Squigs (short for "Squiggly Beasts") are the simplest known form of Orkoid life. There are many types of Squig, each generally filling some functional or utilitarian role in the Ork ecosystem. They currently serve as the Orks' primary food source, much like herd animals are for humans. There are many types of Squigs, but each can be generalized into a single variety, such as edible, musical, hair, medical, parasite-hunting, face-eaters, pet, buzzing and paint Squigs. Some, like the face-eater types, are little more than snapping, fanged mouths on legs. Squigs naturally grow and breed within the cesspits of Ork settlements, subsisting on Ork refuse. Tending the Squigs is the duty of the low-caste Orkoids known as Snotlings.
All Squigs are edible, but some Squigs are specifically bred as a food source. Gretchin are responsible for cooking the Squigs, though Orks will eat raw Squig if a cook cannot be found. The rarest form of these are referred to as Juicy Squigs and require a special type of Gretchin cook. Orks reserve the eating of Face-Eating Squigs for special contests and other celebratory occasions.
The savants of the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos once held that Squigs were bred by the lost Ork caste the Greenskins refer to as the Brain Boyz, who were actually most likely the Old Ones, the ancient reptilian intelligent species that dominated the Milky Way Galaxy millions of years ago and may have created the Orks' ancestors, the Krorks, to serve as a "biological weapon" to defeat their enemies the C'tan. However, Squigs were originally introduced as a Tyranid unit said to have been derived by the Tyranids from Ork DNA. It is now a generally accepted fact that the Squigs were the result of the Tyranids' manipulation of Orkoid genetic material. The Orks discovered the first Squigs aboard a Tyranid bio-ship and subconsciously recognised them as being "Orky", subsequently taking the little creatures home with them. Squigs then spread throughout Ork space. This reality explains how Squigs have appeared in both the Ork and Tyranid armies. Since then, Tyranid Squigs have been recognised as the Tyranid sub-species that are now known to the Imperium as Rippers. Regardless of their origins, Squigs are a truly vital part of Ork culture.
All Squigs are edible, but some Squigs are specifically bred as a food source by the Orks. Gretchin are responsible for cooking the Squigs, though Orks will eat raw Squig if a cook cannot be found. The rarest form of these Squigs are referred to as Juicy Squigs and require a special Gretchin cook to be prepared properly. Orks reserve the eating of Face-Eater Squigs for special contests.
Squigs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and all are extensively used by the Orks. The following represents an extensive list of all the known Squig variants; it is likely that there are many more that remain currently unknown to the Imperium. The known Squig variants include:
- Attack (Cave) Squigs - Attack Squigs are one of the most common types of Squig. An Attack Squig is a bouncing ball of claws and razor-sharp teeth, with immense variations in morphology between individuals, with some having horns and a devil-like tail, while others are single-eyed or single-nosed creatures. Gretchin use them as both a food source (if the Squig doesn't eat them first!) or as a weapon of war, pushing herds of them into the enemy. Orks like to keep them as pets, and sometimes even as weapons as well.
- Bag Squigs - This type of Squig has a large, gaping mouth and a bag-like body that is almost entirely composed of stomach. The stomach functions secondarily as a pouch that allows the Squig to survive by slowly digesting food it stores up inside its body. If the Squig is dried out, it can be made into a flask for drinks. If it is tanned like leather, it makes a useful bag or belt pouch.
- Bomb Squigs - Bomb Squigs are little more than common Squigs with explosives strapped to their sides or gripped firmly in their teeth. When properly goaded, they run headlong at their master's desired target, detonating their explosive payload when in close proximity. Bomb Squigs are used by Ork Tankbustas. A Bomb Squig is an ordinary Attack Squig covered in dynamite, Stikkbombz and other explosives. A Bomb Squig will charge towards an enemy vehicle and explode in a ball of fire and debris.
- Burna' Squig - The Burna' Squig can burst into flames after being thrown.
