Wither skeletons are dangerous hostile mobs that spawn in Nether fortresses.
Wither skeletons spawn in Nether fortresses at a light level of 7 or less. They spawn in place of a regular skeleton 80% of the time (including from skeleton spawn eggs). Wither skeletons are just over 2.5 blocks high and require 3 vertical blocks of space to spawn. On Halloween, wither skeletons have a 22.5% chance of spawning wearing a pumpkin and a 2.5% chance of spawning wearing a jack o'lantern.
Wither skeletons drop 0-1 coal and 0-2 bones. They have a 2.5% chance of dropping their skull when killed by the player (or tamed wolf), 3.5% with Looting I, 4.5% with Looting II, and 5.5% with Looting III. If the wither skeleton is killed by a charged creeper's explosion, they will always drop their skull (provided that the two mobs encounter each other). They may also rarely drop their stone sword, which will usually be badly damaged, and may be enchanted. They drop 5 experience when killed by a player or tamed wolf.
If a wither skeleton wearing a pumpkin or jack o'lantern is killed using a tool enchanted with Looting, there will be a chance equivalent to the level of Looting used to drop the pumpkin or jack o'lantern, up to a maximum of a 3% chance of a drop.
Wither skeletons sprint and attack with a stone sword. When the player is attacked by a wither skeleton, they are inflicted with the Wither I effect for 10 seconds, which turns the health bar black and decreases the health gradually. Wither skeletons deal 4 (hearts) on Easy, 7 (hearts) on Normal and 10 (hearts) on Hard. Like other undead mobs, wither skeletons may spawn with the ability to pick up dropped melee weapons and armor.
- If hit by a wither's skull, wither skeletons can be afflicted with the Wither effect.
- When a spider is spawned in the Nether (by the player, monster spawner, etc.), it has a 0.8% chance of spawning with a wither skeleton or a Wither Jockey.
- Wither skeletons have the same ID as normal skeletons, and therefore attempt to hide under trees in daytime in the Overworld, regardless of the fact they cannot burn. They also set on fire in the daytime but immediately get put out.
- Although they may spawn with the ability to pick up items, wither skeletons will never pick up a bow under any circumstances.
- If a wither skeleton is wielding a bow (through the use of commands), it will use it like an ordinary skeleton, but the arrows it shoots will always be set on fire, regardless of enchantments.