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"The lesson will be taught in due time, Aloy. Until then, we wait."
This article contains heavy spoilers. Read ahead with caution.

"Blades around its eye... good for digging tunnels."
―Aloy, upon sighting a Burrower

The Burrower is a machine in Horizon Forbidden West. It is a Reconnaissance class machine, designed by GAIA and produced by HEPHAESTUS.


Burrowers were originally designed by GAIA for reconnaissance purposes. However, during the Derangement, HEPHAESTUS altered the machines’ behavior in response to the human practice of machine hunting, making Burrowers aggressive towards humans, and giving them the role of sentries against hunters.

Aloy first encountered Burrowers at the Far Zenith Launch Facility,[1] and later in the Daunt and the Forbidden West, including their many variants. Also, she passed some Burrowers near Sunfall on her way to the Daunt,[2] showing that Burrowers have started appearing further east than they used to six months previously.


The Burrower is a quadrupedal machine, similar in appearance to a mink.[note 1] It has an elongated body, a long, spiked tail, and short limbs - each ending in four claws. It has a monocular array of five optical sensors, consisting of a large central primary eye surrounded by four smaller ones: its head is covered in armor plating. Resting above its pair of hind legs is a rectangular resource container. Its chest is covered with an oblong component called a "soundshell".

The Canister and Tracker Burrower variants are largely identical to their standard counterpart, with two key differences: the armor plating around their eyes is fitted with three grinding components, while the resource container is replaced by a standard elemental canister and a trapezoidal Tracker Sprayer, respectively.

In their quadrupedal stance, Burrowers stand shorter than an adult human, although it is roughly the length of a Watcher.


Burrowers behave much like Watchers, usually traveling in groups and often serving as lookouts for other machines. Burrowers can emit high pitched sounds to alert their allies while also stunning their enemies. They can also tunnel underground to resurface in unexpected locations.


Compared to the Watchers, their eastern counterparts, Burrowers are far more agile and nimble. They are amphibious, being one of the few machines capable of swimming and seeing underwater, and can burrow underground to reach a position of greater advantage.

As a recon machine, Burrowers will send out a shrill cry when they detect a threat, allowing them to call reinforcements. As such, while they are not particularly dangerous on their own, they pose a significant threat when accompanied by more powerful machines.


Like the Watcher, the Burrower's eye is extremely vulnerable to damage, with a shot or two to the target being enough to kill it. Their other weak spots, such as the Soundshell on their chest or the component on their posterior, are relatively easy to hit.


The two damage values correspond to the standard/standard Apex variants and all other Burrower variants, respectively.

Name Windup Time Stance Damage Trigger Range Description
Echo Screech Short Grounded Deafened 3m - 13m Powers up Soundshell and emits multiple Deafening blasts that travel at high speed towards target.
Rock Hurl Short Grounded 100/180 Ranged 16m - 101m Scoops up a rock with its claw and flings it at target in a low arcing trajectory.
Plasma Shot Short Grounded/Burrowed Plasma 75/100

Plasma 28 buildup

0m - 30m Gathers energy in its eye and shoots a high-velocity Plasma projectile.

Attack disabled when Drenched.

Burrow Bite

Very Short Grounded 75/137 Melee 4m - 10m Jumps forward in arcing motion to bite at target, slamming its head into the ground before following up with a rising bite that propels it farther in the same direction.
Rolling Tail Strike Medium Grounded 100/180 Melee 5m - 11m Leaps in target's direction and twists 180o to strike with its tail.

Desperation Attack

Hop Pounce Medium Grounded/Burrowed 100/137 Melee 4m - 23m Lunges at target and slams the ground with its tail in similar fashion to Rolling Tail Strike. Used without jumping at very close range or as a surprise attack when exiting mound.
Tail Smack Short Grounded 75/137 Melee 5m - 6m Jumps and whips its tail in a 360o spinning motion.

Attack disabled when Slowed.

Corkscrew Bite Medium Swimming 75/137 Melee 13m - 27m Darts forward to bite target while swimming in a corkscrew pattern.

Tracker Burrower Variants[]

Name Windup Time Stance Damage Trigger Range Description
Tracking Spray Short Grounded Tracked Tracked 76

Tracked Tracked 100 buildup

0m - 30m Charges up Tracking Sprayer and fires a gaseous projectile at target, inflicting the Tracked state.


Name Variant Image Description Attributes
Body All Hard outer casing to protect synthetic muscle and operational systems.
Eye All Ocular component that is especially vulnerable to damage
  • Indestructible
  • Weak Spot
Soundshell All Compressed air sac. Detach to disable concussion attacks and collect its resources.
  • Detachable
  • Attack Removal
  • Destroyed When Killed
  • Key Upgrade Resource
Resource Container Standard Storage container for valuable resources. Tear off to collect its components.
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Elemental Canister Canister Elemental storage. Tear off to collect this resource or shoot with an Elemental Arrow to detonate.
  • Chain Reaction
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Tracking Sprayer Tracker Produces a spray that can track a target's location, even if they attempt to re-enter stealth. Detach or destroy to disable
  • Detachable
  • Ability Removal
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed



Including Apex variants, a total of sixteen different Burrowers can be found in the world.

Variant Weakness Strength
Burrower Weak iconFire-IconFire None

Canister Burrower

Weak iconShock-IconShock Strong iconFire-IconFire
Tracker Burrower Weak iconCorruption-Icon Acid Very strong iconShock-IconShock
Apex Burrower None Strong iconFire-IconFire
Apex Acid/Fire/Frost/Plasma/Purgewater/Shock

Canister Burrower

None Strong iconAll
Apex Tracker Burrower None Strong iconFire-IconFire

Very strong iconShock-IconShock




  1. "Mink" was the internal name used for Burrowers during development of Horizon Forbidden West.
    "It gives you a free mink kill- sorry, Burrower. Again, development names."
    Guerrilla Plays Horizon Forbidden West (With World Designer Dennis Micka) | Part 7

Wiki Navigation[]

Horizon Zero Dawn
Acquisition Class Broadhead - Charger - Fireclaw - Frostclaw - Glinthawk - Grazer - Lancehorn - Rockbreaker - Scrapper - Snapmaw - Strider - Trampler
Chariot Class Corruptor - Deathbringer - Metal Devil
Combat Class Ravager - Sawtooth - Scorcher - Stalker - Stormbird - Thunderjaw
Communication Class Tallneck
Recon Class Longleg - Watcher (Redeye Watcher)
Transport Class Behemoth - Bellowback - Shell-Walker
Unknown Class Control Tower
Horizon Forbidden West
Acquisition Class Bilegut - Bristleback - Clamberjaw - Fanghorn - Plowhorn - Scrounger - Spikesnout - Stingspawn - Sunwing - Tideripper - Waterwing - Widemaw
Combat Class Clawstrider - Dreadwing - Grimhorn - Shellsnapper - Slaughterspine - Slitherfang - Specter - Specter Prime - Tremortusk
Recon Class Burrower - Skydrifter
Transport Class Leaplasher - Rollerback
Unknown Class Defense Drone