- Buzzer Squig - Buzzer Squigs are an insect-like like variation of the Squig typically used by Orks in a Squig Katapult, as they are very vicious and a swarm can strip the flesh off a man-sized creature within seconds. Buzzer Squigs are found among Ork fungus groves and are trapped in pots by Gretchin. The special pots are made from sun-baked mud, drilled with tiny holes to allow the Squigs inside to breath. The top of the vessel is corked shut and sealed with more mud once a good number of Squigs has been put inside. Normally the Squigs feed by burrowing into other larger Squigs or small animals such as rats, so when they are captured they soon begin to get very hungry. They can be kept without food in the pot for many weeks, getting angrier and more savage all the time. Gretchin can tell which pots contain the angriest Squigs from the high pitch of the droning and the vibrations of the pot as the Squigs try to burrow out (the walls of the pot must be made thick and hard). These pots, each containing a small swarm of enraged Buzzer Squigs, are the missiles fired by the Squig Katapult. The pot cracks open on impact, releasing the swarm of enraged Buzzer Squigs, who attack anyone nearby.
- Buzzing Squig - The Buzzing Squig has tiny, propeller-like wings on its tail -- miniature airscrews that allow it to fly like a buzzing insect. When it contacts flesh (which it can smell), it bores in and eats its way straight through the unfortunate target. Upon emerging from the victim, it immediately dives back and bores through again, or sets upon another victim. Orks have learned to use these deadly nuisances as weapons. Gretchin are set to work trapping them for dispersal as swarms around the battlefield. Buzzing Squigs may also be kept in pots and thrown from makeshift catapult like the Squig Katapult. When the pot containing the Buzzing Squigs cracks, it releases a swirling swarm of these flesh-eating monsters.
- Chewin' Squig - The Chewin' Squig is another variant of the Gob Squig. An Ork can pop this sort of Squig into his mouth and chew on it while he sits and thinks (or sits and enjoys not thinking).
- Colossal Squig - Colossal Squigs are the largest variants of Squigs known to exist. These cyclopean monsters boast an insatiable appetite, and are in essence no more than an impossibly vast fleshy maw studded with row upon row of scimitar-bladed teeth.
- Eating Squig - An Eating Squig is a limbless blob used as the primary Ork food source. It resembles an elongated, squarish slug with two eyes and a small pug mouth between its two eyes.
- Face-Eater Squigs (Gnasher Squig) - The Face-Eater Squig is a toothed variety of Squig used both as a weapon and in the infamous Ork face-eating contests. These Squigs, which are also known as "Gnashers," or "Gnasher Squigs," are a vicious mass of sharp teeth and claws. In their active state they appear to be just a gnashing mouth and very little else, though they look much like any other Eatin' Squig when they are at rest. Because of their violent nature, Gnashers provide the Orks with endless entertainment, and Squig-eating is one of the Orks' favourite pastimes. The Ork and the Squig both open their mouths and bite, in a parody of a kiss. If the Ork eats the Squig, he wins. If he keels over backwards, he loses and usually the Squig eats him!
- Flesheater Squig - In order to increase their wealth, some Orks breed large, ferocious beasts known as Flesheaters. The Flesheater has a great, gaping mouth like a crocodile, full of rows of sharp fangs that are similar to an Ork's canine teeth. Flesheaters continually shed and replace their teeth, and all the Orks have to do to colelct this wealth is send a Gretchin to collect the teeth, who, of course, aren't overly keen on this duty. Like Ork teeth, Flesheater teeth also deteriorate after a few years. Flesheaters are extremely long-lived, but rarely breed in captivity, making them even more valuable. Most Orks who own Flesheaters are either already Nobz, or become Nobz on account of the wealth derived from owning these Squigs. Not surprisingly, impoverished Orks sometimes attempt to steal a Flesheater, or even raid rival settlements to capture them.
- Gas Squig - The Gas Squig produces a toxic gas so Orks with gas masks throw this Squig in combat, using the Squig itself as a chemical weapon.
- Gob Squig - Gob Squigs are small enough to be put into an Ork's mouth and left there for the rest of the day (or the next few days, if the Ork forgets about it). The Squig cleans the Ork's mouth out by rooting round the teeth and eating the juicy bits of food that are stuck between them.
- Hair Squigs - Hair Squigs are a parisitic variety of Squig which possess small bodies, no legs, no eyes, and a pair of pincers in place of a mouth. They have long hair running from their tiny bodies that Orks like to customise and dye after clamping the Squig's pincers onto their own hairless heads, though this customisation has no effect on the Squig's health.
