Know your Enemy. What is a Zombie?

In this post I will discuss about what type of Zombie Apocalypse I am preparing you for. There are many different kind of zombies described in history. On this Blog I will deal with Zombies as if they were from Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide. The Zombies described in this book are very comparable to AMC’s The Walking Dead.

A Zombie is a term associated with a person infected by the Solanum virus. The virus causes an infection that reposes the brain and shuts down the internal system of the victim. After this mutation the infected person has lost its personality and will become a mindless shambling corpse with an insatiable hunger. There is no cure for this virus and antibiotics will not work, because the Solanum virus is a virus and not a bacteria.  solanum virus

There are several ways to get infected with the Solanum virus. The most common way to get  infected is by getting bitten by a Zombie. The Virus will travel through you blood stream to your brain and will then start initiating the mutating process. Another way to get infected is by getting blood of an infected person or zombie on a wound you have or it can travel through your eye. The Virus is NOT airborne, which it can in The Walking Dead, and can’t travel through water. A dead person also can’t be infected, since there is no bloodstream which is required to bring the virus to the brain. This will make a graveyard a very safe place to be. You can’t get infected by eating infected Zombie flesh, unless there is a little wound inside your mouth or throat. You will die however, since Zombie flesh is highly poisonous and kill you within a few minutes to hours depending on the amount. You can’t get infected by a mosquito bite, because all mosquitos will avoid biting Zombies 100% of the time. Animals also can’t get infected with the Solanum virus. They will only die from it, but will not reanimate.

Once you are infected the virus will start multiplying and take over your body. This is not the case in The Walking Dead where everyone is infected and when a person dies he will ALWAYS become a Zombie. I will treat zombies as if they can’t, like Max Brooks described them. Furthermore only one organism is needed to turn you into a Zombie. Once you have the organism inside you, you will almost always turn into a Zombie. This only way to stop this from happening is by immediately amputating the infected part of your body. So if you get bitten in your hand and you chop it of right away, you will have a 10% revival rate. The other 90% will turn into a Zombie anyway, most likely because they were too slow.

Picture by MikeRollerson
Picture by MikeRollerson

Depending on the person and the location of the entry point, an infected person may have hours before reanimating. Here is a timetable of symptoms according to Max Brooks:

Hour 1 — Now certain occasions may arrive where you don’t realise you have been infected. While you may have avoided the bite, there are several other ways to become infected, such as brushing a wound against a zombie or by being splattered by its remains after an explosion. What you may realise after even only an hour is bruising developing around an open sore you may have had. Always let your group know you may be infected, get them to keep an eye (or a barrel) on you and possibly even move you to a containment cell. Letting them know is imperative to the survival of all of you.

Hour 5 — This is the time where unfortunately you will know for almost certain if you are being zombified. If before any zombie incidents you did not have a fever and out of nowhere now you do, this would be the time to begin saying your goodbyes to loved ones and friends. At this point you are still in control of your body and mind so do your things now, and do not under any circumstances contact anyone in your group, as this will infect them as well. While you may want to kiss your loved one or hug a friend, any fluid contact will infect them, signing their doom as well.

Hour 8 — Now at this point you will notice your body became painful and begin to lock up, you will lose control of your gag relflex and begin to throw up. Do this in a contained environment, again for the simple reason of keeping those around you safe and infection free. If at this point you want to be a hero and eliminate yourself, remember these key points: Splatter can infect those around you so go outside, the only way to destroy a zombie is to eliminate the brain and, since for all intents and purposes you are a zombie, you must shoot yourself in the head (a large calibre handgun or large bore shotgun is recommended, as this virtually guarantees the destruction of the brain).

Hour 11 — When you reach hour eleven you are now virtually paralized, there is not much you personally can do. If you couldn’t bring yourself to shoot yourself in the previous 3 hours, tell someone you trust that they need to elimimate you. Now may not be the best time as they have to see you move, but get them ready too.

Hour 16 — Now is the time to get your trusted accomplice to shoot you in the head. Again, complete destruction of the brain is critical. Make sure you let them know that once you have fallen into a coma, they aren’t shooting you, but merely a dead body. You are still a vessel of Solanum so remember to tell them to avoid any splatter.And since someone else is shooting you, make sure they do a double tap. It is easier to shoot a comatized you twice now, than have to see you as a zombie later.

