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Skeleton Aiming.png
Health points

20♥ × 10



Attack strength

1♥ – 5♥♥♥
Easy: 2♥
Normal: 2♥
Hard: 3♥♥


Height: 1.99 Blocks
Width: 0.6 Blocks


Overworld: Light level of 7 or less.
Nether: Nether fortresses and Soul Sand Valleys in light level 7 or less.

Natural equipment
Internal ID

JE: 51
BE: 34

Namespaced ID


Skeletons are common undead hostile mobs equipped with bows.


Skeletons can spawn in the overworld at a light level of 7 or less, in groups of 1-4. 80% of skeletons spawned directly under the sky spawn as strays in Snowy Tundra, Snowy Mountains, Ice Spikes, Frozen River, Frozen Ocean, and Deep Frozen Ocean biomes.

Spiders have a 1% chance to spawn with a skeleton riding them, creating a spider jockey.

Skeleton horsemen spawn when a skeleton trap is triggered. The skeletons ride on skeleton horses and are equipped with enchanted bows and iron helmets, and have damage immunity for 3 seconds after spawning.

Bedrock Edition

Skeletons spawn in groups of 1-2.

Only skeletons and strays spawn naturally in those frozen biomes.

Skeleton horsemen do not have damage immunity. Skeletons, in general, are immune from lightning bolts.


Skeletons spawn from 25% of the spawners found in dungeons.

The Nether[edit]

Skeletons can even spawn in The Nether. Some of them may spawn in fortresses, replacing 20% of wither skeletons.

In the Soul Sand Valley biome, they spawn in groups of 1-4‌[Java Edition only] or 1-2‌[Bedrock Edition only], at a light level of 7 or less.


Skeletons drop:

  • 0–2 bones. The maximum drop is increased by 1 per level of Looting, for a maximum of 0-5 bones with Looting III.
  • 0–2 arrows. The maximum drop is increased by 1 per level of Looting, for a maximum of 0-5 arrows with Looting III.
  • Picked-up items have a 100% chance of dropping and drop with the same damage level it had when picked up.
  • Any naturally spawned equipment (including the bow) has an 8.5% chance of dropping if killed by the player (9.5% with Looting I, 10.5% with Looting II, and 11.5% with Looting III). It is damaged and sometimes enchanted.
  • A skeleton drops its skull if killed by a charged creeper's explosion.
  • Skeletons drop 5 when killed by a player or tamed wolf and extra 1–3 if the skeleton has equipment.


Skeleton shooting
Skeleton shooting

Skeletons chase players they see within 16 blocks. They climb stairs, navigate mazes and traverse other complex obstacles to get within shooting range. When within 15 blocks of a target, with a clear line of sight, they start shooting with arrows, one arrow every 2 seconds or 1 on hard difficulty. Strafing in circular patterns to dodge attacks, they retreat to a safe range if the player comes within 4 blocks. They are able to climb ladders, but only if they are forced to.

The detection range of skeletons is reduced to 8 blocks while the player wears a skeleton mob head.‌[JE only]

The skeleton's accuracy is based on the difficulty. Skeletons have an "error" of 10 on easy, 6 on normal and 2 on hard. This is compared to the player's lack of accuracy of 1. To account for gravity, skeletons aim 0.2 blocks higher for every block horizontal they are from.

Dueling skeletons. One skeleton turned red from being shot by the other skeleton.

If their arrows hit most monsters, the mob attacks the skeleton, if it was not hit by a player first. When a skeleton is attacked by other mobs or even another skeleton, it attacks that mob, reorienting on the player once the mob is dead.

Skeletons sink in water and are unable to swim, but do not drown. They can continue shooting underwater, but the water slows down their arrows.

If spawned with no weapon at all (which can be spawned with /summon skeleton ~ ~ ~ {HandItems:[{id:air,Count:1b}]}), a skeleton comes at players with arms outstretched and damages by touching them.

Skeletons holding tipped arrows in their offhand always shoot that type of arrow; these arrows are not consumed.

