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In what way do animals in Minecraft spawn? It looks to me that they spawn more during the night (but where there are torches) and more kind of around you / around some other human player. Am I right, or does it work some other way?

Thank you.

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In 1.8, apparently badly... :( – Cyclops Oct 24 '11 at 12:19
up vote 11 down vote accepted

The Minecraft Wiki shows that there are many variables that affect animal spawnings as of version 1.3.2.

One in ten newly generated chunks will contain mobs (includes any animal, monster, or utility). They can show up in as many as four 'packs' of the same mob. They will always spawn on the highest point (the blocks that you see if you were flying). Therefore, if the world generator had to choose between spawning an animal on a ledge or inside a cave, it would choose the ledge. The block that the animal spawns on must be opaque (not glass, water, lava, etc).

Pigs spawn in groups of either three or four. Sheep spawn in groups of two to eight. Cows spawn in groups of four, and can spawn up to twelve. Chickens spawn in groups of as much as three. When chicken eggs are thrown, there is a 1/8 chance of a baby chicken spawning. There is also a 1/32 chance of four spawning instead of one. Before version 1.6, they only spawned when the light level was over nine, now they spawn regardless of whatever light level.

The block two blocks above the opaque block must be non-opaque (tree leaf, water, lava, glass). Animals (excluding squid) do not spawn in ocean biomes. No animals normally spawn in desert biomes. The spawning of animals is dependent on the world seed. This means that if I make a world with default settings and the seed 'minecraft' and you do that same, the cows and pigs will spawn in the exact same places.

Very rarely, new animals can spawn in already generated chunks, like monsters. When this happens, as well as when mobs spawn from a mob spawner, the following rules apply:

  • The light level must be nine or more.
  • The opaque must be a grass block (not a dirt block).

Unlike monsters, animals do not spontaneously despawn, except for wild ocelots and wolves (which can despawn only when they are hostile). They do not despawn even if the player is far from them.

Note that squids have different spawning criteria then other mobs. They can spawn at any light level underwater. They will also spawn in player made pools and sometimes they will spawn in underground water deposits. It is technically possible for them to spawn in one block of water, but that is not very likely.

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Why is this post CW? – badp Oct 27 '12 at 9:04
It says in the spoiler, so that people can edit it as needed, as Minecraft changes over time. – Jeffrey Lin Oct 27 '12 at 9:53
Everybody on the internet can already edit your posts with the suggested edit system :) – badp Oct 27 '12 at 10:24
Then what is the point of the CW? – Jeffrey Lin Oct 28 '12 at 1:19
it's different. community wiki implies for everyone to join in and edit it if they please. on the other hand I don't want other people to edit my own answers because then that wouldn't by my answers any longer. also, in that case one person would get all the reputation (on behalf of everyone that edited and improved his answer). CW exists for a reason. – pootzko Oct 28 '12 at 15:22

Prior to version 1.6, all ground passive mobs (not squid) will spawn at light level 9 or above on grass blocks. From version 1.6 onwards they will spawn on grass at any light level. Squid will spawn at any light level under water.


  • Pigs spawn in groups of 3-4
  • Sheep spawn in groups of 2-8
  • Cows spawn in groups of 4-12
  • Chickens spawn in groups of 1-3 (and a 1/8th chance from a thrown egg)
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As of 1.6, they all can spawn at any light level. – Ullallulloo May 24 '11 at 15:30
how many grass blocks sqaured do u need to animals to spawn? 1.8 put me on a group of islands in the middle of the sea XD – user13385 Oct 24 '11 at 12:10

In Addition: Animals, and Monster-Mobs too, ONLY Spawn a few 100 blocks around human Players. Animals only Spawn on dirt blocks and cobble stone

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The wiki has a good overview, but the key points are as follows:

  • Passive mobs don't despawn when they are far from the player, except for angered wolves and ocelots (which by definition are not passive).
  • Passive mobs are spawned on chunks that have just been generated. They spawn above the highest opaque block that has at least 2 transparent blocks above it.
  • Passive mobs also have the chance to spawn on existing chunks, but at a much reduced rate compared to hostile mobs. Passive mobs need a light level of at least 9 and a grass block to spawn in this manner.
  • Animals other than squids will not spawn in ocean and desert. Obviously, squids only spawn in water, which generally means ocean.
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I learned that squid can spawn only in water, but it will take about 5-10 days (in the game). Squid can spawn in even 1 block of water.

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