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"Is that a machine or a walking fortress? Have to be careful with my aim."
―Aloy, spotting a Shellsnapper

The Shellsnapper is a machine in Horizon Forbidden West. It is a large combat machine, notable for its natural camouflage.[1]


Shellsnappers, being a combat class machine, were designed and produced by the rogue AI known as HEPHAESTUS during the Derangement. They were one of many kinds of 'hunter-killers' whose sole purpose was to kill humans.

Some time after the Battle of the Alight, Talanah Khane Padish and Amadis Beit Raveesh encountered a Shellsnapper in an underground lake near Sunbreak Valley, where it was seemingly guarding the entrance to a Cauldron.

Much later, Talanah and Aloy encountered and killed a Shellsnapper while looking for Amadis.


The Shellsnapper resembles an enormous snapping turtle. Its main body is mostly unarmored, with an armored, flat skull akin to a turtle on an extendable neck, four big legs with minimal armor, a pair of Chillwater sacs and multiple ground drills on its underbelly, and a short, stout tail. The bulk of this machine comes from its shell: a massive, circular, heavily armored piece that nearly covers the whole machine and is blue with energy, which will turn orange if enough damage is applied to it and can be covered in foliage depending on how long it sits. Along the shell are four connection bolts that keep the shell on, with two extra on a smaller, elevated area behind the shell, and four frost blasters, capable of spewing a frosty mist or shooting frost grenades. Under the shell are four plasma generators that make plasma attacks, a few Sparkers, many refining cores, and a kinetic dynamo in the center that serves as the reason the Shellsnapper's shell turns damage to energy and is only exposed as a weak spot when the main shell is completely off.


This machine guards the shores and swamps of the Forbidden West. It can dig itself in and lie dormant for weeks, during which its impenetrable shell can become covered by the surrounding foliage.[2] Despite this, it is capable of readying itself for battle in moments, effectively ambushing intruders.[1]


Despite its size, the Shellsnapper is quite fast, and capable of leaping. It seems to be able to stretch its neck a small amount in order to bite opponents, similar to real-life snapping turtles. It is also capable of firing a power blast at targets, mainly frost balls. Not only is its shell capable of withstanding powerful attacks, but as it takes damage, it will build up a large amount of energy, and after a few more attacks, will release as a large burst, capable of stunning multiple hunters.


The Shellsnapper cannot get energy from arrow attacks, and destroying the shell bolts removes a big section of the shell, exposing the plasma generator. When the main shell is fully off, the kinetic dynamo is exposed, providing a exploitable weakspot. Shooting the Chillwater sacs disables the Shellsnapper's frost blast attacks. The frost cannons can be torn off and used as a weapon. However, the Shellsnapper's resistance to frost damage renders the cannons next to useless.


Name Windup Time Stance Damage Trigger Range Description
Snap Bite Short Grounded

Shell Camouflage

Snap Bite: 176 Melee

Ice Cloud: 44 Ranged, Freeze-Icon.png 44, Freeze-Icon.png 36 buildup

8m - 10m
Forward Slash Medium Grounded


Forward Slash: 176 Melee

Ice Cloud: 44 Ranged, Freeze-Icon.png 44, Freeze-Icon.png 44 buildup

6m - 22m
Backward Slash Medium Grounded Backward Slash: 176 Melee

Ice Cloud: 44 Ranged, Freeze-Icon.png 44, Freeze-Icon.png 44 buildup

10m - 22m
Tail Crack Short Grounded


209 Melee

Freeze-Icon.png 209

Freeze-Icon.png 150 buildup

0m - 11m
Springing Belly Flop Medium Grounded/Burrowed 329 Melee

Crushed.png Crushed 50

0m - 30m
Freeze Blaster Medium Grounded/Burrowed Freeze Blaster: 80 Ranged, Freeze-Icon.png 80, Freeze-Icon.png 114 buildup

Damage Areas: Freeze-Icon.png 10/s, Freeze-Icon.png 10/s buildup

20m - 50m
Tracking Cryo Blast Short Grounded Freeze-Icon.png 55/s

Freeze-Icon.png 36/s buildup

0m - 13m
Tracking Burst Short Grounded 225 Ranged 12m - 75m
Deafening Roar Medium Grounded Deafened 9m - 50m
Belly Flop/Power Belly Flop Medium Grounded 400 Melee

Crushed.png Crushed 50

6m - 15m
Power Blaster Long Grounded Power Blaster: 100/s Ranged

End Explosion: 540 Ranged

25m - 60m


  • Body
  • Processing Capsule
  • Energy Shield Shell
  • Shell Bolt
  • Frost Blaster
  • Plasma Generator
  • Sparker
  • Refining Core
  • Kinetic Dynamo
  • Chillwater Sac
  • Resource Container
  • Acid Canister (Apex Variant)


Body Loot

Processing Capsule Loot

Shell Bolt Loot

Plasma Generator Loot

Sparker Loot

Refining Core Loot

  • Braided Wire
  • Blastpaste
  • Sturdy Hardplate
  • Machine Core (Large)
  • Shellsnapper Primary Nerve

Chillwater Sac Loot

  • Chillwater

Resource Container Loot

  • Braided Wire
  • Blastpaste
  • Sturdy Hardplate
  • Machine Core (Large)
  • Shellsnapper Primary Nerve

Variant Loot


  • The Shellsnapper is the only large machine introduced in Horizon Forbidden West that is not part of the main quest.
  • Shellsnappers were shown to have aquatic capabilities in the announcement trailer for Horizon Forbidden West and the Horizon Zero Dawn comic series, though they appear to completely lack any aquatic capabilities in the game.



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 Bristleback - Clamberjaw - Fanghorn - Plowhorn - Scrounger - Spikesnout - Sunwing - Tideripper - Widemaw
Combat Class Clawstrider - Dreadwing - Grimhorn - Shellsnapper - Slaughterspine - Slitherfang - Specter - Specter Prime - Tremortusk
Recon Class Burrower - Skydrifter
Transport Class Leaplasher - Rollerback