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I spawned a bunch of creepers in the morning and locked them all inside a "creeper pen" I made. And then when night falls only 4 out of the 20+ in the pen were remaining. So where did they go? How could they get out when there was no exit in the pen for them? I don't understand??!!

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6  
Give them a hug. Creepers love hugs. –  Prinny Brocka Mar 3 '12 at 22:47
    
Why are you doing this? Please be careful, it would be a shame if a village was nuked by 20+ creepers :) –  The Ugly Nov 7 '13 at 16:48
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1 Answer

Monsters can despawn if you get too far away.

  • A mob will immediately despawn if ever there is no player within 128 blocks of it. Note that this appears to be a sphere, not a cylinder from map top to bottom.
  • A mob that has had no player within 32 blocks of it for more than 30 seconds has a 1 in 800 chance of despawning on each game tick (1/20th of a second). That means that such a mob will survive for just under a minute, on average, from the time they spawned or were last within 32 blocks of a player.
  • All hostile mobs in a world will despawn if the difficulty is set to peaceful, regardless as to where the player is positioned in the world.

Only hostile mobs, squid, and ocelots can despawn as of 1.2.3

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"... and squid can despawn..." THANKS NOTCH! –  IrishPersonality Feb 26 '12 at 17:39
1  
@disponser - They have sharp teeth! So hostile. –  user9983 Feb 26 '12 at 17:42
    
and thats why I'm thanking notch. –  IrishPersonality Feb 26 '12 at 17:55
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