Bedrock Edition

When its target is closer, a skeleton shoots faster but deals less damage. They make no attempt to avoid being hit. An underwater skeleton uses a melee attack to attack its target whereas unable to use bows.


Skeleton on fire

Skeletons burn at dawn when the sun is 15 degrees or greater above the ground (when the moon can no longer be seen) unless the skeleton is:

If not wearing a helmet, it seeks out shade during the day or enters water to protect itself. Unlike zombies, which leave the shade to chase a player, skeletons do not exit the shaded area even while attacking.

A burning skeleton has a 50% chance of shooting flaming arrows if the regional difficulty is 3 or greater.

Wolves attacking skeleton
Wolves attacking a skeleton.

Other mobs[edit]

Skeletons flee from wolves. A skeleton runs from a chasing wolf until the wolf deals damage, after which the skeleton turns to shoot at the wolf that successfully attacked it.

Skeletons shoot at nearby iron golems and baby turtles.

Snow golems are targeted in Bedrock Edition, as well.

Mob type[edit]

Skeletons are undead mobs, causing them to be damaged by the Instant Health status effect, healed by the Instant Damage status effect, and unaffected by the status effects Regeneration and Poison.

Skeletons are ignored by the wither and are affected by the Smite enchantment.

Geared skeletons[edit]

Skeleton in leather armor.pngSkeleton in golden armor.pngSkeleton in chainmail armor.pngSkeleton in iron armor.pngSkeleton in diamond armor.pngSkeleton in netherite armor.png

Some spawned skeletons have the ability to pick up dropped items from the ground. If a picked up item is armor, a carved pumpkin, a jack o'lantern, or a mob head, a skeleton equips itself with the item. If the picked up item is a weapon or tool, the skeleton uses the item as a melee weapon.

Skeletons spawn already-armed with bows, which may be enchanted. The chances of that event are listed below from code. If a skeleton spawns wearing multiple pieces of armor, the armor is never mismatched (all pieces are made of the same material).

Easy Normal Hard
Armor 0% 0%–15%[note 1] 1.875%–15%[note 1]
Weapon[note 2] 100% 100% 100%
Pick up 0% 0%–55%[note 1] 6.875%–55%[note 1]
Weapon enchantment[note 3] 0% 0%–25%[note 1] 3.125%–25%[note 1]
Armor enchantment[note 3] 0% 0%–50%[note 1] 6.25%–50%[note 1]
  1. a b c d e f g h i Value is based on the regional difficulty.
  2. 100% chance of a bow
  3. a b Enchantment is the same as on an enchantment table at level 5–22.[note 1]

If a skeleton does spawn with armor, the chances of specific armor are as follows:

Armor Easy & Normal Hard
1 piece 100% 100%
2 pieces 75% 90%
3 pieces 56.25% 81%
Full set 42.19% 72.9%

In Java Edition, the armor pieces go from feet to head, and in Bedrock Edition, they go from head to feet.

The chances of it being of a particular material are:

Armor Type Chance
Leather 37.06%
Gold 48.73%
Chain 12.90%
Iron 1.27%
Diamond 0.04%

Skeleton armor is not damaged from most damage sources; it cannot "wear out" the way player armor does. Helmets (not blocks like carved pumpkins) on skeletons can break if the skeleton is exposed to daylight or has an anvil or other falling block dropped on its hitbox.

If a skeleton has a bow and a sword is given, it drops the bow, with the same chance as if killed with Looting I and starts using the sword. If a skeleton has a sword or bow in its hand, and one of a better type or with better enchantments is given, the skeleton drops the existing weapon, with the same chance as if killed with Looting I in favor of the better one. Any skeleton that spawns with equipment (picked-up items do not count) gives 1–3 extra experience points per item.

