's hard]].
* Wahsh Al-Sahraa in ''VideoGame/LegacyOfAThousandSuns''
* ''LostPlanet'' features a giant snow worm in one of its missions.
* Giant Worms or "Wurms" are recurring monsters in the MMORPG GuildWars. They come in a wide variety from basic Sand Wurms in the Crystal Desert, Frost Wurms in Shiverpeaks of Tyria, the Desert Wurms and unique undead Junundu wurms of the Elonan Desolation and the Chaos Wurms of the Fissure of Woe. They're by far the biggest monsters in the game (with the exception of one of the endgame bosses) and the boss versions of some of them, (and unique ones such as the Canthan Leviathan) are absolutely TITANIC. Very intimidating. The expansion pack Eye of the North gives us even more Wurms, with a whole dungeon dedicated to them. The end boss of that dungeon is the second most largest enemy in all of Guild Wars, only bowing to [[spoiler:Abbadon]]. Yes, they surpassed their previous records of gigantic Wurms with even more gigantic Wurms.
* The planet Blenjeel from ''[[VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy]]'' is loaded with them. There's a reason why you only have to do 4 of 5 missions in each act. Perhaps as a shout-out, you can trick them into eating explosives to distract them from chasing you.
* Thresher Maws in ''Franchise/MassEffect'', apex predator of the DeathWorld that raised [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy the krogan]]. They don't exclusively appear on desert planets, but the only one that's actually necessary to fight in order to complete a mission does. Others can be found here and there, but they can be avoided with no ill effect beyond missing out on the experience from killing it.
** The lore also explains what in the hell they eat to maintain their mass: metal. That is, underground ore, usually. This also explains why they attack things like tanks and settlements: plenty of metal to munch on. It even explains the damaging acid they can spit, as they would need some pretty potent acids to digest metal.
-->'''Mordin''': Thresher Maw getting closer!\\
'''Wrex''': Tell me something I ''don't'' know!\\
'''Mordin''': [[LiteralMinded Metal in truck an excellent iron supplement for Maw's diet.]]
** The third game introduces Kalros, planet Tuchanka's guardian, the ancient and exceedingly large "[[MonsterProgenitor Mother Of All Thresher Maws]]". She gets into a fight with a [[HumongousMecha Destroyer-class Reaper]], and ''wins''.
* These pop out of the sand in the Egyptian stage of ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin''.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' has Sand Worms ''and'' Snow Worms. Which are pretty much a white/blue PaletteSwap.
** [[TalesOfSymphoniaDawnOfTheNewWorld The sequel]] has them, as well, where they're among the largest monsters you can have on your team. They're also a bit unusual in that they have arms.
** ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' has them as well.
** ''VideoGame/TalesOfHearts'' has a Sandworm boss, several miniature versions of itself populating its dungeon, and a later PaletteSwap in the final dungeon.
** ''VideoGame/TalesOfXillia'' has them, though never in the sand, instead appearing in caves and canyons.
* A recurring enemy in the ''FinalFantasy'' series. Probably the most memorable ones are in ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV V]]'', where its corpse provides a stable path across the desert, and ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI VI]]'', where being eaten by a specific one on a specific island leads to a hidden dungeon and party member.
** A particular area of the overworld in ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV V]]'' has a winding path of greenery passing through the desert. Simply traveling across the desert is faster, but you run the risk of encountering these things, which will almost certainly kill you at that point of the game.
** These monstrosities are living, breathing, adventurer-eating ''entrances'' to [[BonusBoss special boss fights]] in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI''. There are also much smaller person-sized worms that cast magic-- although considering they are immobile in combat, it's needed to prevent them from being too damn easy to kill with ranged attacks.
** The first time you face a Sand Worm in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', it has the most HP of any enemy you've faced thus far (and [[BossInMookClothing it's only a random encounter]]!). Fortunately, it's not ''too'' deadly, and it's vulnerable to attacks that remove fractions of the enemy's HP, so if you have some Shadow Gems lying around, you can make quick work of one.
*** And if you don't, you can steal Shadow Gems from the Sand Worm itself.
** The [[UpToEleven Abyssal Worm]] in the VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon can be farmed for the very valuable items that allow you to exceed the 9999 damage cap. Unfortunately, they're located after the PointOfNoReturn.
