Crawling Horror

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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

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.

Spear.png Fighting Strategy

Crawling Horrors, Terrorbeaks, and Swimming Horrors can be attacked if they are actively pursuing the player. Despite their intimidating appearance, individually they are very easy to fight: the basic tactic is to kite them, by walking close enough for them to attack, dodging the attack by walking back, then hitting them. Since they teleport away when damaged, the player won't be able to hit them more than once. However, they will occasionally pause to perform a "yelling" animation, during which it is possible to get one extra hit in without them teleporting, for a maximum of two hits. it is possible for them to teleport within melee range, allowing the player to land a second hit simply by holding the attack button (F by default).

While multiple Crawling Horrors are easy to deal with, a player with incredibly low sanity may have to fend off one or more Terrorbeaks alongside them. If this occurs, it is better to simply run and make distance in order to fight Terrorbeaks individually, due to their sheer speed.

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.

Tornadoes spawned by the Weather Pain can stop a Shadow Creature's teleports due to its fast and continuous attacks. It is very useful for stopping a group of them during the Nightmare Cycle.

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.

Ancient Cane Icon.png Puzzles

Picture with Maxwell.png

In the trailer for the Progress update, the person gregj08 first discovered the QR code in the trailer at 2:16 seconds, this QR code introduced to the site with a picture with Maxwell ( whose mouth is closed with a zipper. Sometimes the phrase “Your eyes deceived you / I’m afraid they’ve lied” may appear briefly in the picture. / What matters most / is on the inside”. This was a clue to what to look for in the html code of the page where the phrase “Forbidden Knowledge doesn't come easy. To unzip these lips you'll need to take a long hard look inside.” The word "unzip" refers to the zip file format. After the players did some minor manipulations with the picture, turning it into a zip file, they got a picture with Wilson in which he was attacked by shadows.

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 Shadow Creature will cause any other Shadow Creature to become "real" and aggressive, regardless of the Sanity level. The hostility of a Crawling Horror, Terrorbeak or Swimming Horror may end after an attack if the player's sanity is higher than 15%.
  • Shadow Creatures are the only creatures that cannot be examined but can be attacked by the players.
  • It is possible for a lightning strike to extinguish the Night Hand just as it spawns.
  • 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.


  • Shadow Creatures make several appearances throughout the William Carter Puzzles.
    • A Terrorbeak, a Crawling Horror, and a Night Hand appear in the source code of the eighth puzzle
  • Several Shadow Creatures appear in the Cyclum Puzzles comic.

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."

Mosquito.png Bugs

  • 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.

Blueprint.png Gallery