- Hairy Squigs - The Painboyz have discovered medicinal uses for some Squigs, in particular the Hairy Squig. The Painboy simply applies it to the open wound, which it holds closed with its tiny, needle-like teeth. The Painboy then twists its tail off, leaving the head imbedded in the flesh, repeating the process until the wound is "riveted up." The Hairy Squig then feeds off blood oozing from the wound, thus keeping it clean and free from infection. By the time it shrivels and drops off, the wound has usually healed.
- Herd Squig - Herd Squigs have been specially bred and developed by Runtherds for the purpose of herding and controlling the herds of Runtz. They are related to the many varieties of pet Squigs, but have been selectively bred for their speed, intelligence, ferocity and endurance. Their long, sensitive snouts and keen ears enable them to track down errant Snotlings and Gretchin wherever they might hide. Herd Squigs are excellent tracking beasts, and can follow trails which are days old.
- Horned Squig - The Horned Squig is a Squig which is gifted with long, sharp horns stretching from its head that Orks often jam into barricades to serve as living obstacles.
- Juicy Squig - The Juicy Squig is a very rare and delicious type of Eating Squig that may perhaps be the only known Ork delicacy. This Squig lives at the very bottom of an Ork fungal drop, and are not only rare, but difficult to find and bring up from the depths. Since these Squigs are seldom caught by the Gretchin and Snotlings, they often grow quite large and become even tastier as they get older.
- Mimic - A particularly popular type of pet Squig is known as the Mimic. This Squig has a beak-like mouth and is vaguely parrot-like in appearance. Mimics can be seen perched on the shoulders of many an old and haggard Ork, casting expletives and insults at Greenskin passersby.
- Oily Squig - The Oily Squig is a variety of Squig bred by Ork Meks to create fuel for the Orks' ramshackle vehicles. They create the fuel, an organically-synthesized version of Promethium, in their rotund bellies, and it can be squeezed out of their anteater-like trunks. These Squigs have no mouths, other than their trunk, and are not combat-oriented like their far more aggressive counterparts. There exist two varieties of Oily Squigs, one with arms and a distinct head, and one that resembles an Attack Squig with a trunk for dispensing their fuel oil.
- Orkeosaurus - The Orkeosaurus is the largest breed of Squiggoth that is used by the Orks. The Orkeosaurus is larger than all other Squiggoths, including the Gargantuan Squiggoth. The Orkeosaurus is usually found amongst Feral Ork tribes and is rarely, if ever, seen in use by the more technologically advanced Ork klanz.
- Paint Squig - This small, vividly coloured Squig excretes powerful dyes that are used as warpaint. These paints are also used by Gretchin artists as pigments for wall paintings and decorative banners. Many Paint Squigs have tufts of hair on their trails, which allows the artist to use the Squig as both a brush and tube of paint simultaneously. The shells of Edible Squigs are also used by Gretchin artists as paint pots and palettes.
- Parasite-Hunting Squig - Parasite-Hunting Squigs are tiny but voracious feeders used to clear an Orks' body and clothes of parasites. An Ork simply drops a handful of these Squigs into his clothing and lets them crawl around. The Squigs prey on lice, ticks or leeches the Ork may have acquired in the course of his many unsavoury habits. When the engorged Parasite-Hunting squigs drop out of the Ork's clothing, the Ork simply gathers them up and pops them into his mouth for a juicy chomp.
- Spiky Squig - This type of Squig is covered with spines which it can shoot out at any threatening creature rather like a porcupine. These spines inflict a poisonous sting on anyone struck by them. Squigs of this kind are used in some bionik arms fitted with cages and a quick release system, so they can be used as a close combat weapon.
- 'Sploding Squig - An unusual subspecies of Squig, 'Sploding Squigs possess multiple stomachs, each containing a thick broth of unstable digestive chemicals. When agitated, usually though violent shaking, the 'Sploding Squig's digestive juices combine into a combustible liquid, causing the Squig to explode in a shower of meat, teeth, and bone fragments. While typically thrown in combat, 'Sploding Squigs are also often buried and used as mines. Orks are known to force-feed 'Sploding Squigs a meal of scrap metal before battle in an effort to enhance their lethality.
- Squigeon - Squigeons are the Squig counterparts of the Terran pigeon, often utilised for sending messages during battle amongst Ork tribes that lack more advanced methods of communication.