* ''RogueGalaxy'' has them. And they're ''huge'', even by this trope's standard.
* The pop culture reference-heavy ''KingdomOfLoathing'' has a quest that involves sandworm riding.
* ''SpaceQuest 1'' used one of these to [[BorderPatrol prevent the player from venturing into the open desert]].
* [[http://gmc.yoyogames.com/index.php?showtopic=279075 Death Worm,]] in which you play a giant worm, leaping from the ground and eating people to grow larger.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' has a few, the first being Ouro, a then-unique model boss in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj. The Burning Crusade expansion introduced acid-spitting worms capable of tunneling through solid rock in Hellfire Peninsula and the Bone Wastes in the middle of Terrokar Forest. In homage to Frank Herbert, one quest chain ends with summoning a giant undeground worm named "Hai'shulud" with a "fumper", and gives "Dib'Muad's Crysknife" as a quest reward. Jormungar of Northrend are quite a bit smaller, but adhere to the same principles (and spit acid too). With the release of the Cataclysm expansion, ''World Of Warcraft'' got sandworms that are made of stone {{Stargate}}s and magma wurms.
* ''PhantasyStarIV'' had these infesting the planet Motavia, with an enterprising farmer deciding to open a sandworm ranch. Unfortunately, it gets too big for its britches, and thus becomes one of the first ([[ThatOneBoss and hardest]]) BonusBoss fights in the game at that point. You often fought baby Sandworms in RandomEncounters, and at least one variant, if you left a single one alive, would run off and summon [[MamaBear Mama]] (another full-sized one like the boss mentioned above). When you get the [[TankGoodness Land Rover]], one of the enemies you ran into was a PaletteSwap of the Sandworm, while swaps of both the small and large kind could be found in the planet's oceans.
* The BonusBoss of [[GaiaOnline zOMG]] shares its name with this trope's alternate title/humorous variation: Landshark. It is, quite literally, a shark that swims through (and appears to be made of) sand. Other than than its anatomy, it acts almost exactly like a sandworm, burrowing underground and eating unsuspecting Gaians.(It can kill a [[PowerLevels CL 10.0]] Player with multiple armor buffs and a health boost in 3 hits, and unbuffed players in [[OneHitKill less than that]]. It took 3 6-Person Crews of CL 10 players to take it down. Plus the area it spawns in is usually filled with CL ''5'' players).
* Nydus Worms in ''VideoGame/StarCraftII'' are an improvement on the first game's Nydus Canals: Load a bunch of units into a Nydus Network building, and have it grow a giant underground worm in another area. The creature bursts out of the ground and begins disgorging tons of units all at once.
** One mission in ''[[VideoGame/StarCraftIIHeartOfTheSwarm Heart of the Swarm]]'' features an "ash worm" that pops out of the ground to spit acid at your units before burrowing again and popping up somewhere else. It apparently killed a [[HiveQueen Brood Mother]] that way. When slain the Zerg use its DNA to enable Swarm Hosts to move while burrowed.
* Great Wyrms in ''MasterOfMagic''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Overlord}}'' features giant sand worms in the later levels.
* ''ZombiesAteMyNeighbors'' the excellent but NintendoHard Lucas Arts game for the SNES is filled with homage monsters for the two teens to battle, and of course, has a gigantic people-eating worm. It lashes its tongue in and out at people.
* ''VideoGame/{{F-Zero}} GX'' shows a sandworm in the background of the Sand Ocean stages, though since this is a racing game, you (thankfully) don't interact with the scenery in any way.
* ''Literature/{{Dune}}'', ''VideoGame/DuneII'', ''Dune 2000'' and ''Emperor: Battle for Dune'', of course. In the first game (which doesn't actually share any continuity with the others) they mostly serve as Paul's means of transportation, while in "2" and "2000" they show up semi-randomly to eat units, in "Emperor" they mostly do the same thing but Fremen can intentionally summon them and temporarily control them.
* ''VideoGame/VivaPinata'' doesn't technically have a sandworm, but the Whirlms can dive into the ground without making a mark and pop out again without any dirt on them, so they could easily burrow through ground like a sandworm if they wanted.
