Minecraft Mobs: What They Are & How to Defeat Them

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The summer of 2021 saw the release of Minecraft’s most anticipated update that adds one of the cutest Minecraft mobs of all, the axolotl. Split into two update patches — 1.17 for Part I and 1.18 for Part II — the Caves and Cliffs update adds a total of four new Minecraft mobs, ten new items, more than 30 different blocks, and changes in world generation.

That said, the game itself is never finished and continues to add and change with each new update, but people will always be excited to see new Minecraft mobs to interact with. We’re here to give you all you need to know about all Minecraft mobs (as of update 1.18)!


Inside this Article

  1. Minecraft Mobs and Why They Exist 
  2. Spawn Rates and Light Levels 
    1. Spawn Rates
    2. Animal Minecraft Mob Spawn
    3. Monster Minecraft Mob Spawn
    4. Other Minecraft Mob Spawn
    5. Light Levels and Monster Minecraft Mob Spawn Prevention
  3. Kinds of Minecraft Mobs 
    1. Neutral Minecraft Mobs 
    2. Passive Minecraft Mobs
    3. Tameable Minecraft Mobs 
    4. Hostile Minecraft Mobs 


Minecraft Mobs and Why They Exist

First of all, you would probably want to know what exactly Minecraft’s mobs are and why they exist in your and your friends’ favorite blocky world. Whether you’re on a single-player or on a cross-play Minecraft server, mobs are present in-game.

“Mob” is the shorthand term for “mobile entity.” This term is usually reserved for some form of AI-controlled game entity meant to resemble a living creature in a game. This means that every kind of “living” and moving thing inside a game, except for your character, is a mob. These include the peaceable villagers that quietly live in their farms, the chickens that you sometimes spawn when you throw an egg, and even the final boss of the game, the Ender Dragon.

So why do they exist? Mobs exist so you and other Minecraft players can interact with them. They can be enemies you have to slay, villagers you can trade with and protect, or tamable animals that you can raise and slaughter. Whichever they are, these mobs are an integral part of the game. Minecraft mobs make any Minecraft world alive with their own “living and breathing” fauna.

Also See: Villager Trading


Minecraft Mob Spawn Rates and Light Levels

Now that we have explained why Minecraft mobs exist and why they’re in the game, you would probably want to know how they spawn and their spawn rates.

While there are some differences between the computer-only Java version and the Bedrock Minecraft versions, they do have more similarities. Since the intricacies of spawn rates and light levels can be a bit too esoteric as the game is filled with tables and figures peppered with too many numbers, we will only give out a simple explanation for both of them. First up are spawn rates.


Spawn Rates

Spawn rates govern when and where Minecraft mobs will spawn. While there are dedicated algorithms for each type of mob, these can generally be split into three categories in terms of spawning. These categories are animal, monster, and other.

The spawning of Minecraft mobs can be turned off without being on “peaceful” mode. However, you have to have had “cheats” turned on for your world to do it.

You can do this by toggling the game rules for mob spawning. The only thing you need to do is bring up the console using the “/” on PCs and typing into the message bar on smartphones. You then need to input “/gamerule doMobSpawning” and add a space then “false” or “true” after the code to turn spawning on and off. Doing this doesn’t remove any mob already spawned on the map, however.


Animal Minecraft Mob Spawn

Animals in the Bedrock and Java versions of the game spawn differently. Animals in Java versions only spawn immediately after a “chunk” or a part of the world is created. Bedrock versions, meanwhile, have animals continuously spawn depending on their spawn cycle.

This means that the normal or common animals — sheep, chicken, pig, and cows — only spawn once per chunk in Java while they continuously spawn in Bedrock versions.

The rule also applies to the biome-specific animals: axolotl, cod, dolphin, donkey, fox, glow squid, goat, hoglin, horse, llama, mooshroom, ocelot, parrot, panda, polar bear, pufferfish, tropical fish, rabbit, salmon, squid, strider, turtle, and wolves.


