Don't Starve Wiki
Don't Starve Wiki
For the shadow monsters based on chess pieces in Don't Starve Together, see Shadow Pieces. For the boss in Hamlet, see Ancient Herald.
A creature made of the dark fuel! I must get closer!


A Shadow Creature is a type of Monster in Don't Starve. Hostile Shadow Creatures have a Sanity aura that drains the player's Sanity Meter.png Sanity at a rate of -100/min., but killing one will restore a small amount of Sanity. Shadow Creatures drop Nightmare Fuel when killed.

Shadow Creatures will spawn as nearly transparent entities when the player's Sanity drops below 82.5%. As Sanity continues to drop, they become more "real" (less transparent) and will begin to attack a player with less than 15% Sanity. It's not unusual for 3 Shadow Creatures to spawn at the same time and attack the player when this happens. They cannot be examined and are visible only to the player, meaning followers can not help attack them. Shadow Creatures are immune to Tooth Traps and Bee Mines. Nearby Shadow Creatures will prevent the player from using a Straw Roll, Fur Roll, Tent, or Siesta Lean-to. In Don't Starve Together, players can assist those plagued by Shadow Creatures by attacking them. However, this causes the Shadow Creature to attack and follow that player instead.

Nightmare versions of Shadow Creatures appear in the Ruins and occasionally Caves, spawning from Nightmare Lights or Nightmare Fissures during the Nightmare Cycle. They're hostile, regardless of Sanity, and will pursue the player until the Nightmare Cycle has reached the Calm Phase, at which point they despawn by turning into Nightmare Fuel. Note that killing a Shadow Creature that has spawned from a Nightmare Light will not restore the player's Sanity.

Crawling Horror

The Crawling Horror is a large tick-like Shadow Creature with many legs. It is the most common type of Shadow Creature.

When the player's Sanity is above 15%, Crawling Horrors will wander around and move away from the player when approached, while also occasionally teleporting around the player's vicinity. Crawling Horrors become aggressive when the player's Sanity drops below 15%, and their Sanity aura will further decrease the player's Sanity by -100/min. A Crawling Horror will telegraph its aggression by standing upright and baring its teeth while producing a shifting, warping growl. Crawling Nightmares produce the same growl, but with an increased echo and distortion. This audio cue is also used when the Crawling Horror/Nightmare attacks.

Crawling Nightmares are a version of Crawling Horrors encountered in the Ruins (and sometimes in regular Caves). Crawling Nightmares spawn from Nightmare Lights/Fissures, and are aggressive regardless of Sanity level.

The Crawling Horror has a slower movement speed than the player and can easily be outrun in order to avoid confrontation. If outrun by a great distance, Crawling Nightmares will return to the Nightmare Light or Nightmare Fissure they spawned from. Crawling Horrors, on the other hand, will just materialize closer to the player, as long as their sanity remains low enough.

Crawling Horrors, if spawned in while insane, show off a "pathfinding" behavior. They will stop this behavior once aggro is drawn. Crawling Horrors drop Nightmare Fuel and restore Sanity by 15 points when killed. Crawling Nightmares will drop fuel but will not restore Sanity.


The Terrorbeak is a Shadow Creature with an enormous beak and a slim body with several small legs. It isn't as common as the Crawling Horror, but will still attack the player. 

Unlike Crawling Horrors, Terrorbeaks only spawn when the player's Sanity is below 15%. Their Sanity aura will further decrease the player's Sanity by -100/min. Terrorbeaks drop Nightmare Fuel and restore Sanity by 33 points when killed, which is enough to cause Shadow Creatures to become neutral again (even at 0 sanity) for characters with a maximum Sanity of 200 or less. Players can attack them most easily by trapping them on the coast or by hitting them with a Boomerang, or any other ranged weapon.

Nightmarebeaks are a version of Terrorbeaks encountered in the Ruins (and sometimes in Caves). They are able to attack the player, regardless of Sanity level. They can only spawn from Nightmare Lights/Fissures and do not restore Sanity when killed.

The Terrorbeak moves about as fast as a player with a Walking Cane and cannot be outrun easily. If it is allowed to strike at the player, it will pause for a second to make a threatening animation which can be used to create some distance. If outrun by a great distance, Nightmarebeaks will return to the Nightmare Light or Nightmare Fissure they spawned from. Terrorbeaks, on the other hand, will just materialize closer to the player, as long as their sanity remains low.

