These bark-skinned, squid-like creatures are not true squids. They breath air and recoil from the touch of water. While they can swim through the earth above a walking pace, predators near the surface make it dangerous for them to spend too much time there. Instead, they spend most of their time sleeping or dormant in strong stone tunnels they can create by swimming while activating a magical earth compressing aura. They shape these tunnels down deep, at the edge of the water table, preferring areas near rivers where the water table is stable across seasons.
Earth squid tunnels are round, usually matching the size of the squid pretty tightly, with the exception of strong, domed caverns where they hibernate, lay eggs, or cache food. Earth squids embark on an independent life, founding their own tunnels, when they are about 1 foot in diameter. Their tunnels grow with them until they reach maximum size around 10 feet in diameter, a growth cycle of up to a century.
When found in their tunnels, earth squids are highly aggressive, fighting to the death as they fear they have nowhere safe go. When encountered out on the hunt, they will flee if they feel at all in danger. They hunt by extending their barky tentacles up into shallow earth and even out, disguised as roots and branches. When they feel a target brush against their tentacle, they can strike instantaneously to grab the prey, which they attempt to drag underground where it will suffocate on the way to the squid’s stone home, if it returns right away.