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Type Animal
World of Origin Taldain
Universe Cosmere

Predators who glide effortlessly through the sand. They're fast and near indestructible, living in the deep sand and only emerging to hunt.

—Kenton [1]

Sandlings, often called deep sandlings, are creatures that live in the deep sand on the Dayside of Taldain.[1]

Appearance and Anatomy[edit]

Sandling size comparisons, as sketched by Duchess Khrissalla.

Sandlings come in various sizes, with several species being significantly larger than a human. They appear to be arthropods, with a hard, segmented carapace. However, some sections of a sandling's body are covered in interlocking scales, like a reptile. Unlike arthropods, they have mouths with long teeth, a tongue, and liquid saliva. Though they appear to have eyelids, they cannot see, and must "feel" to find their prey. Kerztians believe that they even speak to the sand.[1] They are usually gray in color.[2]

They survive off of eating sand, but they do not gain sustenance from the sand itself, but from the microflora that coats it.[3] After dissolving this film of microflora for sustenance, they excrete the sand, which loses its white color and becomes identical to tan Darkside sand.[3]

Their blood is gaseous and acrid, when this gaseous blood reacts with air, it can coalesce into a gooey liquid.[1][4]

Water is toxic to sandlings, able to dissolve them.[1][4]

Interactions with Investiture[edit]

Some sandlings have terken shells, making them immune to sand mastery. Any Invested sand that touches terken shells becomes black and loses it power. Terken shells can also be made into an oil-based liquid and smeared on people or objects to make them immune.[5] Assassins covet this oil for use in fighting sand masters,[6] although it does not suppress sand masters from manipulating objects not actually covered in the oil.[5]

Khrissalla takes a scientific interest in both sandling carapace and sand excreted by the sandlings; she discovers some unusual properties after performing various experiments. She eventually realizes that the sand gains a microflora, key to harnessing the planet's Investiture, which is ingested by sandlings.[3][7]


Sandlings live in deep sand and only surface to hunt. They will eat almost anything, and they are able to ingest sand, dissolving the microflora film for sustenance, and excreting the sand, free of this film.[2][3] They can move very quickly through the sand.[1] They are "nearly indestructible" under normal circumstances, but their shell and skin can be dissolved by water.[1][4] Guns can also penetrate their carapace.[8] Plants such as the dorim vine have water inside them for protection against sandlings, since a sandling's mouth will dissolve if it tries to eat the vines.[9]

Smaller sandlings can be hunted by groups of humans using conventional weapons such as spears and swords.[2] Humans may use carved carapace for various purposes, such as making arrowheads.[8]


Multiple species of sandlings have been seen in White Sand:[expand]

  • Keldar (pl. Keldarin)
  • A'keldar (pl. A'keldarin) a great sand wolf and cousin to Keldarin.[4][1]
  • Tonk (pl. Tonks) a domesticated form of sandling used as a beast of burden on Dayside.[9]
  • Rezal (pl. Rezalin)
  • Terha (pl. Terhan)
  • DelRak (pl. DelRaiken) also known as DelRak Naisha - It is not aggressive, but it functions as a trap, hiding in the sand with only its triangle-shaped head showing; when anything touches it, it devours it.[2]
  • Marken (pl. Markens) - A terken sandling used in the Mastrell's Path, a trial faced by members of the Diem. It is incredibly large, with clawed legs, a long tail, spiked carapace, and a huge round mouth rimmed with conical teeth.[1] It is not known how this particular sandling ended up outside of its usual habitat.[10]
  • KaRak (pl. KaRakin) - Has a form similar to a four-legged wingless dragon with a forked tongue, frilled neck, and long tail; a baby is the size of an elephant, while an adult is approximately seventy feet tall.[2]
  • An unnamed species that is very small; groups of individuals coordinate movements and feeding, like a school of fish.[2]
  • An unnamed species that is very small and can be held in the hand.[4]


  • Sandlings have a similar appearance to Chasmfiends and other greatshells found on Roshar, although they are not intended to parallel each other.[11] In a hypothetical fight between the two, the environment would affect the outcome.[12]
  • Sandlings are also similar to (and probably inspired by) the Sandworms of Arrakis, found in Frank Herbert's Dune. Sandworms are also gargantuan creatures that live beneath the desert sands, and emerge when they feel a disturbance in the sand. Water is toxic to Sandworms, and they avoid it just as Sandlings do. Brandon has acknowledged Dune as significant inspiration for White Sand.[13]


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