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Health points

20 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)

Attack strength

Easy: 1 (Half Heart.svg) - 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg)
Normal: 1 (Half Heart.svg) - 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg)
Hard: 1 (Half Heart.svg) - 5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)
(Varies with proximity)[Bedrock Edition only] (It is a random factor)[Java Edition only]
Easy: 2 (Heart.svg)
Normal: 2 (Heart.svg)
Hard: 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg)


Height: 1.99 Blocks
Width: 0.6 Blocks


Overworld: Light level of 7 or less.
Nether: Nether fortresses in light level 7 or less.
Strays: Most icy biomes

First appearances

See History


See Drops

Natural equipment


Internal ID

JE: (Skeleton: 51, Stray: 6)
BE: (Skeleton: 34, Stray: 46)

Entity ID

skeleton, stray

Skeletons are ranged, undead humanoid hostile mobs equipped with bows.

Strays are variants of skeletons that only spawn in icy biomes.


Skeletons can spawn almost anywhere in the Overworld at a light level of 7 or less. In the Nether, they can also spawn in nether fortresses at a light level of 7 or less in place of a wither skeleton.

Spiders have a 1% chance to spawn with a skeleton riding them, creating a spider jockey. In Bedrock Edition, cave spiders have 1% chance to spawn with a skeleton riding them, creating a cave spider jockey.

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

Skeletons are 1.99 blocks tall.

Monster spawners[edit]

Skeletons also spawn from spawners found in dungeons.


Skeletons drop:

  • 0–2
  • 0–2
  • 0–1
    arrow of Slowness
    (strays only)
  • Any picked-up equipment has a 100% chance of dropping and will drop with the same damage level it had when picked up.
  • Any naturally spawned equipment (including the bow) has a 8.5% chance of dropping (9.5% with Looting I, 10.5% with Looting II and 11.5% with Looting III). It will usually be badly damaged, and has a chance of being enchanted.
  • A skeleton will drop its head if killed by a charged creeper's explosion.
  • Skeletons drop 5 experience when killed by a player or tamed wolf, +1–3 extra experience if the skeleton has equipment.


Wither Skeleton[edit]

A wither skeleton in the nether.

Wither Skeletons are a variant of skeletons, but taller, darker and more dangerous than regular skeletons. They have a sword instead of a bow, and spawn in nether fortresses, and also in the general nether[Legacy Console Edition only] . They inflict the Wither status effect while attacked by one. See here for more information of the mob.


One of the first images of strays, as tweeted by Jeb.
Marsh Davies Mojang avatar.png Stay alert as you travel through the frozen landscape: there are more deadly things here than the cold! Lurking in the snow are strays - ragged wanderers with baleful eyes and deadly bows, ever on the lookout for foolish warm-bloods intruding into their territory. And beware! Those arrowheads will do more than stick you - their icy tips will cast a freezing pall, slowing their hapless victim to a frosty shuffle.
Marsh Davies[1]

80% of skeletons spawned directly under the sky in ice plains, ice mountains, ice plains spikes, frozen river, cold beach,[Bedrock Edition only] frozen ocean, and deep frozen ocean biomes will be strays. Strays will not spawn from naturally spawned monster spawners, even when exposed to direct sky.[Java and Legacy Console editions only] The 1% of spiders and cave spider spawned in those biomes which end up spawning as a spider jockey also have an 80% chance to be a stray spider jockey or stray cave spider jockey.[Bedrock Edition only] The stray has its own spawn egg in the creative inventory. This egg only spawns strays.

Strays behave much the same as normal skeletons do. However, they shoot tipped arrows that inflict
for 30 seconds on any target that it hits. Despite shooting Slowness arrows, strays themselves are not immune to Slowness.

Strays make similar noises to skeletons, but with the addition of an echoing effect.

In addition to normal skeleton drops, strays have a 50% chance to drop a arrow of Slowness. With the Looting enchantment, this chance increases to 4×level-14×level, which comes to 34 for level I, 78 for level II, and 1112 for level III.


During Halloween, skeletons have a 22.5% chance of spawning wearing a pumpkin and a 2.5% chance of spawning wearing a jack o'lantern. If these skeletons are killed using a tool enchanted with Looting, there will be a chance equivalent to the level of Looting used to drop the pumpkin or jack o'lantern, up to a maximum of a 3% chance of a drop.


Dueling skeletons. Note that the skeleton on the left has turned red due to taking damage from the other skeleton.

