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Xenomorph Weaknesses: How To Kill An Alien

By | Published April 02, 2023

Xenomorphs are one of the most iconic and feared alien species in science fiction. With their unique physiology and highly adaptable nature, they have proven to be formidable foes for many space-faring explorers and soldiers. However, despite being called the Perfect Organism, they also have several weaknesses that can be exploited by their enemies. In this article, we will explore some of the most significant Xenomorph weaknesses and how they can be used to gain an advantage over these deadly creatures and to kill them for good.

Vulnerability To Fire

Fire is the main Xenomorph weakness

One of the most well-known and easily exploited weaknesses of the Xenomorph species is their vulnerability to fire. The Xenomorph's endoskeleton is under pressure from the concentrated acid flowing inside it and enough heat will cause it to crack. However, smaller flames will not hurt the adult Xenomorphs but might cause them to retreat for a while. Moreover, fire can also be used to create barriers and obstacles that can slow down or trap a Xenomorph, giving hunters or survivors time to escape or prepare for an attack.

Not Being Bulletproof

The Xenomorphs are not bulletproof

Despite their tough and seemingly impenetrable exoskeletons, Xenomorphs are not bulletproof. Well-placed shots can kill them, although it may take multiple hits to take down one of the larger and more formidable specimens. Bigger caliber and high-velocity bullets have a better chance of penetrating the endoskeleton, including the 10×24mm caseless ammunition of the Pulse Rifle. Pistols have a chance to kill at very close range, as was the case with Vasquez killing a Xenomorph by placing the pistol to its temple. Still, the knowledge that bullets can harm these creatures can be reassuring to anyone facing them in combat.

Hive Mind

The Queen controls the Hive while Ripley looks

One of the strengths of the Xenomorph species is their hive mind. This allows them to coordinate their attacks and work together as a collective organism. However, it also means that if one member of the hive is injured or killed, the others will know, potentially making them more cautious or aggressive in response. The Queen goes to great lengths to protect their young, allowing her to be blackmailed to offer her cooperation. Furthermore, killing a Queen might confuse and demoralize the entire hive, until a new inexperienced Queen is found, giving another advantage.

Limited Intelligence

The Alien gets thrown out of an airlock in Alien

While Xenomorphs are highly adaptable and can learn from their surroundings, they have limited intelligence and are driven by their basic instincts to hunt, kill, and reproduce. This can be exploited by using tactics that rely on the creatures' predictability, such as setting traps or using decoys to lure them into vulnerable positions. The Xenomorphs have been time and time again fallen to similar traps, like being shoved out of airlocks or blown up inside a contained space. The smartest Xenomorph is the Alien Queen, but she might not always be around to control her minions.

Limited Ranged Attacks

A Xenomorph spits acid in Alien: Resurrection

Xenomorphs have powerful close-range attacks, but they have limited ranged attacks. This makes them vulnerable at a distance and can be exploited by using weapons that allow for long-range engagement. For regular Xenomorphs, the longest-ranged attack is with a tail, giving it a few meters of reach. Some Xenomorph types can use acid spit, which extends its attack to about a dozen meters, but Aliens have been using it rarely.

Weakness of the Young

Alien eggs and facehuggers

Like many species, Xenomorphs are vulnerable when they are young. They hatch from eggs and start life as small and relatively weak creatures. This can be exploited by targeting them when they are young and less able to defend themselves. The Xenomorph eggs can be "cooked" while they are placed close together in the hive. Facehuggers and Chestbursters are agile but have very soft skin. While facehuggers can attack one target, chestbursters usually just try to scatter and hide, giving a window of opportunity to hunt them down before they grow big.

A Need to Breed

Xenomorphs carrying victims to the hive in Aliens: Labyrinth

Xenomorphs have a strong biological urge to breed, which can be used to manipulate them. By luring them into a trap or using their reproductive instincts against them, it may be possible to incapacitate or even kill these creatures. A good example of this comes from Aliens: Berserker, where a point-man soldier was led to be captured by Xenomorphs while leading the other Colonial Marines to the location of the hatching chamber. The point man also had a protective mask that could delay the attacks of a facehugger, giving enough time for the others to rescue him later.

Inefficient Life Cycle

The Egg Morphing scene from Alien

The Xenomorph life cycle is highly complex but also somewhat inefficient, with multiple stages and host species required to produce a new generation. This can be exploited by targeting the various stages of the life cycle or interrupting the reproductive process. The Xenomorphs require at least one host for each new adult to be grown. However, when a Queen is not present, they might actually need two, as another human can be transformed into an egg, producing the needed facehugger. The Neomorphs from Alien: Covenant had a much leaner life cycle, infecting hosts through the air with spores and allowing a burster to be born in dozens of minutes.

Conflict With All Foreign Species

Predators fighting Xenomorphs

The Xenomorphs go into conflict with any foreign species they encounter, whether it is humans, Predators, or Space Jockeys. They lack any diplomacy and the other species might team up against them as the Xenomorphs are often seen as the greater of two evils. It is common in the Alien vs. Predator series for humans to uneasily team up with the Predators against Xenomorphs, even if temporarily. Also, a few remaining Space Jockeys from the Alien comics have helped the human species battle the Aliens.

Too Many Hybrid Subspecies

Black Xenomorphs fighting Red Xenomorphs

There is a ridiculously large number of Xenomorph hybrids and subspecies, created through genetic experimentation or natural selection. These strains often go into conflict with one another, giving humans an advantage over both of them. For example, both the Xenomorph King and Newborn fought the Alien Queen, while the Black Xenomorphs had an all-out war with the Red Xenomorphs on Xenomorph Prime. Furthermore, the Neomorphs would have fought the Praetomorph from Alien: Covenant, but the scene was cut from the movie. The Xenomorphs are unpredictable, but they are predictably aggressive, even amongst themselves.

Indifference To Androids

Ash looks at the Facehugger in Alien

Finally, Xenomorphs are sometimes known to be indifferent to androids. This means that androids can potentially move around Xenomorphs without being detected or targeted. However, this can also be a double-edged sword, as androids may not be able to effectively defend against Xenomorph attacks, making them vulnerable targets. A slowly moving android could carry an explosive or a nerve agent to the center of the hive, possibly bypassing their defenses. Xenomorps still attach combat androids, but they might have more difficulty detecting or smelling them.


In conclusion, while Xenomorphs are highly adaptable and dangerous creatures, they also have several significant weaknesses that can be exploited by those who know how to use them. From their vulnerability to fire and bullets to their limited intelligence and ranged attacks, there are many ways to take advantage of these creatures' weaknesses. By understanding and exploiting these weaknesses, it is possible to survive encounters with Xenomorphs and even emerge victorious in battle. However, it is crucial to remember that these creatures are highly unpredictable and adaptable, and even the most well-prepared hunters can never let their guard down around them.

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