* The Burrow Beast in ''VideoGame/DestroyAllHumans 2'', a ''Film/{{Tremors}}'' ShoutOut that Crypto summons by dropping bait, whereupon it starts popping up from beneath any mook in the surrounding area and dragging them underground to feed on.
* There were a couple of these in ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankGoingCommando''. Some were real sand worms, and some were ice worms.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Patapon}}'' games, there are two Sandworms named Zaknel and Dokaknel in the deserts. They drop vegetables.
* One of the bosses in ''VideoGame/GinormoSword'' is called "Sand Worm".
* The first ''VideoGame/{{Star Ocean|1}}'' game features Sandworms in the deserts of planet Roak, and also their cousins, called "Fellworms," in the mountains.
* ''VideoGame/NetHack'' features both D&D Purple Worms, and [[LawyerFriendlyCameo lawyer-friendly]] versions of Dune's sandworms. Neither actually burrow through the ground, though.
* ''VideoGame/TheImmortal'' features these as recurring enemies up until level five. Level four is dedicated to avoiding them [[FakeDifficulty by floating around on a magic carpet]] [[InterfaceScrew with extremely bad handling.]]
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** Onix and Steelix are Rock Pokémon that resemble giant snakes made out of boulders or iron. Fittingly, their respective types are Rock/Ground and Steel/Ground.
** Gible and its kin resemble sharks in their design, but they're really Dragon/Ground types.
** Dunsparce is a small snake Pokemon actually based on the Mongolian Death Worm (see above.) It's...not as deadly.
* ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime 2'' features Amorbis, a trio of Sand Worms, as the boss of Dark Agon Wastes which is a huge scaled up version of the light world critter the Sandigger, which are about 6 foot long and spit acid.
* ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'' has two different types of these.
** One is an odd twist on the traditional sandworm type; which bizarrely occurs in normal terrain rather than sand, including inside certain dungeons, moving indiscriminantly through turf, rock, and soil. Possibly justified, in that it appears to be partly supernatural in nature. This was the first version developed. There is a high-level field boss version, the giant sandworm, which does occur in desert sand dunes; and a minor variant, the ice worm, found only in snowfields. Both of these are played completely straight.
** A second type is called a "lungfish" (and looks vaguely like a real-life lungfish). Although the appearance is actually that of an eel-like fish, it acts like a straight sandworm, and is found in desert sand dunes.
* ''{{Gradius}} Gaiden'' has a snow worm as its first boss.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica'' has the Gulp Worm. ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis'' has the Grave Digger, though it is based on the millipede.
* ''BreathOfFireIV'' actually has a SandWorm ''dragon'' that resembles a SandWorm with fins. [[spoiler: It wrecks your ship, enabling you to find the HeroicMime Ryu.]]
* ''Armageddon 2'', a map-pack for Skulltag, has a pair of these as bosses in the "Sand Worm Trench" level. They don't swallow people, just breathe fire at them (and are lanky, looking somewhat like snakes).
* ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' has the Strykewyrms, which come in Jungle, Desert and Ice varieties. They're normally unagressive and can only be fought as a Slayer task.
* ''{{Darksiders}}'' has these in a desert called the Ashlands, with an even larger one as the boss of the area.
* The Subterranean in ''VideoGame/{{Turok}}: Dinosaur Hunter'' ([=N64=]).
* ''{{Mousehunt}}'' has the "[[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Big Bad Burroughs]] Mouse" and its smaller brother, the Itty-Bitty Burroughs Mouse. They're pretty much a [[MixAndMatchCritters cross between this trope and a mouse]].
* ''SonicTheHedgehog'' series has some robotic ones in ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic 3 & Knuckles]]'' located in Sandopolis zone. Giant stone sandworms appear in ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure''. Alien worms appeared in ''ShadowTheHedgehog''. More organic and fiery ones can be found in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' although the latter two seem to prefer any surface, not just sand.