Terrorbeaks, like Crawling Horrors, have a "pathfinding" behavior once spawned in. Terrorbeaks keep this behavior going until aggro is drawn.

Terrorbeaks produce a menacing (and sometimes), snarling growl, once aggro is drawn, which is definitely what a player should keep an ear out for. Nightmarebeaks produce the same growl, but with an increased echo and distortion. This audio cue is also used when the Terrorbeak/Nightmarebeak attacks.

Shipwrecked icon.png Swimming Horror

The Swimming Horror is a Shadow Creature introduced in the Shipwrecked DLC. It will spawn in the Shallow Ocean. When a player sails past a Swimming Horror, it will swim towards them and try to attack them. It will not give up chase unless the player leaves the Shallows or returns to land.

A Swimming Horror

In the Hamlet DLC, Swimming Horrors can also be found in the Lily Pond biome.

Don't Starve Together icon.png Terrorclaw

The Terrorclaw is exclusive to Don't Starve Together, introduced in Return of Them.

At low sanity (below 10%), Terrorclaws spawn in place of Terrorbreaks and Crawling Horrors for players sailing the ocean. When a player lands, all Terrorclaws following them transform into Terrorbeaks. Inversely, Terrorbeaks transform into Terrorclaws when the player boards a boat.

Terrorclaws only move in the water and teleport close to the player to attack. When attacked, they do not disappear and continue to attack the player.

Killing a Terrorclaw regenerates 15 Sanity Meter.png and drops 1 Nightmare Fuel plus a 50% chance of an extra one.

Night Hand

The Night Hand is a Shadow Creature that extends from the darkness in an attempt to extinguish the player's fire. It is always accompanied by the sound of a creepy music box. Up to 3 Night Hands can spawn at the same time.

A Night Hand will reduce the strength (or intensity) of a fire by 50%. The more hands that appear, the less damage they can do to a fire (1 Hand = <60% per hand. 3 Hands = <30% per hand). Night Hands have a Sanity aura of -40/min. When stepped on, a Night Hand will retract back into the darkness for a few seconds, after which it will make another attempt to extinguish the fire. If the player chases a Night Hand far enough into total darkness, it will permanently disappear.

When a fire is at its highest strength, it is unlikely for three hands to completely snuff it out. A potential tactic is to max the fire and stand near to max it out again after the attack, although this burns quite a few resources and does not get rid of the Night Hands. A second fire nearby, or a Miner Hat, "cancels" Night Hands altogether for the night. Placing Fireflies around the fire can completely prevent Night Hands from ever showing up.

If the player stokes their fire after the Night Hand appears, it is possible to see the "end" of the night hand. Forcing the Night Hand to retract until its wrist is touching its end will "kill" the Night Hand.

The Night Hand can be destroyed if a light source becomes bright enough, such as if a Night Hand appears when a fire is low and it is immediately stoked to full, or if the player puts on a pair of Moggles.

Don't Starve Together icon.png Don't Starve Together

In Don't Starve Together, 1 or 2 Night Hands appears during the night as soon as players are below 75% Sanity Meter.png. The number of Night Hands is random and independent of sanity. There is a random delay of 2 to 6 minutes of night time between two Night Hand appearances. A player with less than 4 days on a server will not get Night Hand.

Wavey Jones appears in the ocean in place of Night Hands.

Don't Starve Together icon.png Wavey Jones

Wavey Jones is a Shadow Creature exclusive to Don't Starve Together introduced in Return of Them. A Wavey Jones spawns on the ocean in place of Night Hands, appearing for players with sanity below 75%. It attaches to the border of a boat and spawns two hands on the deck.

The two hands try to raise Anchors and Masts and lower Winged Sails. If a player on the boat has less than 50% sanity they also try to extinguish Fires. If a player has less than 25% sanity they also try to remove Boat Patches and Trusty Tapes. Removed Boat Patches create a small leak, 50 hull damage and drops 1 Boat Patch. Removed Trusty Tapes create a small leak and drop a Trusty Tape.

Players can stay close to the hands to force them to retract briefly. Wavey Jones's body will be driven off by the proximity of a player, but will reappear 10 seconds later. Wavey Jones disappears completely after being driven off for the third time or when daylight appears.

