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"Look at the jaws on that thing. It could snap a Sawtooth right in half."
Aloy, upon sighting a Snapmaw

The Snapmaw is a machine in Horizon Zero Dawn and a returning machine in Horizon Forbidden West and Horizon Call of the Mountain. It is a medium-sized Acquisition Class machine, and the only machine known to be amphibious until Horizon Forbidden West.[1] They were originally created as docile water purifiers as part of Zero Dawn. However, as a consequence of the Derangement, they have become a lethal danger to humans who pass within their sight at any body of water in which they are found.


Snapmaw Hologram

Elisabet Sobeck displays a Snapmaw as an example of a POSEIDON-related machine

Snapmaws were designed by Zero Dawn’s governing AI GAIA and manufactured by GAIA’s subordinate function responsible for machine manufacture, HEPHAESTUS. They were supposed to work under POSEIDON, the subordinate function responsible for detoxifying Earth’s poisoned rivers, lakes and seas. These had been ravaged to sterility when the Faro Plague destroyed the biosphere and thus exterminated all life in the mid 21st century. However, subsequent events led GAIA’s self-destruction and all of the subordinate functions becoming true AIs. Hostile to humans for hunting machines, HEPHAESTUS seized control of at least four of Zero Dawn’s machine manufacturing cauldrons, including RHO, the cauldron that made Snapmaws. To dissuade hunters, it weaponized Snapmaws and other machines, making them combat-ready, and also made them hostile to humans, attacking them on sight. This is the phenomenon that the tribes call the Derangement.

The Nora huntress Aloy first encountered Snapmaws at a lake in the region known as Valleymeet. They had trapped a Carja soldier named Lakhir, commander of a unit from the Daytower garrison, on an island in the middle of the lake. She killed the Snapmaws, allowing Lakhir to leave the island and return to Daytower.

During her subsequent journeys throughout the Carja Sundom and environs, she saw Snapmaws at various sites. She encountered the machines yet again at a site on the Way of Broken Stones, in the vicinity of the Carja settlement Lone Light. She hunted and killed them to gather their CPUs or “hearts” to give to a group of Carja farmers who had been killing Snapmaws for their hearts to pay off a debt. The profusion of Snapmaw chassis in the gorge where they had been conducting their operation had attracted Glinthawks, which constantly attacked Lone Light. The farmers left after Aloy gave them the hearts, which were the last ones they needed to settle their debt.

Finally, Aloy encountered, hunted and killed Snapmaws during her visit to the Banuk region known as The Cut. Unlike the Snapmaws she was familiar with, these were units that had been heavily augmented by HEPHAESTUS, and were known as Daemonic Snapmaws, much more formidable than the Snapmaws she has hunted previously. However she quickly adapted and proved well able to deal with them. She hunted them on two occasions. One was to clear them out from an ancient ruin known as Deep Din during the course of her investigation into its sudden flooding. The second occasion was alongside three Banuk hunters: Urkai, Tatai ,and Tulemak, to help them gather Snapmaw fangs as part of their payment to the Oseram trader Burgrend for the supplies they needed to migrate from The Cut to the Carja Sundom. 


Snapmaws are classed as medium-sized machines, but compared to a human they are quite large. A Snapmaw's chassis resembles the body of an enormous crocodile such as the extinct Deinosuchus, with a long, crocodilian snout, a heavyset reptilian body, four crocodilian legs and feet, and a long, stout, powerful tail. Its gait exactly mirrors that of a crocodile. The snout’s upper mandible is long, tapered and toothy, while the lower mandible is actually a chainsaw-like blade with a system of small grinders at its base. There are two optical sensor arrays in the same position as a crocodile's eyes. In Horizon Zero Dawn, Snapmaws have an armored Blaze canister sitting atop each shoulder. In Horizon Forbidden West, the Blaze canisters are replaced with Purgewater canisters. The gullet is composed of a sac-like reservoir of Chillwater, called a Freeze Sac. Presumably this is used as a coolant. An array of resource containers that resemble armor plating line its back.[2] Solar panels line its back beside the containers, acting as armor.