Hours 20 & 23 — If you have followed these tips you should not reach these times and there will be no worry of you coming back as a zombie, if you procrastinated on shooting yourself or getting someone to shoot you, hopefully you told them and they will shot you now anyways.

The abilities a zombie has will depend on the person the zombie was before he got infected. If the person was blind, the zombie will be blind. If the person was deaf, the zombie will be deaf. If the person was the strongest and biggest person on earth, the zombie will be the biggest and strongest zombie on earth. The range of hearing of a zombie is the same as that of a human. Zombies are attracted by any sounds. Both human and non-human. Zombies depend on all their senses equally, not like us humans. We mainly use our ability to see, unless this sense is lost we wil. This will give Zombies the ability to hunt, fight and feed in total darkness. The smell sense has been enhanced and zombies will be able to smell fresh corpses from over a mile if the wind is right. A human body which has been dead for longer than 12-18 hours will be rejected as food for the zombies. Zombies will also see animals as food, but will prefer fresh human fresh above all.

Picture from AMC's The Walking Dead
Picture from AMC’s The Walking Dead

Zombies have no physical sensations. This is the greatest advantage of Zombies over Humans, since when us humans would give up or faint, Zombies continue. Zombies can’t be tired and have an almost unlimited amount of stamina. They will continue until their muscle will literally tear off. A Zombie cannot observe wounds nor will do anything to avoid getting them. A Zombie will continue until there is nothing left of him or her.

Zombies luckily have no ability to heal. Any wound or damage acquired to the cells of a Zombie will stay there forever until the Zombie is decomposed. Even muscles which are used will receive a little damage every time it is used. A human body would repair these muscles to a stronger state then before. A Zombie body will not do this, so every time a Zombie uses its muscles it will get a little weaker.

The average lifespan of a Zombie until it has been decomposed completely is around 3-5 years. They live this long, because the Solenum virus will try to resist any organism feeding on the body. If a Zombie will be frozen or embalmed it should, theoretically, be able to live forever. It is speculated that Zombies have lived several thousand years ago when the Pharaoh’s lived. It could be that mummies are in fact embalmed Zombies which allowed them to live for several thousands of years after being entombed. This however means that the brain must not have been removed during the embalming. The decaying of Zombies happens faster in different environment circumstances, like it will happen faster in very hot or very wet climates. They can still however survive for a long period under water until they dissolve.

Picture from Exit Humanity
Picture from Exit Humanity

Zombies have an insatiable hunger and will eat until their stomachs and bellies will literally tear open or is forced out of the anus. None of the food will be digested in the process, at least not by the Zombie and will come out rotting.

The brain of a Zombie is oxygen independent and is therefore capable of surviving in environments highly toxic to people. The heart is not used in a Zombie, the lungs however are. This gives the zombies the ability to make sounds or growls. The sexual organs are useless, which means: Zombies are sterile. This is one very comforting impossibility, because if the dead could reproduce the amount of Zombies on earth would be even bigger than the human population.

Zombies are incapable of running and jumping. They move slow, because of their reduced feeling of balance. They do have insane stamina and determination as described above, so if you have outran a Zombie, be sure to keep moving, because he could still be coming after you. Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint. Unless it is a sprint, then it’s a sprint. Zombie will always try to reach a prey, even if it is impossible and they will continue doing so for days or even months. For example if a person is in house at the second story and Zombie spots him or her, the zombie will try to reach for him and try to climb the house, even if it is made out of metal or concrete. Also Zombies have little ability to climb ladders. Only one out of four will be able to climb sturdy ladders. Rope ladders are impossible.


There still is a lot more to know about Zombies, but this covers a lot of ground. Remember that your biggest advantage over zombies is your ability to think. They can be easily distracted and killed if you know how. I hope you enjoyed this post and as always: Support me by liking me on Facebook, let me know what you think in the comments & happy surviving!

11 thoughts on “Know your Enemy. What is a Zombie?

  1. If zombies don’t digest what they eat, why do they eat at all? If they want to increase their numbers they should bite somebody once, then leave them alone since that person is now infected. The number of zombies will never increase if they eat everyone they attack.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand what you are saying, but I doubt zombies actually have much intelligence, so they wouldn’t exactly realise that they turn people, so they just eat.


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