- Squighawk - Squighawks are a wild, flying species of Squig that are large enough to eat Orks. They are often too difficult to be trained and are rarely used by Ork Runtherdz.
- Squighounds ("Growler Squigs") - Squighounds, commonly known as "Growlers," are a variation of the Attack Squig, used by Ork Slaverz to help them keep the Gretchins and slaves from other races in line, some have four legs, although two-legged varieties certainly exist. "Growlers" are also often kept as a form of pet by other Orks, as they are roughly the size of a small dog, hairy, and particularly vicious. A Pet Squig often scurries about behind its master, barely under his control, giving its owner no end of amusement -- especially when the Squig snaps at the ankles of another Ork.
- Squigpipe - This special type of Squig is used by the Orks as a musical instrument. Several tube-like proboscises emanate from this Squig's bag-like body. The Musical Squig can be tucked under one arm and inflated by blowing down the proboscis. Then, by squeezing the Squig, weird and terrifying sound scan be made through the creature's proboscis pipes. This turns the Squig into a musical instrument, much like the bagpipes, but a thousand times more cacophonous. Orks like to go into battle accompanied by the squirl of this Squig.
- Squigshark - Squigsharks are the Squig counterparts of Terran sharks that inhabit Ork-infested worlds.
- Squiggoths - Squiggoths are the largest type of Squig, huge quadruped monsters used by the Orks as beats of burden and sometimes as living weapons. Since they're so large and tough, some Orks like to lash armour plating and gunz onto the larger Squiggoths, which can rival tanks and buildings in size.
- Swab Squig - The Swab Squig is a type of Hair Squig, but unlike the long trailing hair of its cousins, its round body is covered with short, fluffy fur. Orks use Swab Squigs to mop up during operations, and they come in handy for emergency handkerchiefs too.
- Syringe Squig - Syringe Squigs are primarily used for medicinal purposes. This medical Squig has natural properties which Painboyz find used in their craft of patching together battle-damaged Orks. Syringe Squigs have a long needle-sharp proboscis with which they inject venom into their prey. Syringe Squigs exude a soporific venom which makes a fine anaesthetic for Orks.
- Vampire Squig - The Vampire Squig is a blood-sucking creature with long sharp fangs, used by Painboyz to bleed the patient and suck bad blood and pus from septic wounds. The Squig does not seem to mind what the blood is like or from what species it comes so long as it gets a regular and plentiful supply. When times are hard (which for Orks is when there's not much fighting) the Painboyz are forced to find other ways to keep their pets alive, which they do by extolling the benefits of regular bleedings to otherwise healthy Orks.
- Wyrdsquig - A Wyrdsquig is a little known psychic Squig subspecies, that has close genetic links to the Gnasher Squig. This subspecies is rarely encountered in the wild and possesses psychic abilities similar to those of Ork Weirdboyz. The Wyrdsquig is often employed in battle as a "psychic bomb," releasing a catastrophic telepathic shockwave at the moment of its death.
- Codex: Orks (4th Edition), pp. 7, 42
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pg. 101
- 'Ere We Go: Orks in Warhammer 40,000 (1st Edition), pp. 5, 8, 28, 69, 91, 93, 99, 108, 188
- Freebooterz: Space Ork Army Lists, pp. 5, 8
- Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel Novem, pg. 75
- Ork Collector's Guide, pp. 4, 42
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pg. 143
- The Art of Warhammer 40,000, pg. 189
- Waaargh: Orks, pg. 5-6, 21, 28, 30, 31, 34-35, 59, 69, 84-85
- Warhammer 40,000 Collectible Card Game (CCG)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 203
- Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (Collector's Edition Artbook)
- Warhammer 40,000: Munitorum - Bomb Squigs (Digital Edition)
- White Dwarf 145 (UK)
- Xenology (Sourcebook), pp. 86-87
- Forgeworld: Warhammer Forge: Colossal Squig
- Forgeworld: Ork Squiggoth
- Forgeworld: Ork Gargantuan Squiggoth
- Games Workshop Online Catalogue: Ork Warboss with Attack Squig
- Games Workshop Online Catalogue: Oiler Grot
- Deff Skwadron (Graphic Novel) by Gordon Rennie and Paul Jeacock