When eaten by a sarlacc, according to C-3PO,

In his belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering, as you are slowly digested over a thousand years.

I imagine that keeping a victim alive for a thousand years takes much more energy than is available to the sarlacc from the body of the victim. Thus, keeping victims alive for so long would seem to be a net loss of energy for the sarlacc.

Is there a canon answer to resolve this conundrum? Did the sarlacc have another energy source (for example, ability to harvest sunlight)?

  • 4
    Just because it takes that long to digest you doesn't mean you'll last that long. The pain, shock, lack of food/water/breathable air would kill you far sooner.
    – Derek
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 1:32
  • 5
    I always felt that had to be an exaggeration by Jabba to scare the masses. The reality is that something so enormous would have a very hard time surviving without some other form of energy anyways. Like solar energy. But I don't know of any canon source that even attempts to resolve any of this.
    – MichaelS
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 2:34
  • 3
    Related, not dupe; How Does A Sarlacc Eat?
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 9:52
  • 2
    What we SHOULD be asking is "If the Sarlacc takes a thousand years to digest a person, how could Boba Fett have massive acid burns after only a few days in the Sarlacc?"
    – Omegacron
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 15:58
  • 6
    It holds the keys to immortality and they use it for entertainment? Figures.
    – Mazura
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 17:25

2 Answers 2


The very short answer is that the Sarlacc gains energy from digesting non-sentient creatures (womp rats, eopies and so forth) and then uses that energy to torture its sentient victims, gaining a measure of telepathic enjoyment from their agony.

In fact, it likes their pain so much that it expends energy in keeping them alive so that it can keep torturing them almost indefinitely.

The mature Sarlacc, however, does have mobile tentacles and legs but has adapted its legs as anchor roots. Scientists currently believe the Sarlacc is an animal, much like sponges and anemones are animals. Because it lives in the middle of the desert, the Sarlacc does not feed often, but because of its highly efficient digestive system, it doesn't need to. Its body preserves food for incredibly long periods of time, digesting it slowly and storing it until the Sarlacc needs nourishment. Unfortunately, the victim often remains alive for much of the time, in part sustained by the Sarlacc's internal nutrients.

One of the prevailing rumors about the Sarlacc is that the creature is mildly telepathic and actually gains knowledge and sentience from victims as it consumes them, sometimes over thousands of years, depending on the species of the meal. Some data Senior Anthropologist Hoole secured from the bounty hunter Boba Fett have confirmed this.

Fett's helmet recorder was running, apparently, during a period in which he was trapped inside the creature. When I sat down to study the tape, I was horrified. Not only was it clear to me that the Sarlacc was sentient, but it enjoyed torturing those it was digesting. Fett's actions and responses plainly indicated that the creature manipulated the thoughts of its victims, and even kept their intelligence stored in its memories so it could savor their pain at another time.

The recordings also showed a more anemonelike physical structure than most scientists have believed, and the secretion of some digestive enzyme that might be the cause of their hallucinogenic power over their victims. This theory was supported by the fact that Fett could plainly be seen reacting to stimuli that were not there.

The New Essential Guide to Alien Species

  • 1
    Huh. I just assumed this was hyperbole.
    – Deacon
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 16:17

In the movie, it's obvious hyperbole.

The nonsensical explanation about the Sarlacc literally keeping victims alive for 1000 years is just typical EU fanwank and it boggles the mind that anyone could actually take it seriously. This has always been a problem with the Star Wars fandom and EU. Every throwaway line in the movies, even if it's obvious hyperbole, has to be taken exactly literally and explained away somehow, even if the resulting explanation is ludicrously convoluted and makes no sense.

It's like Han Solo and the parsecs. Instead of the simple explanation that Han Solo was just spouting cool-sounding nonsense to make himself look good (and George Lucas probably didn't know what a parsec was), no, there has to be a convoluted EU fansplaination for how it must actually be completely accurate and Han Solo was telling the exact literal truth.

  • Do you have actual counter-evidence against the explanation you're dismissing here? If so you should cite that evidence in your answer, rather than insisting it's nonsense, with nothing to back that insistence up. Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 19:23
  • Looks like this is the wrong place to detail Z-canon explanations for Tony Danza? youtu.be/-oF2sXOQvfI Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 19:28
  • 2
    While everything you say is true, unfortunately it doesn't answer the question in the sense it was asked. Even though it probably was true once, now it is (sadly) an accepted part of canon.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 19:41
  • Which canon?
    – chepner
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 20:33

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