Attacking the player[edit]

Skeletons will chase any player they see within 16 blocks, and will climb stairs, navigate mazes, and traverse other complex obstacles in order to get within shooting range. When they are within about 8 blocks of the player with a clear line of sight, they will stop chasing and start shooting the player with arrows, one arrow on each 2 seconds (1 in hard difficulty). They will strafe at player's walking speed in circle patterns to try to dodge attacks during the process, and will retreat to safe range if the player comes too close (4 blocks or less) to them. If the player moves more than 16 blocks away from the skeleton, it will cease pursuit. The detection range of skeletons is reduced to half of their normal range (8 blocks) when the player is wearing a skeleton mob head[Java Edition only] . If a player shoots a skeleton outside its detection range, then it will temporarily hold up its bow in a shooting position[Bedrock Edition 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 "error" of 1. When their target is closer, skeletons shoot faster, but do less damage[Bedrock Edition only] . To account for gravity, skeletons aim 0.2 blocks higher for every block horizontal they are from the target.

If a skeleton's arrow hits certain hostile mobs, that mob will then attack the skeleton the same way it would attack the player, given it was not hit by the player first. If a skeleton is attacked by another mob (usually another skeleton), it may attack that mob, reorienting on the player once that mob is dead.

If spawned with no weapon at all (by using commands)[Java Edition only] a skeleton acts like a zombie (though faster), coming at the player with arms outstretched and damaging the player by touching them.

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

Skeletons holding tipped arrows in their offhand will shoot that type of arrow; these arrows are not consumed.[Java Edition only]

Skeletons are unable to swim, but they can breath and sink underwater; however, they will use melee attack to attack player, instead of ranged attacking with their bow.[upcoming 1.13]

Burning in sunlight[edit]

Like zombies, skeleton burning occurs at dawn when the sun is 15 degrees or greater above the ground (that is, when the moon can no longer be seen), unless the skeleton is:

If not wearing a helmet, they may make some attempt to seek out shade during the day, or enter bodies of water to protect themselves from burning up. Unlike zombies, which will always chase the player if they see one, skeletons will not exit the shade area even if attacking a player. Burning skeletons have a 50% chance of shooting flaming arrows if the regional difficulty is 3 or greater.


Skeletons run from wolves, as wolves attack and chase skeletons. When skeletons are safe from sunlight, they will shoot at any wolves that attack it.

Attacking other mobs[edit]

Skeletons will shoot at any nearby iron golems. Skeletons also search for and attack baby turtles.[upcoming 1.13]


Skeletons are undead mobs, and are damaged by the status effect Healing, healed by the status effect Harming and unaffected by the status effects Regeneration and Poison. Skeletons are also ignored by the wither and are affected by the smite enchantment.


Skeletons are immune from getting damaged by lightning.[Bedrock Edition only]

Armed and armored skeletons[edit]

A skeleton in full gold armor.

Also, like zombies, some spawned skeletons can pick up dropped items from the ground, and if those items happen to be armor, pumpkins, jack o'lanterns or mob heads they will equip them, and if weapons or tools, the skeleton will use them as a melee weapon.

Skeletons spawn already-armed with bows, which may also be enchanted. The chances of that event are listed below and are taken from the game's code. If a skeleton spawns wearing multiple pieces of armor, the armor will never be mismatched (i.e. all pieces will be 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
Boots 100% 100%
Boots & Leggings 75% 90%
Boots & Chestplate & Leggings 56.25% 81%
Full set 42.19% 72.9%

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, which means it cannot "wear out" the way player armor does. Helmets (not blocks like pumpkins) on skeletons can wear away and break if the skeleton is exposed to daylight or has an anvil or other falling block dropped on its head.

If a skeleton has a bow and a sword is given, it will drop the bow (with the same chance as if killed with Looting I) and start using the sword. If a skeleton has a sword or bow in their hand, and one of a better type or with better enchantments is given, they will drop the existing weapon (with the same chance as if killed with Looting I) and start using the better one. Any skeleton that spawns with equipment (picked-up items don't count) will give 1–3 extra experience points per item.

Data values[edit]

See also: Chunk format

Skeletons and strays have entity data associated with them that contain various properties of the mob. Their entity IDs are skeleton and stray respectively.



Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Availability Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
Xbox PS Bedrock Nintendo

Sniper DuelKill a skeleton with an arrow from more than 50 metersUse a launched arrow to kill a skeleton, wither skeleton, or a stray from 50 or more blocks away, horizontally.YesYesYesYes30GSilver


Icon Advancement In-game description Parent Actual requirements (if different) Internal ID
AdventureAdventure, exploration, and combatKill any entity, or be killed by any entity.minecraft:adventure/root
Monster HunterKill any hostile monsterAdventureKill one of these 24 mobs (2 added in 1.13[upcoming]). Other mobs are ignored for this advancement.minecraft:adventure/kill_a_mob
Monsters HuntedKill one of every hostile monsterMonster HunterKill each of these 24 mobs (2 added in 1.13[upcoming]). Other mobs may be killed, but are ignored for the advancement.minecraft:adventure/kill_all_mobs
Sniper duelKill a skeleton with an arrow from more than 50 metersTake AimUse a launched arrow to kill a skeleton from 50 or more blocks away, horizontally.minecraft:adventure/sniper_duel



