The Shrieker is a fictional species in the Tremors series of films. It appeared in Tremors 2: Aftershocks, Tremors 3: Back to Perfection and several episodes of Tremors: The Series. It is the second life cycle stage of the creatures featured in the series; the Graboid being the first and the Ass Blaster being the next and final. The Shrieker can be seen as a kind of pupa without the immobility, or a nymph even though a nymph would be the young beginning stages for animals (insects) with incomplete metamorphosis, the Shrieker being the middle "teen" stage. And the Graboid species clearly shows a complete metamorphosis.
The name "shrieker" was given to the creature by the special effects crew of Tremors 2 and later introduced to the audience in Tremors 3.
Shriekers are asexual, and as such only have one role, make more Shriekers, once they eat enough food they reproduce. When they reproduce the fetus that is attached to the lining of their stomach\uterus detaches from the lining of this organ. They then open their mouths to the greatest extent and with a good deal of screeching deposit a fetus on the ground the baby immediately begins to stand up also it was observed that it already seem to begin to grow. Kate Reilly theorizes that they must be able to repeat this feat, one becomes two, two becomes four. This is proven in later additions and in the same movie in fact it has an unknown number of fetuses lining its stomach/Uterus. The process of giving birth can lead to stress however which will eventually lead to death.
Unlike their previous incarnations, the huge, subterranean and limbless Graboids, Shriekers live on the surface. Much smaller than Graboids, Shriekers are about 4 feet long and 3 feet tall with their jaws pieces about one and a half feet long. While Graboids are worm-like in shape, Shriekers slightly resemble dinosaurs or heavy ground-dwelling birds, having stout, three-toed legs and a compact body. They also have a short, stump-like tail. This tail, as well as some small bulges in the neck, has some orange coloring on it. While its function is unknown it could possible be the early stage of the Ass Blaster tail and could have the chemicals already present in small quantities; or it could even be used in signaling other Shriekers. The one thing that shows Shriekers are related to Graboids is their skull - just like a Graboid's, it consists of a powerful, beak-like armored upper jaw and a much narrower lower jaw and the mandibles have sharp hooks and serration’s, ideal to hold prey. Inside the "beak" is a slightly prehensile tongue that they use to pick up smaller pieces of food or other edible material, they do this by dragging their tongue over the ground. Sometime during their twelve hour molting it is believed that they lose the ability to duplicate and instead their bodies convert over to being able to lay eggs. After surviving for 24 the shriekers will molt into an Ass Blaster.
Hunting and intelligenceEditUnlike the usually solitary Graboids, Shriekers are pack hunters, using their numbers to bring down large prey. In Tremors 2: Aftershocks, the Graboids spawned three Shriekers per worm. For some reason this changes in Tremors 3, in which Burt explains that one Graboid can spawn six from itself, it was claimed that these were highly evolved ones the spawned more due to a efficient metabolism. Even later in the series it is said that a single Graboid can spawn 12 Shriekers (the number of Shriekers spawned may be related to the food a Graboid has successfully consumed). In the second film it was
stated that they only spawn three, but the number seems to be between three and six for each Graboid as in Night of the Shriekers, the Graboid found by the government in the desert only spawned four. By eating sufficient food of any kind they have the ability to multiply. The creatures are hermaphrodites, being able to double in number every few minutes. In Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, the six Shriekers were able to spawn an entire herd in under 12 hours. Sensing heat, they let out loud screams (earning their name). While the sound is useless to each other as they are deaf they produce a lot of heat when screaming, alerting each other to the presence of prey. Another thing unexplained in the films is the Shriekers' ability to "see" heat before raising the frill covering their heat sensor; they always seem to know when to raise it. It is explained on the Stampede Entertainment FAQ that they can see some heat through the frills. Raising them merely enables them to make full use of the obviously delicate sensory organ, similar to opening one's eyes widely. In an episode of Tremors: The Series: Night of the Shriekers, Shriekers were being trained by a government agency to use their heat-seeking organs to locate people in disaster areas.
When first introduced, they appeared to be so intelligent they would know to wreck cars and destroy radio towers to isolate and slow down their prey. This was later proven to be false as they attacked these objects because they gave off heat, making the creatures think that they were attacking prey.They have been observed attempting to eat warm car engines, electronic cables, and steamed clothes. While this was not seen in Tremors 3, Ass Blaster's have been known to respond similarly.
While hunting, Shriekers show some good feats of insight and cooperation, using each other to form natural ladders to reach prey hiding on high ground such as rooftops. The Shrieker feeding instinct is all about getting as much food as they can as quickly as they can. As a result, they often leave their prey's bones intact (but little else) due to the amount of time & effort required to crunch them open for the marrow.
It has been theorized that the colorful patches on Shriekers are areas where more blood is near the skin surface. This is to emit more heat than the rest of the body, and that might communicate something to another Shrieker like, “Stay away from my food,” or “Look out, I’m about to throw up a new baby.”
Shrieker Birthing RateEdit
Graboids can produce anywhere from 3-12 Shriekers depending on certain factors physically for the Graboids and environmentally. Shriekers have to eat through the Graboid to get out. But Shriekers multiply when they eat. So there is there a chance that there is only 3 Shriekers in a Graboid to start with. Depending on how much each one eats while escaping however determines whether there are more Shriekers after the primaries escape. So there only may be 3 in the beginning but when they come out there may be up to 6. Another theory is that they only eat a little each making a small opening to get out thus being only 3 in some cases.
Reproduction and safety tipsEdit
After an indeterminate time spent living underground, a Graboid surfaces and undergoes a gory metamorphosis: It divides into three to six Shriekers — fast-moving, lion-sized bipeds.
Though Shriekers, like Graboids, are technically blind, they can track their prey by sensing infrared radiation. They are especially sensitive to temperatures between 97 and 107 degrees F. — the normal range for mammalian body heat. Shriekers also feed on cold objects, which they find by dragging their tongue over the ground or because they detect a lack of heat. They have been observed eating military rations, and could possibly also feed on plants, which would make them omnivores.These extremely dangerous creatures reproduce hermaphroditically — in effect, each Shrieker is "born" pregnant. Shriekers' ability to reproduce is limited only by their access to food. Once a Shrieker has eaten enough food, it disgorges a new, ravenously hungry Shrieker that starts out 1/4 of the size of the adult but rapidly grows. Consequently, it is crucial that Shriekers be prevented from getting to plentiful food.
Shriekers' prolific reproductive skills make them so dangerous that the U.S. government has decreed they are not a protected species, and should be killed on sight.
If you encounter a Shrieker in the wild, do anything possible to mask your body heat. Thermally insulated blankets are effective camouflage against a Shrieker's infrared senses, but be certain to cover yourself entirely. Your exhaled breath can be a fatal giveaway if the ambient temperature differs from your body's internal temperature
- Chipas, Mexico Graboid Incursion of 1996
- El Chaco, Argentina Graboid Incursion of 2001
- Perfection Graboid Incursion of 2001
- Juniper, Arizona Graboid Incursion of 2003.
- S.S. Wilson has named the Shriekers the single greatest threat in the Graboid life-cycle due to their reproductive abilities.
- While it is unknown who named the Shriekers it is likely (given the franchises tradition) that Grady Hoover named them.