Monster Minecraft Mob Spawn

The second type of Minecraft mob that spawns is monsters. These are usually enemy or hostile mobs that will attack and destroy you and your creations. Due to this, they can’t spawn into a game when your game difficulty is set at “Peaceful.”

At other difficulties, these creepy-crawlies would usually start to spawn at 7 or below light level, but there are exceptions like generated structures and biomes outside the Overworld. Mysticat provides a more in-depth, technical explanation of the spawning algorithm in his YouTube video above.

Similar to animal mobs, Minecraft’s monster mobs can also be split between common and biome-specific mobs. The common monster mobs are zombies, creepers, skeletons, spiders, Endermen, witches, spider jockeys, and chicken jockeys. They can spawn anywhere in the Overworld whether on the surface or underground with the exception of mushroom fields biomes.

Biome-specific monster mobs, meanwhile, are drowned, ghast, hoglin, husk, magma cube, slime, stray, piglin, zombified piglin, and zombified chicken jockeys. They can spawn only in select biomes like the Swamp for slimes and oceans and rivers for the drowned. You can control the spawning of these enemy mobs by lighting up your surroundings and using the light levels to your advantage. We will give a short explanation of light levels later on.


Other Minecraft Mob Spawn

Other Minecraft mobs spawn in specific structures and places. Due to this, this list is a mix of passive, neutral, tameable, and hostile mobs. Below is a table of what mobs may spawn in which structure when it’s generated in-game.

Mob Structure Generated
Black Cat One per Swamp Hut.
Witch One per Swamp Hut.
Cat Can generate as part of villages.
Iron Golem Can generate as part of villages and Pillager Outposts.
Villager Can generate as part of villages and igloos.
Cow Can generate as part of villages if there are animal pens (for cows, sheep, pigs, or horses), stables (for horses, cows, or pigs), butcher houses (for pig, cow, or sheep), and shepherd’s houses (for sheep).
Horse See Cow.
Pig See Cow.
Sheep See Cow.
Drowned Can generate in Underwater Ruins.
Elder Guardian Can generate in Ocean Monuments.
Guardian Can generate in Ocean Monuments.
Ender Dragon Automatically generated after a pathway to The End is generated.
Evoker Can generate in Woodland Mansions.
Vindicator Can generate in Woodland Mansions.
Pillager Can generate in Pillager Outposts.
Shukler Can generate in End Cities.
Zombie Villager Can generate as part of igloos with basements.

Except for the Ender Dragon, the appearance of these structure-tied monsters and mobs aren’t 100% assured. These do replace the common biome mob spawns in the location of their structure.

Do note that mob spawning may be slightly different depending on what version of the game you’re on and whether you’re on Bedrock or Java.


Light Levels and Monster Minecraft Mob Spawn Prevention

As we’ve mentioned, the only mobs that you can prevent from spawning using light levels are hostile mobs. This is why enemy mobs are usually found in caves, ravines, and other dark places.

The YouTube video above by Abfielder shows off one of the many Minecraft Mods that indicate a blocks’ light level in numbers. These numbers tell how strong the light on a given block is and dictate whether a hostile mob may or may not spawn onto it.

While there are some structures and biomes where hostiles will generate regardless of light level, generally a light level of 8 and above will prevent any hostile mobs from spawning at night in the Overworld.


Kinds of Minecraft Mobs

Now that we have gone over how the different types of natural Minecraft mob spawn as well as how to prevent enemy mobs from spawning in — let us take a closer look at the mobs themselves. We will now explain how to kill or tame them.

For this list, we will split the mobs into four categories: neutral mobs, passive mobs, tameable mobs, and hostile mobs. The difference is how they react to the actions you, the player, do on them and their surroundings.


Neutral Minecraft Mobs

Neutral Minecraft Mobs
Photo from the Minecraft Wiki

Neutral mobs aren’t aggressive, at least at first. These Minecraft mobs are defensive and will only attack you after you attack them first or provoke them through a specific method.



Due to their hive like-nature, bees attack in a swarm. If you collect honey or honeycomb without a campfire, attack a bee, or destroy their nests or their beehives, all the bees in the area will turn to attack you. Each bee will only successfully attack once and will stop attacking after. When a bee stings you, it will lose its sticker and die a minute after.