If multiple viable items exist, the skeleton endlessly picks up and drops the items. This feature has been intentionally programmed into the game.[1]


Skeleton with Carved Pumpkin.png

In Java Edition, during Halloween (October 31), skeletons have a 22.5% chance of spawning wearing a carved pumpkin and a 2.5% chance of spawning wearing a jack o'lantern. If these skeletons are killed using a tool enchanted with Looting, the pumpkin or jack o'lantern can drop with a chance equivalent to the level of Looting (up to 100 percent chance with Looting III).


SoundSubtitleSourceDescriptionNamespaced IDTranslation keyVolumePitchAttenuation distance
Skeleton rattles? ? entity.skeleton.ambientsubtitles.entity.skeleton.ambient? ? 16
Skeleton dies? ? entity.skeleton.deathsubtitles.entity.skeleton.death? ? 16
Skeleton hurts? ? entity.skeleton.hurtsubtitles.entity.skeleton.hurt? ? 16
Skeleton shoots? ? entity.skeleton.shootsubtitles.entity.skeleton.shoot? ? 16
Footsteps? ? entity.skeleton.stepsubtitles.block.generic.footsteps? ? 16

Data values[edit]

Skeletons have entity data associated with them that contain various properties of the mob.


Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Gamerscore earned Trophy type (PS)
Sniper DuelKill a Skeleton with an arrow from more than 50 meters.Use a launched arrow to kill a skeleton, wither skeleton, or a stray from 50 or more blocks away, horizontally.30GBronze


Icon Advancement In-game description Parent Actual requirements (if different) Namespaced ID


Not Today, Thank You
Deflect a projectile with a shieldSuit UpDeflect any projectile with a shield.story/deflect_arrow


Adventure, exploration, and combatKill any entity, or be killed by any entity.adventure/root


Monster Hunter
Kill any hostile monsterAdventureKill one of these 33 mobs. ‌In Java Edition 1.16.2[upcoming], piglin brutes can also be killed for this advancement. Other mobs, if any, may be killed, but are ignored for this advancement.adventure/kill_a_mob


A Throwaway Joke
Throw a trident at something.
Note: Throwing away your only weapon is not a good idea.
Monster HunterHit an entity with a thrown trident.adventure/throw_trident


Take Aim
Shoot something with an arrowMonster HunterUsing a bow or a crossbow, shoot an entity with an arrow, tipped arrow, or spectral arrow.adventure/shoot_arrow


Monsters Hunted
Kill one of every hostile monsterMonster HunterKill each of these 33 mobs. ‌In Java Edition 1.16.2[upcoming], piglin brutes are also required for this advancement. Other mobs, if any, may be killed, but are ignored for this advancement.adventure/kill_all_mobs


Sniper Duel
Kill a Skeleton from at least 50 meters awayTake AimKill a skeleton with a projectile while being at least 50 blocks away horizontally.adventure/sniper_duel