Apex Snapmaws resemble normal Snapmaws apart from their black armor and purple muscles. Their gullet contains a reservoir of Metalbite, called a Metalbite Sac. Also, Apex Snapmaws have Glowblast canisters on their shoulders instead of Purgewater canisters.


Snapmaw sites are scattered throughout the Carja Sundom, from the jungles of The Jewel in the south to the snowy regions in the far north. Daemonic Snapmaws are found in The Cut. Whether Daemonic or not, undisturbed Snapmaws invariably bask lazily in the sun on the bank of lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. They purify the water and the soil at the bottom by destroying toxins and removing minerals, periodically ejecting them from the pods in the resource containers their backs.[3] Presumably the Snapmaw can use some of its collected resources to manufacture replacement pods in situ, as no Snapmaw has ever been seen to run out of pods.


Like crocodiles, a Snapmaw’s apparent sloth belies the great speed it displays when confronting a perceived threat. Snapmaws employ a ranged attack in which they belch projectiles of Chillwater at an enemy. These are similar to the projectiles hurled by Glinthawks from their beaks and, like them, cause damage, pain and markedly reduced ability to move in human enemies, and will freeze machine enemies such as corrupted or overridden machines provided enough of them hit home. Additionally, they employ melee attacks such as lunging jumps at an enemy, snapping with their jaws, and using their tails as bludgeons. They are also capable of attacking perceived enemies in water, such as swimming humans.


A Snapmaw’s major structural and tactical weakness is its Freeze Sac. Strikes on it from high-powered impact ammunition such as Precision Arrows trigger a corresponding elemental explosion that freezes the machine and disables its ranged Freeze-based attacks. The Freeze effect of the explosion is powerful enough to overcome a Daemonic Snapmaw’s high resistance to elemental attacks. Additionally, Snapmaws are particularly susceptible to weapons that utilize fire, though the inflicted damage is less with a Daemonic Snapmaw, as is the number of strikes needed to induce a Burn state.


Horizon Zero Dawn[]

Name Damage Type Primary Damage Secondary Damage Trigger Range Description
Freeze Burst Freeze-Icon Freeze 50 30 per second 20m - 45m Belches Freeze projectiles at enemy like mortar fire
Lunge Bite Melee 180 - 8m - 12m (land)

11m - 19m (water)

Lunges at enemy from long range with snapping jaws
Jumping Jaw Bite Melee 180 - 0m - 17m Arcing jump at enemy with snapping jaws
Snap Bite Melee 160 - 3m - 11m (land)

3m - 8m (water)

Short range lunge with snapping jaws
Tail Strike Melee 180 - 10m - 15m Long range bludgeon attack with tail
Spinning Tail Strike Melee 180 - 0m - 6m Short range spinning bludgeon attack with tail

Horizon Forbidden West[]

Name Windup Time Stance Damage Damage Area Trigger Range Description
Spin Attack Medium Grounded 200 Melee - 10m - 25m Lunges forward while spinning 180o in a sweeping motion with its tail.
Spin on Spot Very Short Grounded 200 Melee - 0m - 6m Quickly spins in place while swinging with its tail.
Frost Mortar Medium Grounded/Overwater Freeze-Icon75

Freeze-Icon25 buildup

Freeze-Icon 15/s

Freeze-Icon 15/s buildup

0m - 45m Spits a series of 5 Frost projectiles in arcing trajectory. Projectiles create an explosion and leaves a residual Frost damage area.

Attack disabled when Drenched.