The best defense against bees is to either let them die naturally after they have stung you or use your shield to deflect each attack. A bee will go back to being a neutral mob if it was not able to sting its target 25 seconds after it was enraged.



A group of one to four spiders can spawn in the Overworld when the light level is zero. It also has a chance of popping up through monster spawners in dungeons and in Woodland Mansions.

Depending on where you find them, your best defense would be on flat ground to prevent them from surrounding you by crawling on the walls. You can also use your shield to avoid venomous attacks. If you can, use ranged attacks and kill them before getting near you in dungeons and mines.


Cave Spider

Cave spiders are another venomous enemy but are neutral under daylight or in light levels of 9 and above. A tricky enemy, they can climb walls and attack players by leaping onto them as well as fit in spaces a half-block tall.

Similar to normal spiders, the best way to fight them off is to lure them into a flat plain where you can take them on one by one. Aside from that, you should use your shield to deflect any attacks that they launch. Another way is to use an enchanted bow or other long-range weapons to shoot them from afar.



Dolphins spawn in three to five pods and are quicker in the ocean than players who have not used the enchantment table on their equipment. Similar to bees, if one dolphin is attacked, the entire pod attacks.

The dolphin’s main weakness is the land and will die of suffocation two minutes after it leaves the water. A good strategy to kill dolphins is to lead them into an isolated waterway and slowly fill it up with sand. This will either crush them with the sand blocks or suffocate them. If you have to fight them in water, though, you should use an enchanted trident with the “impaling” effect.



Endermen are some of the well-known mobs in Minecraft. These beings teleport and spawn only at light level 0 in the Overworld. While common denizens of The End, a “haunting” of Endermen can appear in groups of two in the Overworld and four or more in The End. While completely neutral, an Enderman can also be triggered to attack if you look them in the eye. Endermen are completely protected against arrows and other projectiles and teleport away before getting hit.

The best way to defend yourself from an Enderman is to use its fear of water. You can jump into the nearest pool and attack them with swords or other physical attacks. On the other hand, you can prevent provoking them altogether by wearing a carved pumpkin or looking at them behind a transparent block.



Goats are new Minecraft mob and are generally neutral unless provoked by being near one without moving. Doing so triggers goats to ram against players every 30 to 300 seconds if they are 16 blocks away and have not moved during that duration.

When fighting a goat, it’s good to move away from their natural habitat (mountain biomes) first. This is due to a chance that you might get rammed and die from fall damage. Aside from that, goats are generally weak and will retreat and die if properly attacked.


Iron Golem

Iron golems are protectors or guardians of towns and Pillager Outposts. They have high offensive and defensive capabilities that are deadly to weakly armed players. Iron golems don’t attack players unless it sees them attacking a villager or they have -15 or less popularity in that village.

The best way to defeat iron golems is with a full diamond enchanted Minecraft armor set and ranged weapons. Since the AI moves the golem to its enemy directly, you can entrap it using pitfalls and lava blocks.



Pandas are similar to polar bears but are found only in Jungle biomes. When attacked and hurt, pandas will attack once before retreating. While it’s rare for someone to attack pandas, the best strategy when doing so is to use long-range weapons to wear down their health.


Polar Bear

Compared to pandas, polar bears are more aggressive. They will attack players lingering near them in the Bedrock version. Otherwise, they will attack if their cubs are attacked. Unless killed in one hit, all polar bears 16x8x16 blocks away will be hostile to the attacking player.

Due to their powerful melee attacks and a swimming speed similar to the player, the best defense against polar bears is to build a three to the four-block high tower to snipe them from. Make sure you are prepared for a long fight before trying this out.



Found only in The Nether, piglins will attack any player not wearing a piece of golden armor. Piglins are equipped with different types of golden armor and will have either a golden sword or a crossbow equipped.

Due to their equipment, the best way to fight them is either through a slugging match of sword blows or by using the terrain in The Nether to hide while sniping them.