Java Edition Classic
August 14, 2009Notch teased skeletons.
0.24_SURVIVAL_TESTSkeleton Revision 1.png Added skeletons.
Skeletons spawn randomly in new Survival maps and follow players when approached, much like zombies.
0.25 SURVIVAL TESTSkeletons now fire arrows with a purple/magenta colored shaft, appear to fire arrows at a faster and more random rate, and shoot 6 arrows outward a short range in all directions when dying. Arrows fired by skeletons can be picked up and used by players.
Skeletons now take five hits to kill and can appear wearing NPC armor (that gave them no additional protection) and gave 120 points when killed.
Java Edition Indev
0.31?Skeletons no longer wear armor.
The skeleton's attacking animation has been removed.
The purple arrows that skeletons throw have been removed and have been replaced by brown arrows.
Skeletons now drop 0–2 arrows upon death.
February 14, 2010, 1Skeletons now catch on fire when exposed to sunlight.
February 18, 2010The chances of catching on fire in sunlight have been tweaked for skeletons.
Skeletons now burn only when the sunlight level is greater than 7, and not due to torches at night.[is this the correct version?]
February 19, 2010Skeletons now drop arrows.
Java Edition Alpha
v1.2.0Skeleton Revision 2.png Skeletons now hold a bow in their right hand, however they were held as an item just like a player would hold it at this period.
Java Edition Beta
1.2Skeletons can now drop 0-2 bones, in addition to arrows.
1.8Pre-releaseSkeleton Revision 3.png The bows of skeletons are now larger and held realistically (full-sized bows, two-handed, and pulling the arrow back).
Skeletons now fire arrows slower, but further.
Java Edition
1.0.0Beta 1.9 PrereleaseSkeleton Revision 4.png Skeletons now hold their bow with one hand again, but they still have the larger and held realistically bow.
1.2.112w04aThe skeleton's AI has been improved: if a skeleton catches fire in daylight, it rushes to the nearest shadow or body of water.
12w06aThere now is a 8.5% chance that a skeleton drops a bow when killed. There is also a small chance of the bow being enchanted.
1.4.212w32aSkeletons, zombies and zombie pigmen can now pick up dropped items. They also have the ability to wear armor and wield a weapon, so if they pick up armor, they wear it.
Skeletons, zombies, and zombie pigmen can now spawn wearing any type of armor (including chain); both armor and weapons may be enchanted.
12w36aSkeletons may now be found in nether fortresses along with wither skeletons.
?Old pumpkin skeleton.png On Halloween, skeletons, wither skeletons, zombies and zombie pigmen now have a chance of spawning with a pumpkin or jack o'lantern.
12w38aSkeletons now have new sounds. now rush toward the player, instead of shooting arrows, if they don't have a bow.
1.513w02aSkeletons now shoot from a range of 15 blocks instead of 10.
13w03aSkeletons now fire rapidly at players who come within close range, in an attempt to knock them back. This makes melee combat in water hard.
1.814w10aSkeletons now run away from wolves, instead of fighting back.
14w11aSkeletons now run away from creepers that are about to explode.
14w30aSkeletons now drop their skulls when killed by a charged creeper.
1.8.1pre1Skeletons no longer run away from creepers that are about to explode due to performance.
1.915w31aSkeleton Revision 5.png Skeletons now lower their arms when idle.
Skeletons can now, once again, animate their bow; they pull it out when becoming hostile and draw it back to fire arrows.
Skeletons now have a 11% chance of spawning with their bow in their left hand.
Skeletons can dual wield.
Skeleton Aiming Revision 1.png Skeletons now hold their bow with two hands again when aiming.
15w32aThe detection range of skeletons is halved when the player is wearing a skeleton mob head.
15w38aSkeletons now have improved behavior, allowing them to be a bit faster and strafe while shooting.
Skeletons spawn from skeleton trap horses.
15w39aSkeletons are slightly taller (1.99 blocks tall rather than 1.95).
pre1Skeletons shoot flaming arrows when burning and regional difficulty is 3 or greater.
Skeletons holding tipped arrows in their off hand now shoot that type of arrow.
Entity ID Skeleton is now skeleton, wither_skeleton and stray for those respective mobs.
1.9.1Skeletons shoot an arrow per 2 seconds on easy and normal instead of 1.
1.1318w07aSkeletons seek and attack baby turtles.
18w19aSkeletons sink underwater.
Skeletons no longer drown underwater.
1.1418w43aSkeleton.png The texture of skeletons has been changed.
1.1620w06aSkeletons can now spawn in soul sand valley biomes.
Pre-release 4Increased skeleton's spawning weight in soul sand valleys from 2 to 10.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.3.3Skeleton Revision 3.png Added skeletons.
0.5.0Skeletons now have new animations.
0.9.0build 8Skeletons now have new AI.
build 9Skeletons now use the old AI again because they weren't firing arrows correctly.
0.11.0build 1Skeleton Revision 4.png Skeletons no longer hold bows with 2 arms.
Skeletons may now spawn as rider from spiders or cave spiders.
build 14Skeletons now have a improved accuracy.
0.12.1build 1Skeletons now use the new AI again, thus improving accuracy and intelligence.

When skeletons catches fire in the daylight, they hides to the nearest shadow or body of water.

