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Health points

20 (Heart.svg × 10)

Attack strength
Easy: 1 (Half Heart.svg)
Normal: 1 (Half Heart.svg)
Hard: 2 (Heart.svg)
Easy: 2 (Heart.svg)
Normal: 2 (Heart.svg)
Hard: 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Overworld: Light level of 7 or less.
Nether: Nether Fortresses in light level 7 or less.

First appearance

Classic 0.24_02

Common drops
Natural equipment


Network ID


Savegame ID


Skeletons are ranged hostile mobs that shoot arrows at The Player.


Skeletons have gray bone bodies and the same basic heads as most other hostile mobs. They always carry bows in their right hand, which can rarely be dropped upon their death; in those cases, the bow also has a chance of being enchanted. Skeletons can also spawn with the ability to pick up armor, and in those cases, they can spawn already wearing armor, which has a chance of being dropped.

On Halloween (based on your computer's date reading October 31st), skeletons, zombies, and Zombie Pigmen can be seen with either pumpkin or Jack 'o' Lantern heads.


Skeletons are the most readily available source of bones, and thereby bone meal, a useful resource. They can also drop arrows. Each skeleton will drop 0-2 bones and/or 0-2 arrows upon death. Although skeletons' fired arrows can often be seen stuck in blocks, those cannot be picked up by players. Because of its valuable drops, dungeons containing skeleton spawners are sought for mob grinding purposes.

Creepers killed by a skeleton's arrow will drop a music disc (See Tutorials/Music Disc farming).

Skeletons have a 1/40 chance of dropping their bow when killed by the player. There is a 1/5 chance that their bow is enchanted with Power I, with rarer chances of Power II, Power III, Punch I, Flame I, or Infinity I. Although extremely rare, it is also possible for a bow to drop with multiple enchantments. If their bow is enchanted, their arrows will be affected; notably, with a Flame enchantment, they can set the player on fire.

You can use a skeleton to distract enemies ( tricking another skeleton or player to attack it. The skeleton will then turn around and buy you some time by shooting whatever harmed it. ) Killing a skeleton from 50 blocks away is necessary for the achievement "Sniper Duel". (See below.)


Dueling skeletons.

Skeletons spawn in dimly lit areas, and will burn in sunlight. When skeletons are nearby, their presence is indicated by the intermittent soft rattling sound of their bones. Skeletons will chase any player they see within a 16 block radius. They will climb stairs, navigate mazes, and traverse other complex obstacles in order to get within shooting range of the player. When they are within 8 blocks of the player, with a clear line of sight, they will stop chasing and start shooting the player with arrows. If the player moves more than 16 blocks away from the skeleton, it will cease pursuit. Skeletons can attempt to avoid damage from the player by continuously circling around them while shooting at them. The general path finding capabilities of the skeleton is demonstrated in this video.

If a skeleton's arrow hits another hostile mob, that mob will then attack the skeleton the same way it would attack the player (with the exception of zombies and creepers, which usually manage to continue pursuing the player)[citation needed]. For Zombie Pigmen, only the particular pigman attacked will respond, not others in the area. If a skeleton is attacked by another mob (usually another skeleton), it will attack that mob, reorienting on the player only once that mob is dead.

Skeletons can hit Endermen with their arrows, which the player can't do. This usually results in the Enderman becoming hostile towards the skeleton and killing it in a few blows.

Skeletons normally attack with a bow, however some can spawn with the ability to pick up items, and will switch to a melee weapon if they pick one up. If the skeleton already has a sword and finds a better one, they will drop the current sword and use the better one. When killed, the sword will be dropped again, with its durability unchanged. They will also wear any armor items and mob heads they pick up, and wear pumpkins or Jack 'o' Lanterns as headgear. When wielding anything but a bow, they will move much more quickly.[citation needed] If spawned with no weapon at all (presumably by the player using spawn commands or the mapmaker including a trap that spawns) a skeleton acts like a zombie, coming at the player with arms outstretched and damaging the player by touching them without swinging their arms.

Skeletons are also able to climb ladders, but only when forced to, as their AI does not handle ladders in a special way.

Like Zombies, skeleton burning occurs at dawn when the sun is 15 degrees or greater above the ground, unless the skeleton is either in shade, water, or wearing a helmet. If not wearing a helmet, they will attempt to find shade or water to keep from burning.

Skeletons run from wolves similar to creepers from ocelots, as wolves attack and chase skeletons. When skeletons are safe from sunlight, and a wolf attacks one, they will shoot back at the wolf.

Defensive measures[edit]

Skeletons are vulnerable to daylight (water, shade or helmet protects them), lava, fire, falling, suffocation, and contact with cacti. Surface skeleton populations can be controlled if the player regularly sleeps in a bed at dusk, since skeletons will only spawn if a player is awake at night. Players can keep an ear out for the clicking and xylophone-like sounds of nearby skeletons in caves and use corners and tight spaces to their advantage. If there's no choice, run around in circles and it will repeatedly miss you. Do not try this with other mobs nearby.



