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How far away can an enderman reach and pick up a block? It would be useful to know for building endermen defenses around a base. I understand fences keep them out, but how far away from my buildings do the fences need to be to keep any enderhands off of them? I'd like to know how far laterally as well as how far above and below them they can grab.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Reportedly at PAX (summary) it was said that they have a two-block reach: you'll want to have a one-block buffer zone between the fence and anything of value.

The reach, based on the pictures I've seen of the Endermen's destruction (and my own experience), appears to be directly in front, 1-2 blocks laterally, and from ground to eye level. Diagram:

Enderman facing to the right -> o ..
                                o ..
                                o ..

o : Enderman body
. : Blocks that are fair game

Evidence of Enderman mischief:

Coincidentally, this mirrors the one-block buffer zone you need to have for beds in order to sleep undisturbed.

Interestingly, vines might be a better alternative to fences, if you're okay with the appearance: Endermen will take the vine block before taking anything behind it. Since vines automatically regenerate, you'll have a defense that's more compact than a fence with a buffer zone.

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Is that two blocks above their head and two blocks below their feet, too? – Matt Sep 14 '11 at 18:42
@Matt I haven't seen anyone report (nor have I seen myself) Endermen removing blocks above or below themselves: they reach 1-2 blocks directly in front of themselves, from foot level to eye level. I've added a diagram to illustrate. – user3389 Sep 14 '11 at 18:59
Vines is a brilliant solution. Can spiders climb vines? – Raven Dreamer Sep 14 '11 at 19:24
@Raven I haven't seen any reports of testing that out (I'll try later), but vines for all intents and purposes are transparent (you can walk through them), so I would assume spiders can climb them as long as they can climb the blocks behind the vines. – user3389 Sep 14 '11 at 19:28

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