Skeletons may now spawn wearing armor.
Skeletons may now spawn with enchanted bows.
build 12New sounds have been added for dying skeletons.
0.13.0build 1Skeletons now run away from wolves.
Skeletons now fire faster when players get closer to knock them back.
0.14.0build 1Skeletons are now slightly taller (1.99 blocks tall rather than 1.95).
0.15.0build 1Skeleton Revision 5.png Skeletons now animate their bow, they pull it out when becoming hostile and draw it back to shoot arrows.
Skeletons now spawn from skeleton trap horses.
?Burning skeletons now shoot flaming arrows only if the regional difficulty is 3 or greater. Prior to this, burning skeletons would always shoot flaming arrows regardless of regional difficulty.
Bedrock Edition
1.2.0?Skeletons now have a 8.5% chance of dropping their equipment. Prior to this, skeletons would never drop their bow and would always drop always their armor.
1.5.0beta now sink underwater.
Skeletons no longer die from drowning.
Skeletons now use melee attacks and stop shooting when underwater.
beta now seek and attack baby turtles.
1.10.0beta The texture of skeletons has been changed.
1.16.0beta can now spawn in soul sand valley biomes.
Skeletons can now pick up items.
Skeleton now use melee attack when not holding bow on their hand, prior to this, skeleton use any items as ranged weapon to shoot arrow normaly.
Legacy Console Edition
TU1CU11.0Patch 11.0.1Skeleton Revision 2.png Added skeletons.
TU5Skeleton Revision 3.png The 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).
Skeletons now fire their arrows slightly slower. Their arrows, however, are shot with more force.
TU12The skeleton's AI has been updated, so they are "smarter", i.e. if a skeleton catches fire in daylight, it rushes to the nearest shadow or body of water for safety.
There is now a small chance that skeletons drop a bow when killed. There is now also a small chance of the bow being enchanted.
TU19CU71.12Skeletons can now spawn wearing armor and weapons.
Once the player gets closer to a skeleton, the skeleton now fires arrows more frequently.
TU31CU191.22Patch 3Skeletons now run away from wolves, instead of fighting back.
Skeletons now drop their skull when killed by a charged creeper.
TU46CU361.38Patch 15Skeletons may now spawn from skeleton trap horses.
Skeletons now have a new AI that allows them to strafe while attacking.
Skeleton Revision 5.png Skeletons now animate their bow.
1.90Skeleton.png The texture of skeletons has been changed.
New Nintendo 3DS Edition
0.1.0Skeleton Revision 4.png Added skeletons.
Minecraft Earth
0.2.0Skeleton.png Added skeletons.

Historical sounds:

Sound From to Pitch
Hurt/Die ? 1.4.2[is this the correct version?] 1.0


Issues relating to "Skeleton" are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.


  • If alerted to a player's presence, a skeleton can fire arrows backward, occasionally hitting themselves.
  • Skeletons cannot see the player through glass, fences, or other transparent blocks.
  • If a skeleton kills a creeper, the creeper drops a music disc.
  • Skeletons and their variants do not know how to use a crossbow, despite the same using method as a bow.
  • The artificial intelligence of skeletons in Bedrock Edition is a mix of skeleton AI from Java Edition between versions 1.5 and 1.8.9 and the skeletons in Update Aquatic. They shoot faster when they are on land and the target underwater, causing knockback enough to make combat hard. Additionally, they do not strafe left to right, and they shoot more rapidly at closer targets. Skeletons also use ranged attacks on land and switch to melee attacks when sinking underwater.
  • Skeletons and endermen are the only mobs that can spawn in both the Overworld and the Nether. Additionally Zombies may also rarely spawn if an attacked Zombie Pigman spawns in reinforcements.
  • 89% of Skeletons hold their bow in their right hand. Which makes 89% of skeletons left-handed as they pull the string with their left hand.
  • If a Skeleton has a sword or any other melee item (E.G with commands) its AI changes to the Wither Skeleton's AI.