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Strangulation is a property in NetHack that induces a delayed instadeath by choking.

The only source of the property is wearing an amulet of strangulation.


Strangulation abuses your strength, impedes your ability to breathe and will kill you in six turns. While being strangled, you cannot performing several actions that require breathing: you are unable to quaff, operate whistles or other similar instruments, read scrolls if you are currently blind, or cast spells.[1][2][3]

Monster polyforms that either lack a head or are both breathless and mindless cannot be strangled[4] - breathlessness alone will not protect you, since the only source of the property also stop blood flow to your brain.


If you can't breathe air, how can you drink liquid?
You attempted to quaff while being strangled.
You are being strangled.
You are being strangled by wearing an amulet of strangulation, as viewed via enlightenment.

Turns to live

The messages below correspond to the amount of turns you have left to live in the Alt. message column occur when you are breathless, and 150 of the time otherwise.[5]

Message Alt. message Turns left to live
"It constricts your throat!" "It constricts your throat!" 5
"You find it hard to breathe." "Your neck is becoming constricted." 4
"You're gasping for air." "Your blood is having trouble reaching your brain." 3
"You can no longer breathe." "The pressure on your neck increases." 2
"You're turning blue." "Your consciousness is fading." 1
"You suffocate." "You suffocate." 0



In SLASH'EM, the spores of disgusting molds and black molds cannot affect you if you are being strangled.

Gaining invulnerability from a potion of invulnerability does not prevent death from strangulation.


In GruntHack, being engulfed by a gelatinous cube or water elemental causes strangulation that kills you in three turns.


In dNetHack, strangulation is handled entirely differently: Your character has a breath timer for various purposes, where the timer is set to a maximum amount of turns equal to your constitution divided by 3, and being strangled or otherwise robbed of air decrements the breath timer by 1 per turn until you can breathe again, usually by removing or stopping the cause of air loss. While you can breath normally, the breath timer regenerates at a rate of 1 per turn until full. This means that strangulation is not guaranteed to be fatal, but is far more dangerous if it occurs while you have a low enough breath timer.

Eating an amulet of strangulation in particular will not instantly kill you, but instead causes six turns of strangulation - this will result in your death if your breath timer is currently six turns or lower, unless you cure the strangulation. In addition, choking on food also causes strangulation rather than instantly killing you. Successfully praying can cure strangulation from choking, while obtaining the breathless property (e.g. via an unbreathing polyform) ignores strangulation and allows it to time out harmlessly.


In EvilHack, gelatinous cubes, water elementals and sea dragons have an engulfing attack that causes strangulation as in GruntHack, and kills you in four turns as opposed to three.