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A metallivore is any monster in NetHack that subsists on a diet of metal objects.


The following monsters are considered metallivorous:

Metallivores will often seek out metallic items to consume, and start with the topmost object of a pile if it is one they can consume.[1][2] The exact type of items that a metallivore will eat is dependent on the monster:

  • Rock moles and xorns can eat any item made of iron, copper, silver, gold, mithril, or some other metal.[3]
  • Rust monsters can only eat iron since it is the only rustable material;[3] if one attempts to eat a rustproofed item, it will spit out the object, removing its proofing, and become stunned.[4]
  • Non-rustproofed iron objects are treats to pet metallivores.[5]

Metallivores are incapable of consuming an amulet of strangulation or a ring of slow digestion made of an edible metallic material[6][7] - artifacts will resist being eaten 1920 of the time, and non-tame metallivores will additionally avoid eating cross-aligned artifacts at all, while pet metallivores will similarly avoid eating your quest artifact.[8][9]

When a non-tame metallivore eats an applicable metallic object, it heals itself an amount of HP up to that object's weight, and it has a chance of leaving behind a pile of rocks.[10][11]


Hostile metallivores are somewhat annoying to deal with, as they may reach and consume gold and other metallic loot and before you can find it. Conversely, pet metallivores are fairly easy to keep fed, since most monsters that you defeat will drop metal armor or weapons you do not need. A pile of darts is a tasty meal for a pet rock mole, and a rust monster will happily eat all those pairs of iron shoes that are cluttering up the Gnomish Mines - be sure not to throw weapons at a pet metallivore! Metallivores can also be used to escape punishment by feeding them the heavy iron ball chained to you.

Some players will polymorph themselves into metallivores so that they can gain intrinsics from eating jewelry, depending on the selection of metallic rings available. The xorn in particular has the most carrying capacity and combat capability, though polymorphing into one breaks torso armor; the rock mole is the slowest and has low carrying capacity, but shrinks out of torso armor rather than destroying it.


You hear a crunching sound.
A monster is eating metal somewhere on this level.[12]



In UnNetHack, metallivores may eat through iron bars.


<Monster> chews through the iron bars.
A monster is eating through iron bars.[13]
You hear a crunching noise.
As above, but you cannot see the monster.[14]

See also