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The shrieker is a monster in NetHack. While it has no attacks and moves very slowly, its shriek can aggravate monsters and has a 10% chance[1]) to summon a random monster somewhere on the level. The summoned monster has a 113 chance[2] of being a purple worm; the explanation given for this is that purple worms enjoy consuming shriekers and are attracted by their shriek.[3] #Chatting with a shrieker will also cause it to shriek; this aggravates monsters, but cannot summon any.[4] The shrieker corpse also gives a 20% chance of poison resistance, and is safe to eat (unless they are rotten); further, as the shrieker is considered a fungus, consuming a shrieker corpse does not break the vegan or vegetarian conducts.

The line "The shrieker shrieks." has gained a reputation as being one of the most memorable lines in NetHack.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Baby purple worms now appear in place of adult purple worms when the latter would be out of depth.


Some shriekers are guaranteed on the last level of the Caveman Quest.


According to Dungeons & Dragons, the shrieker is a large purple fungus.


Shriekers in SLASH'EM, like all F except lichens, may rise from the dead. Additionally, they are incapable of summoning purple worms[5] but are slightly more likely to summon a monster with a shriek (18 chance instead of 110). The first change may be because two other monsters, the squealer and the mobat, have the same shriek in SLASH'EM. Shriekers are also immune to death rays.

Encyclopedia entry

With a single, savage thrust of her spear, the warrior-woman impaled the fungus, silencing it. However, it was too late: the alarm had been raised [...]
Suddenly, a large, dark shape rose from the abyss before them, its fetid bulk looming overhead...The monster was some kind of great dark worm, but that was about all they were sure of.

[ The Adventurers, Epic IV, by Thomas A. Miller ]


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.6.0. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-360}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.