5 things players need to know about wither skeletons in Minecraft

An image of one of Minecraft's wither skeletons facing the player (Image via Minecraft)
An image of one of Minecraft's wither skeletons facing the player (Image via Minecraft)
Adrian Carnes

Wither skeletons are a hostile mob in Minecraft found in the game’s nether. These undead creatures have an in-game appearance that is similar to Minecraft’s skeleton mob, but are taller and much darker gray in color. Equipped with stone swords and the ability to inflict players with the deadly wither effect, wither skeletons spawn primarily in the game’s nether fortresses.

Spawning in groups of four, these mobs can sometimes be difficult to combat. There’s a lot to know about wither skeletons in Minecraft, some more obvious than others. Here’s our list of five things that players probably didn’t know about them.

5 things players probably didn't know about Minecraft wither skeletons

Minecraft's wither skeletons drop a variety of items when killed (Image via Minecraft)
Minecraft's wither skeletons drop a variety of items when killed (Image via Minecraft)

5) Halloween spawning

Wither skeletons encountered on Halloween have a chance of spawning wearing a carved pumpkin or jack o’lantern. Carved pumpkins are more common, with a chance of 22.5%. Jack o’lanterns are a bit rarer, with a chance of just 2.5%.

Edition: Minecraft Java Edition

4) Drops

Minecraft Wither skeletons can drop a number of things when killed by a player or tamed wolf, including:

  • Anywhere from zero to two bones, or zero to five bones with Looting III.
  • A single coal. This number can be increased to anywhere between zero to four, if the player used Looting III.
  • A wither skeleton skull. The chance of this is roughly 2.5% if the player isn’t using a weapon enchanted with Looting, or 100% if killed by a charged creeper.
  • Five experience orbs.
  • An unenchanted stone sword, with random durability. The chances of this are 8.5%, with an increase of 1% for every level of Looting.

3) Hostility towards some mobs

Wither skeletons will attack more than just Minecraft players. These undead mobs will sprint towards and attack any snow golems, iron golems, baby turtles, piglins, and piglin brutes that they may encounter.

2) Flaming arrows

While some Minecraft wither skeletons are able to pick up dropped gear in the game's normal or hard difficulties, none of them are able to pick up bows. There is a way around this, however. Players can spawn wither skeletons into the game with a bow already equipped. This is exclusive to Minecraft Java Edition, and can be done by using the /summon command. Wither skeletons will fire flaming arrows from these bows, regardless of whether or not they’ve been enchanted. Wither skeletons are still unable to use crossbows.

Command: /summon wither_skeleton ~ ~ ~ {HandItems:[{id:bow,Count:1b}]}

Edition: Minecraft Java Edition

1) Fire immunity and vulnerability

Wither skeletons are typically immune to fire, but can be burnt if a player strikes them with a trident enchanted with channeling during a thunderstorm. This will summon a bolt of lightning, which will burn any wither skeletons in its impact radius.

Edition: Minecraft Bedrock Edition

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Edited by Siddharth Satish
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