Zombified Piglin

Quite similar to their non-zombified brethren, zombified piglins are also equipped with either long-range or melee weapons. Thankfully, due to being zombies, they can only use melee attacks. Although usually neutral, all nearby zombified piglins charge at players when attacked.

Similar to normal zombies, the best way to get rid of zombified piglins is to lure them into an area where you can use trap door pitfalls. From there, you can use a sword to kill them off. Zombified piglin experience point (XP) farms are one of the easiest XP farms you can do in-game.


Passive Minecraft Mobs

Passive Minecraft Mobs
Photo from the Minecraft Wiki

Passive Minecraft mobs are, well, passive. There are two exceptions: these mobs will either run away or try to hide when attacked. These mobs are hardcoded to never attack you or other mobs even if attacked first. To make it easier, we have split these passive Minecraft mobs into three kinds, domestic animal mobs, aquatic mobs, and “others.”


Domestic Animal Mobs

These mobs are exactly what they sound like: domestic animals for your Minecraft farm. Domestic animal mobs are meant to simulate the animals and pets we see on farms in the real world.

These mobs are bats, rabbits, chickens, cows, mooshrooms, pigs, and sheep. You can’t really “fight” these animal mobs — more accurately, you cull them for different items instead.


Aquatic Mobs

These mobs are quite similar to domestic animal mobs and are completely passive, with the exception of the pufferfish. The completely passive aquatic mobs are cod, squid, tropical fish, glow squid, salmon, and turtles. Passive aquatic Minecraft mobs like these are easily “harvested” with a few swings of a sword. The only exception is the pufferfish, which attack with poison if attacked. Defending against pufferfish is quite easy as you only need to scoop them up with a water bucket.


NPCs and Others

There are four other passive mobs that are in Minecraft. These passive mobs are snow golems, striders, villagers, and wandering traders. Similar to domestic animals, none of these Minecraft mobs can or would attack players even when attacked first. Aside from trading with villagers and wandering traders, the most interesting out of these passive mobs are striders. Common denizens of The Nether, they can be strapped with a saddle or used as steeds if you have a warped fungus on a stick.

Those that want to harm these defenseless mobs should beware of the wandering trader, as it will use an invisibility potion when first attacked. The trader llama that accompanies it may also attack the player. It’s also good to look out for iron golems when killing villagers and trader llamas when fighting wandering traders.


Tameable Minecraft Mobs

Tameable Minecraft Mobs
Photo from the Minecraft Wiki

The third category for Minecraft mobs is tameable mobs. These are animals that you can tame and domesticate by either feeding them, riding them, or, for the skeleton horse, killing its skeleton rider. With this in mind, we will split them into three types, those that you feed, those that you ride to tame, and those that need trust.


Taming Through Food

These tameable mobs in-game are usually household pets that we have in real life — cats, dogs, and birds. In Minecraft, you can also have your own cute pet. The only problem is that you have to find them and feed them the right food.

Below is a table of what animal it is and the type of food you should give to it to tame it.

Type of Minecraft Mob Food Needed to Tame
Cat Raw cod or raw salmon.
Wolf Bones
Parrot Wheat, melon, pumpkin, or beetroot seeds.
Ocelot Raw cod or raw salmon.


Taming Through Riding

There are also Minecraft mobs that you can tame through riding. These animals are usually beasts of burden in real life. The tamed animals can help carry you and your stuff farther and faster than walking.

These animals are mules, donkeys, horses, llamas, trader llamas, and skeleton horses. While you can find donkeys, horses, and llamas in the Overworld, you can only find trader llamas with wandering traders. Lastly, skeleton horses are found ridden by skeleton horsemen.

You can also tame them with their favorite foods. Horses, donkeys, and mules like being fed sugar, wheat, apple, golden apple, enchanted golden apple, or golden carrots. Llamas and trader llamas, on the other hand, like eating wheat and hay bales. Skeleton horses, though, can automatically be ridden and tamed so long as their skeleton rider is defeated and killed.


