Upon death, a wither skeleton can drop Coal, Bones, a Stone Sword and rarely (1 in 50 chance) their Head. Three wither skeleton heads and four Soul Sand blocks are required in order to spawn The Wither.
Wither skeletons will only spawn within Nether fortresses as of the 1.4 pre-release. It is assumed that they follow the same rules for spawning as blazes, which will only spawn naturally, and not from a spawn where the pack spawn is selected within a nether fortress. From this pack spawn, the mobs can be spawned in, close to or even inside the fortress. They will also spawn when a Wither is below half health, in which 3-4 will spawn.
Unlike regular Skeletons, wither skeletons carry swords instead of bows. In appearance, they are black and almost as tall as the Enderman. Being a Nether mob, they won't burn in sunlight and they won't die if in lava or on Fire.
If a player is hit by a wither skeleton, a player will be infected with the wither effect, which will slowly drain their health. Unlike poison, however, it can kill a player. Using a skeleton spawn egg in Creative mode in the Nether has a 75% chance of spawning a wither skeleton instead of a regular skeleton.
Like regular skeletons and Strays, wither skeletons will avoid wolves, and are considered undead mobs. They are immune to poison, healed by splash potions of harming, and harmed by splash potions of healing.
The wither skeleton is taller than the regular skeleton and is slightly shorter than the Enderman, making it the third tallest hostile mob in the game. It almost looks charred, possibly because of fire and lava, or because of the wither effect's color. It holds a stone sword instead of a bow.
- Getting into a two-block tall space will prevent the wither skeleton from following.
- Using a bow and arrows will allow a player to pick off the wither skeleton from a distance.
- Using the
/summoncommand, wither skeletons can be spawned with bows like skeletons. Unlike skeletons, if they shoot an arrow, the arrow will be on fire.
- In Creative mode, a spider egg has a 0.8% chance of spawning a spider jockey with a wither skeleton.
- Wither skeletons have a chance of spawning left handed, like normal skeletons.
- When on Normal and Hard difficulty, the wither skeleton can inflict the wither effect on a player.
- When one spawns a spider in the Nether, there is a 2% chance of it spawning as a Wither Skeleton Jockey.
- Wither skeletons cannot spawn in the overworld, but can travel there through a Portal.