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Yautja Respiration: How Do The Predators Breathe?

By | Published December 30, 2023

The Yautja possess a complex respiratory system that allows them to thrive in various environments, including Earth. Being used to the hostile environment of Yautja Prime, the Predators strive in a hot and nitrogen-rich environment. This article explores the intricacies of their respiratory system, focusing on their lungs, breathing aids, and adaptations for different atmospheres.

Yautja Respiratory System

The Jungle Hunter breathes without a bio-mask in the first Predator movie

The Yautja's respiratory system is highly adaptable, allowing them to survive in a range of atmospheric conditions. The Predators don't have noses and breathe through their mouths. They can breathe while their mandibles are closed, leaving a small gap for the air to pass through. Like with humans, it is possible that the Yautja skin helps them to breathe as well. Furthermore, their ability to switch between different breathing aids is a key factor in their versatility as interstellar hunters.

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Yautja Lungs

The Predators lungs, visible from inside in AvP 2: Primal Hunt

Predator lungs are similar to human lungs but are adapted to process a different mix of atmospheric gases. This adaptation plays a critical role in their ability to perform physically demanding activities, especially during hunts. The Predator's lungs are briefly seen in the Aliens vs. Predator 2: Primal Hunt expansion, when the POV of a chestbursting Predalien is shown from within the ribcage of an Ancient Predator. Seemingly, the lungs are green in color, just like the Predator blood, and the Yautja possesses two of them.

Predators Breathing In Earth's Atmosphere

The City Hunter breathing on Earth without a bio-mask

While Predators can breathe in Earth's atmosphere, they can only do so for a limited period. The length of this period is not exactly clear, but it may vary depending on the subspecies or type of the Predator. Presumably, the Predators can at least easily breathe a few dozen minutes in Earth's atmosphere, up to a few hours. This capability is challenged further when they are wounded, as injuries can exacerbate the difficulty in breathing Earth's air.

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Bio-Mask As a Breathing Aid

A Predator bio-mask from Predator vs. Wolverine

The bio-mask is a staple in Predator technology, giving the Predators enhanced abilities. It not only aids in breathing but also serves as a protective gear equipped with various sensory enhancements. The mask adjusts Earth's atmospheric conditions to be more compatible with the Predator's respiratory needs. Given access to a power source, the bio-mask allows breathing for an indefinite amount of time and seals perfectly around the curvature of the Predator's face.

Predator Breathing Masks

The City Hunter uses a breathing mask in Predator 2

In situations where the primary bio-mask becomes unavailable, Predators are equipped with an additional, emergency breathing mask. This mask becomes crucial, especially in instances where the Predator loses their main bio-mask, as it enables them to survive long enough to reach their spacecraft and obtain replacement equipment. Designed similarly to a scuba diver's second-stage regulator, known as an octopus, this mask has the versatility to be shared with other Predators if the situation demands. Importantly, this backup mask supplies a breathing mix rich in nitrogen, aligning closely with the atmospheric composition of the Yautja's home planet, Yautja Prime, and catering to their specific respiratory needs.

Predators With Upgraded Lungs

The Upgrade Predator from The Predator

Some Predators may have enhanced lungs, allowing them to better adapt to different atmospheres, including Earth's. This biological enhancement further underscores their ability to survive and hunt in various environments. The hybrid Upgrade Predator from The Predator was one of the very few Yautja who did not use a bio-mask at all, relying fully on his upgraded senses and abilities. With enhanced breathing, he could seemingly survive on Earth indefinitely without any aids or additional power sources.

Predators Breathing Underwater

A Predator breathes underwater in Predator: Hell and Hot Water

Despite common misconceptions, Predators are not capable of breathing underwater without breathing aids, although they have some reptilian traits. The Predators are great swimmers thanks to their big and strong arms and feet and enjoy swimming in hot waters while hunting exotic creatures like sharks and giant octopuses. During hunts like these, the Predators either resort to their bio-masks or use a scuba-mask-like device that covers their eyes and mouth. The Predators hunted underwater most famously in the Predator: Hell & Hot Water comic book, showcasing their great adaptability to new environments.

Predators Breathing In Space

A Predator Space Suit from the Rage War

Although the Yautja bio-masks can give some breathing aid for a couple of minutes in space, the Yautja body itself does not endure the vacuum. In the vacuum of space, Predators rely on their advanced suits equipped with life-support systems. These systems replicate the necessary atmospheric conditions for the Yautja, enabling them to breathe and operate in space. The Predator armored space-suits made an appearance in the epic Rage War saga, allowing Predators to hunt in a zero-G environment. This technology underscores their technological prowess and ability to adapt to the most extreme environments, further cementing their status as formidable interstellar hunters.


The unique respiratory system within the Yautja anatomy enables them to adapt to various environments. Their lungs are more advanced than humans, helping them in their hunts. They use special masks for breathing, like the bio-mask for different atmospheres and a backup mask for emergencies. Some Predators even have upgraded lungs for better performance. Although they can't naturally breathe underwater or in space, their technology helps them survive in these conditions. This mix of natural ability and technology makes them skilled hunters in any environment, adding to their intrigue in the world of science fiction.

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