Mr. Skitts

Mr. Skitts is a small, serpent-like Shadow Creature that can appear at any time while the player's Sanity is below 82.5%. He cannot attack or be attacked. When approached, he will turn and slither away, disappearing from the screen. His only purpose is to remind players of their Sanity level and provide a scare.

Mr. Skitts will sometimes flicker on the screen for a fraction of a second, then disappear. He can also be seen flying into Obelisks as they are raised and flying back out of them when they are lowered.

He can also be seen coming out of chests in trapped set pieces and ornate chests when the player opens them, springing the trap.

Shipwrecked icon.png Mr. Skittish

Mr. Skittish is the Shipwrecked version of Mr. Skitts and will only appear on sea.



Eyes appear in total darkness when the player's Sanity is below 80%. They do not affect the player in any way, and will disappear when approached. As the player loses Sanity, more Eyes will spawn, appearing more intense with lower Sanity. Trees and other obstacles can block eyes, commonly forming a one-eyed Shadow Creature.

In Epilogue: Checkmate of Adventure Mode, Eyes will be visible in the darkness regardless of the player's Sanity.

Shadow Watcher

The Shadow Watcher is a long, thin Shadow Creature that appears around light sources at night (including charged Lightning Rods) when the player's Sanity drops below 65%. It cannot attack or be attacked, and will disappear when a player stands on its eyes or when dawn breaks.

In Don't Starve Together, the Ancient Fuelweaver's Mind Control attack consists of several Shadow Watchers crowding onto the insane player's screen and preventing them from moving.

Spear.png Fighting Strategy

Crawling Horrors, Terrorbeaks, and Swimming Horrors can be attacked if they are actively pursuing the player. The basic tactic when fighting any of these Shadow Creatures is kiting them, by waiting for them to attack, dodging the attack then hitting them. Since they teleport away when damaged, the player won't be able to hit them more than once. However it is possible for them to teleport within the melee range, allowing the player to land a second hit. It is recommended to always swing twice in case this occurs.

Since they are only visible to the player, mobs cannot be recruited to defend against Shadow Creatures. However, there is an exception in Willow's Bernie, which is the only Mob in the game that's able to taunt Shadow Creatures and attack them.

Below is the number of hits it takes (with a default damage modifier) to kill Shadow Creatures. The Weather Pain is not included due to the random nature of its projectile.

Weapon Fire Dart.png Fire Staff.png

Tooth Trap.png Old Bell.png

Fishing Rod.pngBug Net.png Lucy the Axe.png Shovel.png Pitchfork.png

Hammer.png Torch.png Umbrella.png

Walking Cane.png Willow's Lighter.png

Axe.png Pickaxe.png

Luxury Axe.png Opulent Pickaxe.png


PickSlashAxe.png Spear.png Bat Bat.png Ham Bat.png Morning Star.png Slurtle Slime.pngTentacle Spike.png

Battle Spear.png

Thulecite Club.png Dark Sword.png Blow Dart.png Gunpowder.png
No. of hits for
Immune 95 30 24 15 14 12 10 7-14 6 or 10 8 7 6 4 2
No. of hits for
Crawling Horror.pngSwimming Horror.png
Immune 71 23 18 12 10 9 8 6-11 5 or 7 6 6 5 3 2

Gift Icon.pngDownloadable Content

In the Hamlet DLC, Crawling Horrors and Terrorbeaks can chase the player through Lily Pond Biomes, attacking along with Swimming Horror. Also, Crawling Nightmares and Nightmarebeaks can spawn when non-Nightmarefuel items are given to the End's Well. Those spawned at End's Well are the same as in the Ruin, restoring no Sanity.

