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I've noticed that mobs don't just walk off of cliffs on their own accord. They stop when they sense a cliff (unless they are chasing you). How high does a cliff have to be for them not to walk off of it?

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14  
Related fact: Mobs think signposts are solid blocks, and will walk off a platform entirely surrounded by signposts. (The signposts need to be attached to the side of the platform, not on top of it) –  Raven Dreamer Jun 3 '11 at 21:14
    
Also related: I've seen a gravity trap set up next to a zombie spawner that exploits the fact that zombies seem to walk right off of cliffs if they approach the edge at an angle. If they hit the edge straight on, they stop. (The player has to stand near the spawner and across a chasm in order to lure the zombies to fall down the cliff.) –  Jason Plank Jun 4 '11 at 2:44
    
im pretty sure signs placed on the edge of the blocks would make the mobs fall off, because they see the sign as a block, but they can't stand on it once they walk off. I wonder if the same would work for trapdoors though, because it would take alot less wood, and they can stack, it would save alot of time on my huge mobtrap if i could use trapdoors instead of signs... –  user10792 Jun 30 '11 at 15:31

5 Answers 5

A pig will voluntarily walk off an edge 3 blocks high, but not an edge 4 blocks high.

To investigate this, I started with @xfs's proof that a pig will not jump off blocks in a 9-patch arrangement if the drop is too high. I then constructed the following apparatus to find the maximum distance a pig would voluntarily jump off:

2 Block height
As you can see, a 2 block drop is fine

3 Block height
A 3 block drop is also fine

4 Block height
At a 4 block drop the pigs no longer jump off voluntarily

Conclusion: The highest drop pigs will drop off voluntarily is 3 blocks

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3  
Makes sense, since 3 blocks is the maximum safe drop height. +1 for science. –  lunboks Jun 5 '11 at 14:19

A quick experiment.

  1. None of them fell off
  2. All of them fell off at the inner corners
  3. All of them quickly fell off at sign posts.
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Not technically an answer to the question, but +1 anyway for a nice experiment. –  fredley Jun 5 '11 at 13:13
    
How'd you get the signs hovering? –  Nick T Jun 5 '11 at 20:16
    
@Nick signs can be stacked. –  xfs Jun 5 '11 at 21:12

From what I have seen, most mobs wont wander off a two block high cliff unless they have seen you. It's very difficult to say since if you get too close their behavior changes. It could also be different on a mob by mob basis. I have read that cows will ignore cliffs entirely and plummet to their doom!

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4  
All the peaceful monsters will. I've seen plenty of them fall in a large open pit mine and die. I have a feeling this might have changed with more recent versions, though. –  Loren Pechtel Jun 3 '11 at 22:34
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@Loren the pigs in my grilled pork machine only seem to fall when they are pushed off, there's no voluntarily walking off the platform. –  fredley Jun 3 '11 at 23:28
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@fredley: As I said, I think it might have changed....3 days in an open pit mine and nothing fell. Since I was used to several things per day falling it must have changed. –  Loren Pechtel Jun 4 '11 at 4:56
    
@fredley: I'm going to revise my answer again--I just saw a pig go splat. I didn't see it go down, just the splash of it's death. –  Loren Pechtel Jun 30 '11 at 16:42

There may be some "sensing" of elevation change before an animal will fall off, but I've seen many unwilling creatures simply wander to their death - so there seems to be no height restriction.

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If you are holding wheat in your hand, a mob will follow you off of any drop, and will happily drop off a cliff while circling you for the wheat.

If you are leading a pig wearing a saddle and carrying another player, this is a very easy way to get the related achievement - lead the pig to the cliff, and stand at the edge. The pig will circle around you and drop off.

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