3 meters in diameter
Out in Tatooine's Dune Sea, lying at the base of the Great Pit of Carkoon, rests a gruesome creature known as the Sarlacc. The omnivorous, immobile beast is almost entirely concealed beneath the desert sands. Only its foul mouth extends to the surface, ringed with grasping tentacles ready to pull any prey unfortunate to fall into the shifting sands.
Its maw is more than three meters in diameter, and is a mucous-lined hole brimming with inward pointing teeth. At the center of the mouth is a smooth, pointed beak containing a fat, muscular tongue, blindly flexing in hopes of capturing a savory morsel.
Because of its isolation, the Sarlacc rarely feeds, as it must rely on animals that stumble into the pit. As such, it has evolved an extremely efficient digestive process. According to lore, the stomach pit of the Sarlacc keeps its prey alive for a thousand years, slowly dissolving its meal into needed nutrients, while the hapless victim is kept alive in searing, endless agony.
The Sarlacc was a favorite creature of the loathsome Jabba the Hutt. The bloated gangster would amuse himself by eliminating his enemies by tossing them into the Sarlacc. He and his criminal coterie would delight to see the Sarlacc's victims struggle helplessly, as they tried to climb up the slippery shifting sands of the Carkoon pit. Such movement would only stir the beast, which would strike out with a sticky tentacle, and tug the meal into its waiting mouth.
Jabba's attempt to feed Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca to the Sarlacc ended in disaster. Skywalker broke free of his captors, and made short work of Jabba's guards, many of whom found themselves tumbling into the pit. Even the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett could not escape the disgusting creature, as an out-of-control rocket pack deposited the armored hunter into the Sarlacc's gullet.
The Sarlacc has been a puzzle to xenobiologists for years. Very few specimens exist, the largest being on Tatooine. The creature is so remote and so dangerous that extended study has yet to be deemed worthwhile.
The Sarlacc defies easy taxonomic classification. While evidence strongly supports it being an animal, many scientists point to its anchored root-system and spore-based method of reproduction as evidence of plant origin.
On the few planets where Sarlaccs are found, legends have arisen regarding the creature. The fanciful tale of a "thousand year" torment inside the Sarlacc's digestive system may be more fact than fiction, however. Evidence exists of a fibrous network of vessels that attach themselves to a swallowed victim, grotesquely incorporating the being into the Sarlacc's own biological system. Such immersion is accompanied by mind-altering neurotoxins which keep the victim docile. The hallucinations coaxed by the toxins suggest that the Sarlacc somehow absorbs the intelligence of all its victims, who live on in disembodied torment.
These reports are allegedly from the only person known to survive being swallowed by a Sarlacc -- the bounty hunter Boba Fett. His iron will and Mandalorian armor kept him alive inside the beast, and his weapons-covered suit afforded him escape from agony. It would be years before both Fett's body and reputation recovered from the Sarlacc.
Several original design sketches show a lively Sarlacc creature with moving tentacles and pronounced beak, a look that simply could not be realized for 1983's Return of the Jedi. Stuart Freeborn and his crew built the mouth and tentacles, complete with a hydraulic system that would move the grasping tentacles around. The sands of the Yuma, Arizona location shoot clogged up the system, and the film crew had to resort to using poles and wires to animate the creature. For the Special Edition of Jedi in 1997, the beak and tentacles were computer animated creations.