TWD Center for Zombology
The only place doing any sort of semi-scientific studies of zombie behavior was located in Woodberry. And their grant ran out, so to speak. Thus we, the viewers, are left to wonder about the how zombies would react in certain situations not shown on the show. So here is a list of “rules” we have learned about how zombies behave from watching the show. These may need some amendments, or editing.
Following that are some questions we can shamelessly fan-wank. If we can build our wankery on these rules, all the better.
- Zombies shamble, estimated maximum speed ½ human average, around 1.25 mph.
- Zombies can negotiate steps or stairs, but not ladders or the like. No climbing natural vertical surfaces (trees, cliffs).
- In the absence of prey stimulus, zombies wander at random.
- Zombies possess no ability to detect threats to their continued existence. They will walk into deathtraps either pursuing stimulus or randomly.
- Zombies can see, hear, and smell and may or may not possess other forms of perception. They respond to living beings when they see them or hear them. They ignore humans cloaked in zombie gore.
- Zombies “claw” at seen or sensed prey, but are unable to think of how to get to said prey other than straight line, closest route.
- Zombies deprived of sensory input (?) will enter a sort of dormant state. We have seen dormant zombies inside of buildings, but never out in the open.
- Zombies deprived of their jaws and arms enter a non-aggressive state and no longer pursue prey.
- Single zombies exhibit low physical strength. Glass doors are sufficient to keep a single zombie at bay. Only large groups of zombies push through barriers.
- Zombies seem to follow other zombies around when their random paths cross (true or not?). If true is this how hordes form?
- Zombies always moan when attacking prey.
- Zombies cannot manipulate fasteners of any type, including doorknobs. (Evidence; zombie guards in riot gear at the prison still had helmets on even though that prevented them from eating. And there were zombies trapped in tents in the Atlanta Skybridge when Daryl and Carol tried to get into Grady Hospital.)
- Zombies seem to favor the path of least resistance when shambling aimlessly at random. (Evidence; season 1 had a small horde moving along the interstate highway, Daryl drove a car into the leading edge of a horde, again on a road, in season 3-4?)
Questions about the acuity of zombie senses.
- How far can zombies see? In season 5, while driving the fire engine our heroes see a huge group of zombies in the distance, but the zombies do not respond to the survivors standing on the road looking at them through binoculars.
- On more than one occasion we have seen survivors lighting a fire as a decoy. Does this mean there is a thermal component to their senses, or does fire just provide two stimuli – movement, and noise (crackling)?
*Can zombies remember? When Daryl and Aaron are trapped in the car, Daryl suggests placing something over the windows, so that if they can’t be seen maybe they will ignore them.
- At what distance can a zombie determine if a walking bipedal form is human or zombie?
Questions about response to stimulus.
*Does naturally occurring noise and movement attract zombies? Are there throngs of zombies at the base of waterfalls, or at the beach where waves crash against the shore?
Questions about obstacles.
*Can zombies cross water? I think swimming is right out, it would involve a change to the method of locomotion similar to going from shambling to climbing.
- If zombies can’t swim, do they recognize water as a barrier, or would they walk straight into a lake?
- If a zombie walked into a lake, would it continue to walk along the bottom, or float up after reaching a certain water depth? Would they float vertically (like a water treading posture) or horizontally (like a swimming posture)?
*Data point- The prison had a large creek near it and we never saw zombies walking off into the water. But then again, that probably wouldn’t have made for gripping television viewing, and insurance issues would probably not favor having extras in zombie gear getting into deep water and try not to swim.
- Since zombies don’t recognize nor try to go around obstacles, they must trip and fall down. Some number of humans tripping and falling down results in head injuries. Are there zombies tripping and falling and bashing their own heads open against rocks?
Other random questions.
- Zombies resulting from someone dying while lying in bed, apparently don’t get up and start moving about unless stimulated to do so.
- Weren’t there some corpses in the hallways of the prison that were just corpses, not zombies? If so, why weren’t they zombies?