Icon Achievement In-game description Prerequisites Actual requirements (if different) Version restriction Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
Grid Bow.png
Sniper Duel Kill a skeleton with an arrow from more than 50 meters Monster Hunter Use a launched arrow to kill a skeleton or Wither Skeleton from 50 or more blocks away, horizontally. PC & PS N/A Silver


0.24_02 Skeletons are added. They spawned randomly in new Survival maps and followed players when approached, much like zombies.
0.25 SURVIVAL TEST 2 Skeletons fired arrows with a purple/magenta colored shaft, appeared to fire arrows at a faster and more random rate, and shot 6 arrows outward a short range in all directions when dying. Arrows fired by skeletons at that time could be picked up and used by players.
Skeletons now drop 0 - 2 arrows upon death.
Skeletons took five hits to kill and could appear wearing NPC armor (that gave them no additional protection) and gave 120 points when killed.
1.2.0 Skeletons now hold a bow in their right hand.
1.2 Skeletons can drop 0 - 2 bones in addition to arrows.
1.8 Skeleton's bow is now larger and held more realistically (full-sized bows, two-handed, and pulling the arrow back) than in previous versions (in one hand) and they also fire arrows slightly slower (probably because bows had now needed "charging"). Their arrows however, are shot with more force.
Fixed a bug where skeletons would fire their arrows from above their heads.
Official release
1.2.1 12w04a Skeletons' AI was updated so they are "smarter", i.e. if a skeleton catches fire in daylight, it will rush to the nearest shadow or body of water for safety.
12w06a There is a small chance that skeletons drop a bow when killed. There is also a small chance that the bow will be enchanted.
1.4.2 12w32a Skeletons, zombies and zombie pigmen now pick up dropped items. They also have the ability to wear armor and wield a weapon, so if they pick up armor, they will wear it. If they pick up a weapon, they wield it. But there is a bug that skeletons will fire arrows even if they are wielding a sword.
Skeletons, zombies, and zombie pigmen can spawn wearing any type of armor (including chain); both armor and weapons may be enchanted.
12w36a Skeletons can be found in Nether Fortresses along with Wither Skeletons, the Nether equivalent of skeletons.
On Halloween (31st October), skeletons, wither skeletons, zombies and zombie pigmen now have a chance of spawning with a pumpkin or Jack 'o' Lantern.
1.4.4 1.4.3-pre Skeletons now rush to the Player instead of shooting arrows if they don't have a bow.
1.5 13w02a Skeletons shoot from a range of 15 blocks instead of 10.
13w03a Skeletons begin to fire rapidly at players who come within close range in an attempt to knock them back. This makes melee combat in water or streams hard, if not impossible.
1.8 14w10a Now run away from wolves instead of fighting back.
14w11a Now run away from creepers that are about to explode.
14w30a Drops skull when killed by a charged creeper.
1.8.1 1.8.1-pre1 No longer runs away from creepers that are about to explode.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.3.3 Added skeletons.
0.5.0 Skeletons have new animations.
Console Edition
TU1 Added skeletons.
TU5 Skeleton's bow is now larger and held more realistically (full-sized bows, two-handed, and pulling the arrow back) than in previous versions (in one hand) and they also fire arrows slightly slower (probably because bows had now needed "charging"). Their arrows however, are shot with more force.
TU12 Skeletons' AI was updated so they are "smarter", i.e. if a skeleton catches fire in daylight, it will rush to the nearest shadow or body of water for safety.
There is a small chance that skeletons drop a bow when killed. There is also a small chance that the bow will be enchanted(power I).


  • It is possible for a skeleton to spawn, shoot (and damage) you, then despawn on peaceful difficulty.
  • Even when not enchanted, skeletons' bows are treated as though they have infinite arrows.
  • Sometimes, the skeleton's texture may resemble that of stone's.
  • If alerted to a player's presence, skeletons can fire arrows backwards, occasionally hitting themselves.
  • Spiders rarely spawn with a Skeleton riding them, creating a Spider Jockey.
  • Skeletons cannot see the player through glass, fences, or other transparent blocks.
  • Skeletons, Zombie Pigmen and Chickens (since the introduction of Pigmen Chicken Jockeys) are the only mobs that can naturally occur in both the Overworld and the Nether.
  • Sometimes, if a skeleton is chasing the player, and the player leaves the game and quickly returns, the skeleton will be invisible for a short amount of time. The skeleton will still fire arrows, and be acknowledged by other mobs with glances, but its arrows will not cause damage for the time it is invisible, and will bounce off the player.
  • 25% of dungeons are skeleton dungeons.
  • There is a bug that skeletons not holding a bow will not retaliate when any mob attacks them.
  • In Pocket Edition, if skeletons walk over glass panes, they can shoot arrows through them.
  • If a skeleton obtains a sword of any kind, it will run at the same speed as a player walks towards a target.
  • In Pocket Edition, the skeleton's left arm is pointing towards the bow, as if holding it with two hands.
  • Skeletons are actually much faster than zombies, when holding a sword, they sprint at you as fast as a Wither Skeleton or Zombie Pigman, but they go as fast as zombies when holding the bow. This is because they share the same Mob ID as a Wither Skeleton.
  • Skeletons are one of three mobs that carry a weapon by default, the other two being the Wither Skeleton and the Zombie Pigman.
  • In Pocket Edition, Skeletons have less accuracy.
  • If a skeleton is stacked on top of a boat in water (such as with the /summon command), the boat can be controlled by the skeleton.
  • If a skeleton is spawned on a slab (by using a spawn egg or the summon command), it will be unaffected by sunlight until leaving said slab.


See also[edit]