* ''VideoGame/TimeSplitters: Future Perfect'' has twenty-foot-long vicious dirt-worms in the backyard of the haunted mansion. The player gets to rescue a scientist who had taken refuge in a tree by defeating the worms with a flamethrower. The scientist also references ''{{Tremors}}'' by name, in keeping with the game being filled with movie {{Shout Out}}s.
* The [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Hapurubokka]] from ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter Portable 3rd'' is a three-way cross between a sandworm, a sand shark and a submarine. It even has the distinctive "burst up vertically from the sand and eat something on the way" move.
* ''VideoGame/BlackSigil'' has a desert in which are sandworms. You can avoid them by walking through a specific path, but going out of said path leads to interesting items (in [[InexplicableTreasureChests chests]], of course).
* ''VideoGame/{{Bug}}!'' had a [[ThatOneBoss really nasty]] swamp worm as the boss of [[BubblegloopSwamp Splot]].
* ''VideoGame/HeavyWeapon'' has the robotic Mechworm boss, fought in [[ShiftingSandLand Antagonistan]]. It jumps out of the sand and spams missiles and bombs.
* One of ''VideoGame/WarioWorld's'' bosses is named one of these, but in reality it's more like an antlion with scythe-hands. It still tunnels through the sandpit it's found in at high speed.
* ''VideoGame/PanzerDragoon'' has plenty of examples; they make an especially prevalent appearance in the second level of the first game.
* ''VideoGame/EVOSearchForEden'' featured these in one level. Notably, they are the only invincible enemy in the game, fortunately they wouldn't attack you actively, though one might pop out of the ground under or in front of you. A later level featured sand-dwelling dinosaur-like creatures called Mosuchop which would jump out and bite you before retreating under the sand. (Real Moschops, the mammal-like reptile on which it was based, were not known to do this.)
* The land shark variety is in ''SaintsRow 3'' and a ''LeagueOfLegends'' champion, released at about the same time. You shoot or throw a fish at the target, and after a short delay a shark breaks through the pavement and takes a big bite. ''[=SR3=]'' claims it is a sewer shark. ''[=LoL=]'' does not explain anything.
* ''VideoGame/{{Terraria}}'' has quite a few: Giant worms, devourers (corrupted versions of the former), the Eater of Worlds, diggers, world feeders (stronger versions of the first two) and the Destroyer (a robotic version of the Eater of Worlds).
* Several appear in EpicBattleFantasy.
* ''VideoGame/{{Penumbra}}'' has these deep inside an old mine. They are mutations of indigenous rock worms. They are "only" about four to eight feet in diameter...
* The sixth game of the ''MegaManBattleNetwork'' series has a seldom seen sandworm virus that leaps in and out of panels, periodically appearing in front of or behind you before trying to plow through you. Its chip summons worms from behind your foes to attack in the same fashion.
* Threshers in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}''. Threshers tend to live on fertile ground near water, and they have squid-like tentacles that they use to either pummel or throw rocks at you. The "Captain Scarlett" DLC campaign introduces actual Sand Worm enemies, which are found in an arid desert; they don't seem to be related to Threshers, appearing and behaving quite different from them.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Diablo}} Diablo II]]'' has the burrowing Sand Maggots, which the [[AllThereInTheManual official backstory]] points out are actually arthropods and not worms at all. A gigantic boss variant named Coldworm the Burrower was so bloated it resembled a worm more than the normal Sand Maggots. ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'' once again features desert locations with giant worms, this time the far more traditional Rockworms, which can swallow players whole and spit them out. The Cave of Burrowing Horror has the corpse of a truly immense specimen winding through the floor. This game also features the dinosaur-like Dune Threshers [[SandIsWater swimming through the sand like sharks.]]
* The Burrowing Snagrets from the ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}}'' series are functionally similar to these, though they can burrow through the dirt as well as the sand.
* The first ''VideoGame/{{Shantae}}'' game had these in the desert area near Oasis Town. They're long, durable, and look menacing with their mandibles and single eye, but they're mostly harmless since they just sit there in their hole in the sand.
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' has aehallh worms, first seen on the desert planet Nimbus. They are sessile predators that sprout from the ground and let their prey come to them. The name refers back to the ''[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries TOS]]'' novel ''[[Literature/{{Rihannsu}} The Romulan Way]]'', where it is the Romulan word for "ghost" or "monster".
