With the new 1.3.1 version, do zombie pigmen spawn immediately adjacent to the nether portal in the overworld, or do they spawn anywhere nearby like mobs from a mob spawner?

ETA: I'm interested in clarifying the vague wording in the wiki, which states they spawn "near" a portal. Contrast the wiki entry for zombie pigmen:

1.3 Zombie Pigmen can spawn in the Overworld near Nether portals.

with the one for monster spawners:

While the block is active, it will spawn mobs within an 8 × 3 × 8 block area (8 wide and 3 high and 8 deep), centered on the corner of the spawner block with the lower x and z coordinates. Mobs can spawn anywhere in this range that is suitable, even if the immediate vicinity of the spawner block itself is not suitable. The horizontal distribution is nonlinear, with positions near the spawner more likely than ones farther away.

2 Answers 2


Looking at the source code, near a portal means on the base of the obsidian portal frame. The pig zombies will also look in a completely random direction.

  • What happens if the top of the portal frame is covered?
    – fredley
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 8:45
  • The only way the portal frame is covered is in that the portal frame is covering it. Since the portal frame is not a solid block, it does not block mobs from spawning.
    – Havvy
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 9:55
  • Can you clarify? To me the portal frame means the obsidian - which is a solid block...
    – fredley
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 10:00
  • Err, oh. I'm using portal frame incorrectly. I was using it as the portal block and the frame at the same time. That is badly confusing. They spawn at the base of the frame, not the top.
    – Havvy
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 10:26
  • Thank you! That's exactly what I was looking for. So putting the portal indoors will contain any pigman spawns. Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 12:18

Zombie pigmen will spawn in the portal, just like when you use it yourself.

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