Taming Through Trust

Foxes and axolotls have different taming mechanics compared to other tameable Minecraft mobs. Axolotls are the simplest to tame due to players only needing to capture them in a water bucket. Foxes, on the other hand, are the most complicated as you can’t tame naturally spawned foxes.

To tame a fox, you would first need to capture two wild foxes and breed them. You can do that by feeding both foxes sweet berries or glow berries. The baby fox will then be a tamed cub and will grow into a tamed fox.


Hostile Minecraft Mobs

Hostile Minecraft Mob
Photo from the Minecraft Wiki

Hostile mobs are the monsters that do their best to kill you, and these include the game’s final boss, the Ender Dragon. Most of these monsters spawn and can usually be seen in the Overworld, but some of them are specific to places in The Nether or The End. With that distinction, we will split hostile mobs into three categories according to where spawn: the Overworld, The Nether, and The End.



As mentioned, the Overworld has most of Minecraft’s mobs and enemies able to spawn inside it. With this, there is a lot of variations and differences when it comes to the hostile mobs that spawn inside biomes and generated structures in the Overworld as well.

Among the hostile mobs you’ll encounter from the Overworld, there are the general hostile mobs, the undead, the Illagers, and the aquatic kind.


General Hostile Mobs

The most common general hostile mobs are creepers, silverfish, witches, and slime. The table below explains where they are and how you can defeat them.

Hostile Mob Location/Biome/Spawn Trigger How to Defeat
Creeper Spawns on any Overworld block with light level 0. Use long-range weapons as they explode when near the player.
Silverfish Spawns from broken infested blocks in Strongholds, underground in mountain biomes, igloo basements, or false portal rooms in Woodland Mansions. Use swords equipped with the Bane of Anthropods enchantment and other similar enchantments using a Smithing Table.
Slime Spawns at night in Swamp biomes or slime “chunks” underground. Use water buckets and drown them.
Witch Spawns at night at light level 0, during raids, or when lightning strikes 4 blocks near a villager. Assured spawn in Swamp Huts. Rush them into the melee range.

Undead Hostile Mobs

This category of hostile Minecraft mobs has a few different types of zombies and skeletons. Due to their undead nature, almost all of these creatures are weak to sunlight and will burn and die if exposed to it for too long.

Hostile Mob Location/Biome/Spawn Trigger How to Defeat
Zombie Spawns in groups of 4 at blocks with 0 light level. Make a block tower and use long-range weapons. Do not get surrounded.
Husk Zombie variant that spawns in deserts. It does not burn in sunlight. See Zombie.
Zombie Villager Zombie variant that can be cured into a normal villager. See Zombie.
Chicken Jockey Small zombie variant that spawns riding a chicken. They are faster than normal zombies. See Zombie.
Skeleton Spawns in groups of 4 or 5 (Java) or 1 or 2 (Bedrock) at blocks with 0 light level. Use shields to block their arrows and charge them with your sword.
Skeleton Horseman Spawns from skeleton trap horses hit by lightning. See Skeleton.
Stray Skeleton variant found in frozen, ice, or snowy biomes. See Skeleton.
Spider Jockey Skeleton variant that spawns riding a spider. They can crawl on walls like normal spiders. See Skeleton.
Phantom Spawns in the Overworld sky when the player has not died or slept for three or more days. While you can fight them by using long-range weapons, it is better to hide inside a building until morning.
Zoglin Spawns near Nether Portals. Are created after Hoglins are pushed into either the Overlord or The End. Make a block tower to avoid its ramming attack. Use long-range weapons while on the tower. Can also be drowned using water.


Illager Hostile Mobs

Illagers are the complete opposite of your beloved villagers. Not only are they hyper-aggressive, but they will also launch scouting parties and raids into villages and nearby settlements. Illagers function as bandits and other ne’er-do-wells in the game world.