Placeholder.png Trivia


  • Shadow Creatures are one of the only mobs able to freely travel through walls and are the only mobs that can freely travel across the barrier that separates land from ocean. They can only do this while not aggressive. When Sanity drops below 15%, they will manifest into a physical form, unable to perform such feats.
  • Attacking a Crawling Horror or Terrorbeak will cause other Shadow Creatures of those types to become "real", regardless of Sanity.
  • A group of Mr. Skitts will briefly appear when Maxwell summons a puppet using his Codex Umbra.
  • Mr. Skitts was shown as the "author" of the Lost Fragment mod.
  • It is possible for a lightning strike to extinguish the Night Hand just as it spawns.
  • In Don't Starve: Reign of Giants, if one follows a Shadow Watcher's body away from a fire while wearing Moggles on a full moon, it's possible to see it despawn abruptly.
  • In Don't Starve Together, Ghost Characters can assist living players at night by chasing away Night Hands.
  • Although Shadow Creatures cannot be examined, there are unused examination quotes for Swimming Horrors and Mr. Skittish in the game files.
  • The smoke emitted by the Shadow Thurible and Tragic Torch skin in DST sometimes takes the shape of a Crawling Horror, a Terrorbeak, or a Shadow Hand.
  • Wavey Jones and Terrorclaws were introduced in the Troubled Waters update.

Codex Umbra.pngLore

  • Shadow Creatures make several appearances throughout the William Carter Puzzles.
    • There is a Shadow Watcher in the source code of the fourth and the sixth puzzles. This is the only time a Shadow Watcher is pictured with an end to its body, which resembles that of a Ghost.
    • The fifth puzzle includes what appears to be a journal page documenting an encounter with a Terrorbeak, presumably by Maxwell conducting rituals with the Codex Umbra.
    • A Terrorbeak, a Crawling Horror, and a Night Hand appear in the source code of the eighth puzzle.
    • Mr. Skitts and a Terrorbeak appear briefly in an intermission animation in the eighth puzzle.
    • In the animation found in the eighth puzzle, The Amazing Maxwell - The Final Act, a Shadow Watcher appears on screen just before Maxwell and Charlie are grabbed by the Codex Umbra.
    • A Shadow Watcher also appears in one of the final images of the eighth puzzle where it can be seen in the ruined apartment that belonged to Maxwell.
  • Several Shadow Creatures appear in the Cyclum Puzzles comic.
  • An image of a Terrorbeak eating a small figure can be spotted on a news article in the animated short Next of Kin. The headline reads "Do Evil Shadow Monsters Lurk Among Us?"
  • A Terrorbeak torments young Willow in From the Ashes. It is shown to be repelled by Bernie.
  • A photo of a person standing next a Shadow Watcher can be seen hanging on the wall of George T. Witherstone's apartment, as seen in the animated short C'est La Vie.

Cultural References

  • Shadow Creatures are similar to the monsters in Lovecraftian literature; otherworldly beings that are able to move through dimensions and cause humans to suffer insanity. Their names are also allusions to Lovecraftian stories such as The Lurking Fear and The Crawling Chaos.
  • Sleep paralysis victims often report seeing deformed shadowy creatures creeping around the room. Sleep paralysis is also commonly associated with lucid dreaming. The description for the Dark Sword is "lucid dreaming damage."
  • The Swimming Horror's appearance closely resembles the general appearance for the Loch Ness Monster, a Scottish cryptid.
  • Wavey Jones' name is a reference to the phrase Davy Jones' Locker, which is a common metaphor for drowning among sailors.

Mosquito.png Bugs

  • A Shadow Watcher will disappear a few seconds after day breaks.
  • The music associated with a Night Hand will continue to play indefinitely sometimes. This can be resolved by save/quitting, then reloading the game.
  • A Night Hand can still extinguish a fire even after the player has triggered its retreating animation by stepping on it.
  • A Terrorbeak's body can disappear, with only the beak and legs visible.
  • All the Eyes that appear in the dark may only have one eye.
  • Eyes may appear in a lit area.
  • When a Shadow Watcher appears on snow or a light background, it may be seen as just an outline.
  • A Night Hand may appear even when Sanity is more than half full.
  • A Night Hand may appear in the Ocean.
    • If this occurs in the Shipwrecked DLC when the Night Hand is targeting a land-based fire, the Hand will be stopped by the land border and be unable to extinguish the fire, and will be stuck until day arrives.
  • In the Shipwrecked DLC, Crawling Horrors and Terrorbeaks can teleport to the Ocean when hit, causing them to get stuck on the shore line, unable to get back to land. They can still be attacked next to the border, however.
  • In Don't Starve Together, if a player walks away and comes back to their camp while a night hand is reaching for it, sometimes it will stay in place until it is either chased by the player or it is destroyed by a light source.

Blueprint.png Gallery