We know he could not have survived 210 years in the fridge because there's not enough water or food, and yes, ghouls do indeed need water at least, as the ghouls in Necropolis die of thirst if you take their water chip and don't fix their pump.

  • 1
    Follow up of that quest implies that ghouls, for some reason, doesn't require anything to stay alive. Thus being the perfect "candidates" for enslavement. So, either Fallout 1/West Coast ghouls are different, or Bethesda doesn't care about pre Fallout 3 lore.
    – user28434
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 23:20
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    nah, I see no reason west coast ghouls to be different, I think Billy was lying and Bullet is stupid
    – Dave
    Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


The theory is that Ghouls, while motionless, can survive indefinitely on radiation alone. That's why besides Billy you see entire hoards of ghouls at places where no food could come in (like collapsed railway stations and underground bunkers that remain sealed until you show up).

And as you might have noticed ghouls in several areas just stand still or lie down under stuff, this is theorized to be a sort of hibernation, while hibernating they don't need any food or water just radiation and are able to burn their own body for substance... but as soon as they become active they need food and water to replace their expended energy.

Billy also acts like him getting stuck was only a recent event, so it might be possible that he just hibernated those 200 years sustaining himself on radiation and his own body whenever he woke up.

But this might also be a possible lore screw up, Fallout is FILLED with them.

  • Bullet (Gunner NPC from the same quest chain) wants to use Billy "motionsly", and says that ghouls make the best slaves because they require nothing to stay alive. So, it's weird.
    – user28434
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 23:26
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    @user28434 could be a lore screw up, or he is just stupid.
    – A.bakker
    Commented Dec 26, 2023 at 9:50

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