Jump Attack Long Grounded/Overwater 250 Melee

Crushed 17

- 14m - 36m Winds up at a distance before leaping at target.
Jump Bite Short Grounded 200 Melee - 0m - 17m Performs a short-range jump and bites once.
Snap Bite Very Short All 200 Melee - 3m - 14m Quickly snaps at target with its jaws.
Lunging Jaw Snap Short All 200 Melee - 8m - 20m While swimming on surface, dives underwater and emerges while biting twice moving forward. Underwater, surges forward while snapping jaw twice.
Apex Variant[]
Name Windup Time Stance Damage Damage Area Trigger Range Description
Acid Mortar Medium Grounded/Overwater Corruption-Icon 75

Corruption-Icon 25 buildup

Corruption-Icon 15/s

Corruption-Icon 15/s buildup

0m - 45m Spits a series of 5 Acid projectiles in arcing trajectory. Projectiles create an explosion and leaves a residual Acid damage area.

Attack disabled when Drenched.


Variant Weak Vs. Strong Vs.
Snapnaw Weak iconFire-Icon Fire

Weak iconShock-Icon Shock

Strong iconFreeze-Icon Frost

Strong iconPurgewater Icon Purgewater

Apex Snapnaw Weak iconFire-Icon Fire Very strong iconCorruption-Icon Acid

Strong iconPurgewater Icon Purgewater


Horizon Zero Dawn[]

Component: Image: Information: Weakness: Strength:
Body Snapmaw-Body Hard outer casing to protect synthetic muscle and operational systems. Fire-Icon Fire Freeze-IconFreeze
Blaze Canister Snapmaw-BlazeCanister Blaze storage canister. Shoot with Fire arrows to trigger an explosion. Shoot off this component to collect the resource inside. Fire-Icon Fire
Tear-Icon Tear
Freeze Sac Snapmaw-FreezeSac Destroying this component disables the ranged Freeze attack, and triggers a large explosion. All None

Horizon Forbidden West[]

Name Variant Image Description Attributes
Body All Hard outer casing to protect synthetic muscle and operational systems. None
Chillwater Sac Standard Chillwater storage. Destroy to cause a Frost explosion and disable Frost attacks or leave intact to add loot to the carcass.
  • Explosive
  • Persists When Killed
  • Contains Resources If Intact
  • Key Upgrade Resource
Purgewater Canister Standard Purgewater storage. Tear off to collect this resource or shoot with a Purgewater Arrow to detonate.
  • Chain Reaction
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Metalbite Sac Apex Metalbite storage. Destroy to cause an Acid explosion and disable Acid attacks or leave intact to add loot to the carcass.
  • Explosive
  • Persists When Killed
  • Contains Resources If Intact
  • Key Upgrade Resource
Glowblast Canister Apex Glowblast storage. Tear off to collect this resource or shoot with a Plasma Arrow to detonate.
  • Chain Reaction
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Dispersal Tank All Resource processing and storage system. Once filled, each tank is expelled into the surrounding area for collection.
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Resource Container All Storage container for valuable resources. Tear off to collect its contents.
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed


Horizon Zero Dawn[]

Horizon Forbidden West[]


Chillwater Sac

Purgewater Canister

Dispersal Tank

Resource Container


Metalbite Sac

Glowblast Canister

Dispersal Tank

Resource Container


  • Before the announcement trailer for Horizon Forbidden West, the Snapmaw was the only machine that was able to fully submerge itself, as well as the only one with aquatic capacities.
  • When successfully tied with Ropecaster wires whilst on water, Snapmaws will execute a "death roll," a maneuver by real life crocodiles in which they roll their body sideways, usually to help them bite off parts of prey to be eaten. This will instantly break the binding.
  • The solar panels serve as armor in combat, and can be broken off.
  • There is only one area in Horizon Zero Dawn that will spawn Corrupted Snapmaws. The waters just off the shore of Devil's Grief can spawn Snapmaws, and because every machine that spawns in the ruins is Corrupted, so too are the Snapmaws.
  • During development, the Snapmaw was referred to as the Beach-Lizard.[4]



  1. Though there is evidence in Old World records that Chariot class robots had some amphibious capability.
  2. Horizon Zero Dawn Collector's Edition Guide, page 204
  3. Horizon Zero Dawn Collector's Edition Guide, page 203
  4. https://youtu.be/4FAXv2H-VUA, 7:09
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