Shaaks were plump quadrupedal herd animals native to the grasslands of Naboo. Shaaks were often raised for their meat, and had large, rotund bodies. They had relatively weak legs, however, and were barely able to keep themselves upright.
The herbivorous shaak was a wandering animal, and was found in multiple regions of the planet. However, they tended to seek out dry areas, and avoided Naboo's numerous swamps since they were commonly not fond of damp surroundings. Shaaks were, however, naturally buoyant due to their fatty bodies, though their four short legs were of little use in the water. Their inability to escape from water meant that shaaks sometimes found themselves carried over waterfalls, though their fatty bodies ensured such falls did no serious damage.
Female shaaks had multiple wombs, allowing for a remarkable reproduction rate. In fact, females were continually pregnant, and their compartmentalized uterine system allowed them to be impregnated by several different males at the same time.
Their intestines were also very sensitive to blockages caused by chemicals, to such an extent that they would eventually explode overtime if they were fed any food laced with these chemicals.
Shaaks were one of the few species that, if infected with the Blue Shadow Virus, would die instantly.
A similar species could be found on the planet Alzoc III, with longer fur to suit the frigid climate. To intimidate the local food commissioner, crime lord Tyber Zann killed several prize shaaks so that he would control most of Alzoc III's food market.
Though prized for their meat by Naboo and Gungans alike, shaaks were seldom used as pack animals due to the fact that their abnormally large rumps made harnessing difficult, and rarely used as mounts due to their inherent instability, though some herders, such as the Gungan Peppi Bow, rode them with ease. They were also prized for their fluff.
During the Separatist Crisis in 22 BBY, Anakin Skywalker, who during that time had been acting as a bodyguard for Padmé Amidala after two near-assassinations against her, attempted to ride one of the Shaaks, although he briefly fell off, causing Padme some concern until it was revealed that he deliberately fell off as a joke.
During the Clone Wars, Peppi Bow's herd fell victim to a leak of the waterborne Blue Shadow Virus from Nuvo Vindi's laboratory. She lost six of her shaaks to the plague and almost fell victim herself.
In 1 ABY territorial disputes between shaak wranglers led some wrangling families to hire gangsters that added banned chemicals to the feed of rival shaak herds. The intestinal blockages created by these chemicals eventually caused the shaaks to explode. The Royal Advisory Council had to hire independent agents to eliminate the gangsters.
Behind the scenes
They are seen briefly in one shot of The Phantom Menace as computer generated creations.
The shaak was the butt of many jokes among ILM digital artists during production of Attack of the Clones. The blooper reel on the DVD release includes a shot where a large, digital shaak takes the place of a core ship brought down by SPHA-T walkers. In an easter egg on the Attack of the Clones DVD, Yoda fires lightning from his palm and destroys a shaak. Shaaks also appear as "easter eggs" in several places in the film itself: floating in the Geonosis asteroid field and among flaming wreckage at the Battle of Geonosis.
- Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully (Non-canonical appearance)
- Darth Plagueis (Mentioned only)
- Darth Plagueis audiobook (Mentioned only)
- The Monster"—Star Wars Gamer 2 "
- The Starfighter Trap"—Star Wars Gamer 1 (Mentioned only) "
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (First appearance)
- Star Wars Episode I: The Gungan Frontier
- Star Wars Adventures 6: The Warlords of Balmorra
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones comic
- (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns
- The Clone Wars: The Valley
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Blue Shadow Virus"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (Mentioned only)
- "Roll of the Dice"—Star Wars Insider 135 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode I toy line
- Star Wars: Episode I Insider's Guide
- The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide
- Secrets of Naboo
- "Dream Weavers"—Star Wars Insider 64
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 131 (FOO8, Galactic Food and Drink)
- Star Wars Chronicles: The Prequels
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption Expansion: Prima Official Game Guide
- The New Essential Guide to Alien Species
- The Art of Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Far Horizons