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The Snark, also known as the Squeak Grenade,[1] is an enemy and biological weapon featured in Half-Life. It can be found in Snark Mines / Snark Nests, and will attack the player when the mines are tripped. However, the nests can be picked up and snarks can be used as weapons that can be thrown towards enemies.


Snarks are small, beetle-like creatures with four legs, a single green eye, a parrot-like beak, two antennae and a thick, dark red, segmented shell. They are social and highly territorial, making nests and protecting them at all costs. The fleshy nests themselves are about the size of a road sign, and dark green with translucent red pods and four claw-like branches on each corner.

When their nest is threatened, Snarks will leap out and charge at their intruder, bouncing around madly and biting with their sharp beaks. These bites are powerful, doing as much as 10 points of damage each and seriously injuring the player if they are not careful. To add insult to injury, a snark will explode about 20 seconds after they start attacking, spraying acid everywhere.

The Snark emits a high-pitched squeak with each bite, which gets higher and higher in pitch the longer it stays in its 20-second "attack mode" before finally exploding.


Snark nest

A Snark nest. (Non-HD model)

The player can obtain an egg sack containing 5 Snarks which can be used as weapons. While held, Snarks have an unlimited lifespan, but still show aggressive tendencies (as two comical idle animations show one animation with the Snark struggling in Gordon's hand, and the other with it snapping at Gordon as he teases it with his finger). Once thrown, the Snark's twenty-second "attack mode" begins, and it will immediately charge at the nearest living thing and attack it. If there is nothing for them to attack, they will turn around and attack Gordon instead, which is why the player should always be sure to throw them from a higher vantage point, or only use them if there are enemies to throw the Snarks at. The Snarks will remain in this frenzy until they fall apart and die, which clearly originated as an emergency defense mechanism to protect their nests in the wild.

In multiplayer deathmatch games, Snarks provide a useful way of distracting other players (particularly multiple players), facilitating escape or a means of a more leisurely kill due to their homing capability. It is not uncommon for a player to be seen running through the map while being chased by a pack of Snarks thrown by someone else.

Xen forces have learned to use Snarks to their advantage. In the chapter "Forget About Freeman!", there are Snark Mines that hang in the air with the use of webbing. When shot or tripped, the lasers on them will release snarks to attack the player and slow down the player's progress, acting like biological tripmines.


When being attacked by Snarks, a single swing of the crowbar is enough to kill it, though their speed and size can make this a daunting task, even more than with a Headcrab. The shotgun, with its wide spread, is a better choice of weapon as it allows the player to take them out from a distance (to avoid their acid blast) and kill several Snarks at once, should they be faced with two or more. Usually, the MP5 with its grenade launcher is the most preferred and arguably the most suitable weapon to wield against groups of Snarks. The Hivehand (also known as Hornet Gun) is also a great choice because of its infinite ammo and characteristic that its primary fire will fire hornets (also known as thornets) that can easily track them down and kill them. The ultimate best solution, however, is to keep running until the Snarks explode on their own.

It is possible to avoid snarks by hiding on a high enough ledge and either shooting them from there, or waiting until they explode. As snarks cannot jump very high, they are unable to get up and attack.

The player can carry up to 15 Snarks at a time, and can release some or all at once to cause a tremendous amount of chaos. Because of their being "smart" weapons that seek out and attack enemies, they're the most useful of the weapons on the 5 key, although they're rare on the Earth levels. Snarks will attack most Xen aliens, making the weapon very helpful in the later levels of Half-Life.

The snarks are also useful when in combat with a Voltigore, putting the user out of its range as they chase and eliminate it.

Behind the scenes[]

  • The Snark nest has unused "walking" animations.
  • An item similar to that of the Snark was to appear in Half-Life 2, but instead of a Snark, the player could use the Brickbat to throw Headcrabs.
  • In the Black Mesa version of Questionable Ethics, one of the dry-erase boards describes the Snark's chemical reaction. According to it, the Snark's acid is aqua regia -- a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid that can dissolve gold -- and the attack involves both the acid and its decomposition products.

Related achievements[]

Half-Life: Alyx[]

Achievement Good Grub
Good Grub
Feed the snark.


  • When viewing the viewmodel, the player is holding the Snarks' nest, though this is not actually seen in game. When using the High Definition Pack, the nest cannot be seen.
  • The HD Snark nest model seems to have a piece of ribcage attached to it, suggesting the Snark either makes nests from its kills, or are scavengers who nest in corpses.
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force's CTF game mode has a replacement for the Snark, which is a Penguin with a grenade tied to its back. These behave similarly to the regular Snarks, with some differences, as they cause more damage but are slower in handling.
  • In some speedruns, players will throw a Snark below them and can somehow jump on top of the snark and continuously while the Snark will attempt to bite the player (if there are no nearby enemies). This allows players to reach great heights or even areas outside of the map.
  • There are certain NPCs that snarks will not chase:
    • Alien Controllers
    • Barnacles
    • Bullsquids
    • Pit Drones
    • Vortigaunts (Half-Life, Blue Shift)
    • Alien Grunts (Half-Life, Blue Shift)
    • Security guards (Opposing Force)
    • Most NPCs found only in Boot Camp.
    • The G-Man
      • Note that despite not chasing them, if they managed to get stuck inside these enemies, they will keep dealing contact damage, until they were killed by the Snarks.
      • It is possible for a Snark to gib any enemy it damages.
      • Snark's unstable AI may cause it to constantly retarget. For example, it may attack you even though there are a bunch of headcrabs close to you, and then it may randomly target the headcrabs in the horde.
      • It bounces back when it hits a wall, which will hit you and then start biting you.
    • Originally the Chumtoad (Which is also named the Chubtoad and when its in its first person model its known as v_chub) was the original version of the Snark being able to be thrown and used as a weapon. When thrown it was to jump on all fours ribbeting at its target like a real life frog or toad. When thrown it would always stick out its tongue. It is however unknown what the Chumtoad was to do to their target when being thrown. The weapons positioning graphics however are completely broken, this however can still be fixed.
  • A Snark contained inside of a jar appears at the beginning of Half-Life: Alyx, by feeding it, the player gets the achievement "Good Grub".




Dynamic Environmental Interaction demonstrational room[]

List of appearances[]