* At least one kind of fauna found in ''VideoGame/NoMansSky'' can be considered this, though its scaly exterior suggests it has more in common with a snake than a worm.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' finally gets one of these [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0688.html in this strip]], complete with several {{Shout Out}}s to ''{{Dune}}''.
%%* ''LookingForGroup'' has one and ''munch [[spoiler:CALE!]]''
* In ''DemonEater'' some demons are seen to grow into this shape.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' had the Alaskan Bull Worm, which went around eating half the town, prompting Sandy and Spongebob to go hunt for it. At one point, Sandy even claims to have found "wormsign", which is [[VisualPun a small wooden sign with "WORM" written on it]]. "It's [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking BIG, SCARY]] and PINK!"
* In an episode of ''TheFairlyOddParents'', Cosmo poofs up a sand worm during Septemberfest.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' ran afoul of several of these while trapped on an alien planet.
* ''BountyHamster''. A white sandworm is pursued by [[MobySchtick mad Captain Rehab]] in a spoof of ''MobyDick''.
* Terra's introductory episode in the second season of ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''. Granted, they're mechanical, but they still count.
* ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'' encountered a (fake, natch) sand worm while on a cross-country race in Mexico.
* At least two episodes of Disney's ''WesternAnimation/AladdinTheSeries'' featured or alluded to what was essentially a landshark-variety sandworm hunted by an [[MobyDick Captain Ahab]] CaptainErsatz.
** It was much more sharky than wormy.
* ''PiratesOfDarkWater'' had one of these, though it was referred to several times in dialog as a "crustacean," it had a long, serpentine body and other characteristics that fit this trope.
** A recurring character was Bloth's sandworm-like pet, the Constrictus, which looked like an homage to ''Tremors'' but was more realistically depicted as dwelling in and moving though water and sewage rather than sand or soil (it lived in the bowels of Bloth's huge ship). It was a large, mindless, constantly hungry beast with a worm-like body, tentacles and sharp teeth.
* In ''TheFlightOfDragons'', the band encounters a giant worm swimming in some kind of slime in Ommadon's kingdom. They were able to defeat it by having Danielle shoot a flaming arrow into its mouth, causing its head, then body, to explode.
** The slime was sulfuric acid that the worm oozed from its skin as a defensive mechanism. Fortunately for the heroes, it was also highly flammable.
* We don't actually see it, but in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' AlGore claims to have "ridden the mighty moon worm".
** Years later [[http://theinfosphere.org/Moon_worm we actually do see it]]; its habitat seems to be more jungle than sand.
** A sandworm also appears on Mars in ''Into the Wild Green Yonder''. The locals use it for transport.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheMummy: [[RecycledTheSeries The Animated Series]]'', Imhotep sends a sand worm after the heroes.
* Sandworms weren't just in the live action ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}''. They were also a fairly constant theme in the [[WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}} animated series]] as well, and Beetlejuice was pretty darned terrified of them.
* ''CourageTheCowardlyDog'' had one episode dealing with a sand ''whale'' attacking the house, trying to get back his accordion from Eustace (who he [[GenerationXerox thought was his father]], who actually ''did'' steal the accordion). At the very end of the episode when he does get it back, it's revealed that he's part of an entire ''orchestra'' of sand whales.
* The episode of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E11ThreesACrowd Three's a Crowd]]" has a giant worm who attacks Twilight and Cadance after they pick the giant flower it was under.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' has an episode where Korra and Asami encounter a gigantic land shark in the middle of the Earth Kingdom's desert. Its made more terrifying by the fact that it [[MixAndMatchCritter has the jaws of a fish called a "Sarcastic Fringehead"]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Quite a few desert snakes or legless lizards behave a lot like sand worms, avoiding the sun's direct rays by sliding along just under the surface of loose sand. Few are more than a couple of feet long, however.
* The seaside-dwelling [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lugworm lugworms]] are commonly referred to as "sandworms" in various languages. The sea annelid [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nereis_virens Allita virens]] is also [[NamesTheSame known under the same name]], [[CallASmeerpARabbit but that's about as far as the connection goes...]]
[[/folder]]

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