August 14, 2009Teased skeletons.
0.24_SURVIVAL_TEST Skeletons are added. They spawned randomly in new Survival maps and followed players when approached, much like zombies.
0.25 (September 3, 2009) 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.
0.31 Skeletons no longer wear armor and their attacking animation was also removed as well.
Purple arrows that skeletons throw were removed and were replaced by brown arrows.
February 14, 2010, 1 Skeletons now catch on fire when exposed to sunlight.
February 18, 2010 Tweaked chances of catching on fire in sunlight.
Skeletons now only burn when the sunlight level is greater than 7, and not due to torches at night[verify].
v1.2.0 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.
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 now needs charging). Their arrows however, are shot with more force.
Official release
1.0.0 ?Skeletons now hold their bow with one hand again but they still had the larger and held realistically bow.
1.2.1 12w04a The skeleton's 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, their Nether equivalent.
?On Halloween, skeletons, wither skeletons, zombies and zombie pigmen now have a chance of spawning with a pumpkin or jack o'lantern.
12w38a Skeletons were given new sounds.
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 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.
1.9 15w31a Now animate their bow, they pull it out when becoming hostile and draw it back to shoot arrows.
They have a small chance to spawn with their bow in their left hand.
Skeletons now have the ability to dual wield.
Skeletons now hold their bow with two hands again.
15w32a The detection range of skeletons is halved when the player is wearing a skeleton mob head.
15w33c The detection range for players wearing the skeleton mob head is adjusted, now 37.5% of the normal range.
15w36a The detection range for players wearing the skeleton mob head is again 50% of the normal range.
15w38a Skeletons have a new AI which allows them to strafe while shooting the target.
Skeletons may spawn from skeleton trap horses.
15w39a Skeletons are slightly taller (1.99 blocks tall rather than 1.95).
1.10 April 11, 2016Jens Bergensten tweets an image of a new skeleton-type mob.
16w20a Added strays.
Added spawn eggs for stray.
1.10-pre1 Skeletons can now shoot flaming arrows when burning and regional difficulty is 3 or greater.
Skeletons holding tipped arrows in their off hand will now shoot that type of arrow.
1.10-pre2 Removed stray spawn egg.
1.10 Added Strays their own sound, previously they had the same sound as a regular skeleton.
1.11 16w32a Re-added stray spawn eggs.
Entity ID Skeleton is now skeleton, wither_skeleton and stray for those respective mobs.
Removed the SkeletonType tag.
Strays' in-game name is now "Stray" instead of
Upcoming Java Edition
1.13 18w07a Skeletons now seek and attack baby turtles.
18w19a Skeletons and strays will now sink underwater.
Skeletons and strays will no longer drown underwater.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.3.3 Added skeletons.
0.5.0 Skeletons have new animations.
0.9.0 build 8 Skeletons now have new AI.
build 9 Skeletons use the old AI again because they don't fire arrows correctly.
0.11.0 build 1 Skeletons no longer hold their bow with 2 arms.
build 14 Skeletons now have improved accuracy.
0.12.1 build 1 Skeletons use the new AI again, thus improving accuracy and intelligence, so when the skeleton gets burned in the daylight it will hide to the nearest tree or a big shallow lake.
Skeletons can now spawn wearing armor.
Skeletons now have the ability to pick up items.
build 12 New sounds for dying skeletons.
0.13.0 build 1 Skeletons now run away from wolves.
0.15.0 build 1 Now animate their bow, they pull it out when becoming hostile and draw it back to shoot arrows.
Added strays.
Added stray spawn egg.
0.16.0 build 5 Strays now have their own sound.
Pocket Edition
1.1 build 1 The entity ID for stray is changed from skeleton.stray to stray.
Upcoming Bedrock Edition
1.5 beta Skeletons now sink while underwater.

Skeletons now breath underwater; prior to this skeletons would die from drowning.

Skeletons and strays now will use melee attacks and stop using ranged attacks when underwater.
beta Skeletons now seek and attack baby turtles.
Legacy Console Edition
TU1CU11.0Patch 1Added skeletons.
TU5The 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.
TU12The skeleton's 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).
TU19CU71.12Skeletons can now spawn wearing armor and weapons.
Once you get closer to a skeleton, it fires arrows more frequently.
TU31CU191.22Patch 3Now run away from wolves instead of fighting back.
Drops skull when killed by a charged creeper.
TU46CU361.38Patch 15Added strays.
Skeletons may now spawn from skeleton trap horses.


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


  • If alerted to a player's presence, skeletons can fire arrows backwards, occasionally hitting themselves.
  • Skeletons cannot see the player through glass, fences, or other transparent blocks.
  • According to Jeb, the concept for the stray emerged from a game jam the Bellevue team had, where they were just adding a bunch of stuff to Minecraft - whatever they wanted. Jason Major made a bunch of cool mobs and he thought this one fit really well with what they were already planning.[1]


See also[edit]


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