Posted in Monday Mayhem

Why Do Zombies Attack?

Some people never change. If you’ve heard that expression, you’re not alone. Yet In a zombie apocalypse, everyone can change. No one is safe. And the stubborn, those who run merrily along pursuing life’s little rewards, are the ones who the apocalypse will affect the most. Now, if only I can explain the zombie’s incessant need to attack—life would be perfect. Maybe there is an answer to this perplexing question. After all, Monday Mayhem wouldn’t be the same without answering another of life’s little mysteries:

Why do zombies attack?

The Walking Dead Attack
The Walking Dead Attack

Have you ever stood face to face with a lion while staring at it behind the bars of its den? I have. I’ve always wondered why it simply doesn’t attack the cage when it senses people nearby. The same goes for tigers and bears. Why don’t they without relent, pound the bars to get at you while you peruse their domain? Apparently, feeding them quells their inner desire to harvest us as their next meal. What makes zombies so different?

One would assume zombies work the same way. Feed the zombie and it would forget about dinner. It doesn’t work that way. If a stadium of people had a horde of the undead after them, the undead wouldn’t rest until every human dies an excruciating death. A handful of zombies can clear a room of unarmed humans without much trouble. In other words, no matter how much a zombie eats, it still wants more. Why?

Lions, Tigers & Bears
Lions, Tigers & Bears

Firstly, unlike animals, zombies have an “always on” switch that no one can turn off. Well, that’s not true. Shoot them in the head and they turn off—permanently. I digress. Zombies’ visual acuity does not function on movement alone but on the recognition that a live human is present. Call it thermal imaging, stealth detection or plain “I can see you” principle, zombies have a sharp optical sensor that allows them to spot its prey miles away.

Secondly, complimenting their evolved optical cortex, zombies sport an acute sense of hearing. Somehow, their auditory tracks allow them to hear whispers, which would add to the list of things that spring them into attack mode.

Lastly, as I mentioned, the zombie appetite is resilient. They are always hungry.

Put these all together and you have a good grasp of the undead killing machine.

Zombies attack because they have no choice other than to attack. Their sole motive is to consume. Their visual and auditory senses propel them to act on their impulses to maim and eat human. Simply eating one, two or three of us will not satisfy them. They want to eat us all. Their insatiable appetite hovers around madness, because their senses dictate for them to purge the world of our presence. Zombies can’t help themselves, and they will not surrender for any one of us.

If only zombies could remain docile behind the bars of a cage so as humans can visit them like lions, tigers and bears. Wouldn’t that be something?


Why do you think zombies attack?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

17 thoughts on “Why Do Zombies Attack?

  1. Sooo my eldest son Matt was married two weeks ago. His keepsake for the wedding was a comic book chronicling his and Emma’s romance. Not knowing how to end the comic, he decided to imagine what the wedding would be like. Crazy that Zombies attacked but because he and Emma had Light Sabers and their two cats to help defend the guests all but the plus ones lived. A happy ending? Yes?

  2. One analogy I read some time ago (may have come from Max Brooks, really can’t remember) that always stuck with me was the idea that Zombies are a ‘living’ virus or disease. Like a virus or disease, their aim is to consume and multiply across all living tissue. From what we have read and seen within pop culture, it’s hard to say what drives that behaviour other than this primal instinct. Great post!

  3. I think, rather than an undying appetite, zombies are consumed by the need to spread the virus and add to its brethren. It can sense the living and whatever drives it sends the message to bite,feed, spreads your pathogen. I think what ever animates it just doesn’t like the living.

    1. You may be right, Vicky. The undead have an uncanny knack to finding its victims in order to perpetuate the virus flowing through their rotting veins.

  4. I think it is more a sense of “smell” than sight or hearing that zombies operate on – if you take World War z style – they don’t attack those that they deem “unfit” for diseases, etc. So, their insatiable appetite might not be so “random”, but as a way to perpetuate their race?

    1. That would make them like the Borg or Cybermen. Zombies probably wouldn’t be able to see living humans as anything other than a ” food source ” to try to keep complete deterioration at bay for another few hours or days.

      1. If they’re truly eating them in the first place. Many times it seems like zombies deteriorate no matter if they eat or not. So one would have wonder what the purpose of those zombies are. At least in a fantasy world, one could assume a person is pulling the strings. In a modern world, there might not be any purpose to what they do.

      2. There was only 1 real world ” zombie ” in Haiti. Elias Narcise ( ? ). A drug was given to him to put him in a death – like state. After being exhumed & put into slavery, he was found wandering free & basically brought out of his ” walking dead ” state, FYI. Zombies in the true cinematic sense would just shamble about with less sense of purpose than a lower animal until they were too deteriorated to function.

      3. I remember reading about that in college. Not for a course, but I was curious. I think voodoo was brought up. I’ll have to read up on it again when I have time. It does seem like zombies have done a quick evolution in recent years to become more than the shambling corpses. Kind of curious about what triggered it.

      4. The shambling corpses must have been an inspired guess, but maybe inspired by Elias in Haiti. Gone from supernatural to viral causes.

  5. They’re operating on primitive, residual instinct alone, not unlike a shark whose instinct is primarily to hunt down prey when they smell ( taste ? ) blood in the water. Their primary drive is to consume living flesh, tissue & blood very much like a shark.

    Whether or not the proteins they receive or the cerebro – spinal fluid they take in helps them stay ” alive ” / functioning longer is something that’s actually been discussed in other internet venues.
    FYI ” Zombie ” is also ** sometimes ** used to refer to a person whose mind is being controlled in other science – fiction / fantasy venues by technology or magic, & also in the real world to refer to someone who is easily influenced by authority figures / someone they see as an authority figure.

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