“The Crawler. Interesting attempt to merge human and arachnid genes. Sort-of worked, too - these little nasties have a habit of appearing in all sorts of strange places!” —Loading screen tip
The Crawler is a weak specimen that often becomes annoying. It makes its first appearance in the second wave of the game, spawning in unusual places, and is generally faster than the player. The Crawler usually finishes off those who are lacking in health due to their speed and agility, as severely wounded players are more likely to panic and run. Crawlers usually come in groups of two to four, which can make them even more dangerous.
The Crawler appears as a black-colored creature with white dots. It seems to have tarantula-like fur growing in patches all over its body. It has eight shiny black eyes, no nose, and a vertical mouth with numerous rows of razor-sharp teeth, flanked by a spider's palpus. The human part of it is still plainly visible: human-like arms with long-clawed hands on the end, and muscular legs used for jumping from surface-to-surface.
During the Twisted Christmas update, the Crawler was re-skinned as a mutated reindeer. For the Summer Sideshow event the Crawler was re-skinned as the girl with two heads. This skin depicts a young female conjoined twin, with four arms, two heads and four legs, with the twins being conjoined at the back. The creature wears a pink dress and each head has a pink flower in its hair.
The Halloween Sideshow event featured the Crawler in a skin based on its skin from summer event, but with one of the conjoined twins dressed as a devil, the other as an angel. For the Hillbilly Horror event the crawler was re-skinned as Uncle Pervis, who appears to be lacking a nose, lips, his left eye, and most of his bottom half (see picture below).
Whenever the Crawler gets close enough to its target, it pounces towards the target, inflicting 6-8-9-11 damage scaling with difficulty, if it lands on its victim. The Crawler will then attack the target by biting continuously at close range until either the Crawler or the victim is killed. Crawler having a small stature, easily can hide between specimen and appear right under your nose as you drop the first attacking line, pouncing at you under your sight of firing. Just like Stalker, Crawler too punishes going down on iron sights for a prolonged time but tries to seek out the player rather than block the space for manoeuver.
Crawlers at higher difficulty levels with their higher speed, are capable of hitting twice while in mid-air and do it consistently. Effectively doubling their damage regardless of victim movement direction or their momentum, as they can slash repeatedly while floating down from their jump before landing to hit for a second time by collision.
Sometimes, a player is not aware that Crawlers are attacking them due to their dark skin, small size and the fact that the motion blur that occurs upon sustaining damage also makes it harder to see them. At these times a swarm can be highly lethal in a bad position as their leap speed easily tops the highly mobile perks and they can instantly attack by a simple brush away. Some classes do not experience the motion blur when attacked by it, as level 4 Medic' armor or higher will fully absorb all minor damage caused by them. This may also be true for the Berserker perk with armor as well.
Even though the Crawler has low health and is one of the weakest damage specimens, it has speed and agility to compensate for those downsides. The Crawler is extremely dangerous to low-health players, as they can pounce and damage you even as you are running away. To avoid being pounced or attacked, a player should be cautious and listen to their hissing and gurgling noises. A large flock of crawlers can be troublesome to deal with, especially when they're coupled with medium or large targets. Players can hear them saying "I hate you" with a gurgling voice when they're giving their last breath, preferably under hardskin boots.
The Crawler was an experiment in fusing species. In this case, a human and an arachnid. Much like the Clot, it is one of the few who valiantly defend the Patriarch during the final wave, and also makes mention in the midst of its garbled dialogue that "We love our father".
|Beginner||Normal||Hard||Suicidal||Hell on Earth|
Having the lowest default health of all specimens with 70 body health and 25 head health, the Crawler is easily killed with any weapon. To conserve the ammo of more powerful weapons, the 9mm tactical pistol can be used to kill the Crawler in 1-4 hits, depending on the difficulty level and headshot accuracy. Head-shots are not as critical on these Specimens as with others due to their low health unless they paired up with other specimen or coming in flocks. The Crawler's small size and dark skin help it blend in with the environment or hide behind other specimen, making flashlights useful in spotting it. A high level Berserker or any survivor carrying light enough equipment, can try to bait up Crawler by going forward and immediately backing away for them to leap into empty space where it will take a brief moment for them to recover and become open to counter attacks.
Because of the Crawler's size and dexterity, it can often be hard to hit or even spot and is rarely found alone at high difficulties. It is especially troublesome for the Berserker using melee weapons, as he usually must track its movements to kill a Crawler sometimes from mid-air and then aim again to balance. In some positions, the Berserker must crouch in order to kill them. On Normal difficulty, the Crawler can be killed in one hit with a Machete but at higher difficulties onperk usage is required to kill it outright in a single bodyshot. On any difficulty, it can be killed in one hit with a machete or any bigger melee weapon in the hands of a level 5 or 6 Berserker, like a Katana or Claymore thanks respectfully to their speed and reach. At off-perk use Katana and any other heavier melee weapon packs enough damage to kill a Crawler with a single heavy alt fire attack.
However at high difficulties against swarming numbers, using melee solely won't help a player to stand their position. Against high number of Crawlers it's advised for one to carry a fire arm to dispatch them quickly. When aimed well at their heads any pistol bigger than plain 9mm tactical such as MK23 and .44 Magnum can decapitate them in one headshot and one shot them respectively at Normal and Hard from body. A Handcannon bodyshot can kill them at one shot in Suicidal difficulty or lower and kill them at any difficulty by one headshot. Pistols can be used to dispatch two, three Crawlers with ease but lack power and fire rate at the high difficulties unless you're very precise with them. Similarly, DLC Flare revolver can make very quick work of them with afterburn by a whiff from an impact splash without requiring any precision but suffers small magazine capacity. Some heavier weapons such as Lever-action rifle can one shot to body at any given difficulty including Hell on Earth and a compact rifle like SCAR can two shot them from body even at any difficulty with offperk use.
You can actually jump on top of the crawler and stay on top of him for some short time. This can be useful if you have to reload or in any case if you want to avoid damage, as the Crawler being underneath means it cannot hit the player. Also, when you jump on the crawler (much like any other specimen) - it takes some minor (1-4 points) damage, so you can literally "step on the bug" in order to kill him. Though it is not advised to do so if there are some other specimens around.