Hostile Mob Location/Biome/Spawn Trigger How to Defeat
Pillagers Spawns as patrols on the Overworld. Can also spawn in Pillager Outposts and during raids. Use a shield to block their arrows and use a sword when near enough.
Vindicator Spawns in patrols, raids, and Woodland Mansions. A melee version of the Pillager equipped with iron axes. Use long-ranged weapons and keep your distance.
Ravager Spawns during raids along with Pillager or Vindicator riders. Use the buildings as cover and attack with long-ranged weapons. Keep out of its ramming and biting range.
Evoker Spawns during raids or in Woodland Mansions. Is the only source of Totems of Undying. Either rush the Evoker into melee range and quickly kill it or shoot it from range before it spots you.
Vex Summoned by Evokers in groups of three. Dies in 30 to 119 seconds after being summoned in Java. Else, use long-range weapons while placing boats and minecarts to trap them from moving.


Aquatic Hostile Mobs

These hostile Minecraft mobs are present only in bodies of water or in Ocean Monuments. Before jumping into the water to fight these monster mobs, you should first use a brewing stand to create potions of water breathing or enchant a helmet with respiration to be able to survive lengthy periods underwater. Do note that this is the bare minimum of things you would need to fight underwater, and it is advised to have a trident enchanted with the “loyalty” effect.

Hostile Mob Location/Biome/Spawn Trigger How to Defeat
Drowned Zombie variant that spawns in waterways and oceans. Sometimes attacks with tridents. See Zombie. Zombies with tridents can be deflected with shields.
Guardian Spawns in Ocean Monuments. Use the corners and sides of Ocean Monument walls to reduce their ray attacks.
Elder Guardian Spawns in Ocean Monuments. See Guardian.


The Nether

Aside from the hostile Minecraft mobs in the Overworld, there are also those that spawn in the Nether. Since there are only a few of them, we have a table for you to look through.

Hostile Mob Location/Biome/Spawn Trigger How to Defeat
Hoglin Spawns in herds of 3 to 4 in Crimson Forest biomes and some Bastion Remnants. Create a block tower and use long-range weapons against it. You can also place warped fungi to make it run away.
Magma Cube Spawns in Nether Wastes, Nether Fortress, and Basalt Delta biomes. The Nether version of the Slime, you can also use water buckets to drown them.
Wither Skeleton Spawns in Nether Fortresses. Use long-ranged weapons and keep your distance since their attacks have a deadly Wither effect.
Piglin Brute Spawns in Bastion Remnants. The armed version of Piglins. Use long-ranged weapons as they are only equipped with gold axes.
Blaze Spawns from spawners in Nether Fortresses with light level 11 or less. Takes damage from water. Can be pushed into water to kill it or attacked with snowballs and splash water bottles. Another tactic is to use the fortress walls to snipe at Blazes.
Ghast Spawns in empty 5x5x4 blocks in Basalt Deltas, Nether Wastes, and Soul Sand biomes. The easiest way to defeat them is to reflect their fireball attacks at them by swinging your sword at the fireball.


The End

The final world in Minecraft is The End. There are only four hostile Minecraft mobs that spawn naturally in The End. These three are Endermites, Shulkers, and the Ender Dragon. The Wither can be spawned by players in The End as well.

Hostile Mob Location/Biome/Spawn Trigger How to Defeat
Endermite May sometimes spawn after a player uses an Ender Pearl. Use a shield and a sword.
Shulker Spawns in End Cities. Use long-ranged weapons while using the terrain to avoid its shulker bullets.
Wither Spawned by the player after combining 4 blocks of soul sand or soul soil and 3 wither skeleton heads. When spawning the Wither, do the summoning under the End Portal to automatically kill it as shown in Jumper’s YouTube video.
Ender Dragon Automatically spawns once a portal to The End is made. Since the Ender Dragon is the final boss of the game, there are different ways you can kill and beat it as demonstrated in Shulkercraft’s YouTube video.


Catch Minecraft Mobs to Get Items

Hopefully, this guide has helped you learn more about Minecraft mobs and their weaknesses. They can be adorable creatures roaming around the biomes, but they can be pretty aggressive too. If you encounter one, you catch them to get more resources and experience points. It’s even more worth it to defeat hostile mobs because they drop rarer items on occasion.