Wither skeleton

A Wither Skeleton with its sword.

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 11.38.27 AM

This Wither Skeleton stands next to a Blaze in a Nether Fortress.

Wither Skeletons, added in Update 1.4.2, are skeletal minions of the Wither. They are a fairly rare mob that occur naturally only in or near Nether Fortresses. They are just like Skeletons, except they wield a Stone Sword, are a bit taller, and are a charcoal gray, possibly because of a lifetime spent in the fiery Nether. If the Player spawns a Skeleton in the Nether, there is an 80% chance it will be a Wither Skeleton. They can inflict the Wither effect on you. This effect turns the health bar black and also does additional health damage overtime for 30 seconds. There is also another very rare chance one will ride a Spider, making a Wither Skeleton Jockey.

It is possible to summon a Wither Skeleton using the command:

/summon Skeleton ~ ~1 ~ {SkeletonType:1}

Fighting Wither Skeletons

Wither Skeletons are dangerous due to the Wither ability they possess. However, bows are a good weapon to use against them. If you have no bow, you can use a high-powered sword, but this is not advised because the skeleton's sword is as long as yours and therefore can hit you when you can hit it. 

Where they live naturally

228px-Wither Skeleton Jockey

A Wither Skeleton Jockey


Wither Skeletons, like most undead mobs, seem to kill for the sake of killing. They will heedlessly charge the player without any regard for their own safety. This points to the fact that they're not very smart.


  • Fire resistant
  • Can inflict Wither (any difficulty)



  • When a Skeleton is spawned in the Nether by the player, it has an 80% percent chance of being a Wither Skeleton. 
  • Wither Skeletons almost always spawn in Nether Fortresses.
  • Wither Skeletons, Zombie Pigmen, and Skeletons are the only mobs with a default weapon.
  • There is no cobblestone in the Nether to make the Stone Sword, so Wither Skeletons are possibly trans-dimensional.
  • It has been calculated that Wither Skeletons can kill you (with no armor) in one hit and five seconds if left unchecked on Hard Mode.
  • Although Wither Skeletons can inflict Wither on all modes (except peaceful when it is not present), the Wither boss cannot. This is possibly to tune down the boss's difficulty and ramp up that of its minions.
  • Due to a Wither Skeleton's size, it looks rather comical in a Wither Spider Jockey.
  • Wither Skeletons have the same mob ID as Skeletons- variation 0 versus variation 1.
  • It is impossible to spawn wither skeletons in the Overworld using a spawn egg, as they will always be normal skeletons when spawned this way.
  • Three wither skeleton skulls are needed to create a Wither boss, but there is only a 2.5% chance of them dropping heads when killed by a sword without looting.
Hostile Wither SkeletonSkeletonSilverfishWitchSpider JockeyGhastMagma CubeChicken JockeyZombie VillagerEndermiteBlazeSlimeCreeperCave SpiderZombie
Neutral Spider JockeyChicken JockeyEndermanSpiderWolfIron GolemZombie Pigman
Friendly SquidOcelotChickenVillagerBatCowMooshroomHorsePigSnow GolemPigSheep
Unimplemented Fish (Mob)Friendly WitherRedstone BugGiantHumanRana
Boss WitherEnder Dragon