Zombie Taxonomy

Zombies are everywhere these days, and we don’t mean in a ‘do we really need another remake of a Romero film?’ way. As soon as you step outside the walls of your settlement, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll spot at least one on the horizon.

You may think that one zombie is very much like another; they’re all just groaning corpses, right? 

Wrong! There are as many variations on a zombie as there were zombie movies before the apocalypse. Knowing which kinds you’re likely to encounter in the wild could be what saves your life!


Your standard ambulatory zombie. Chances are you’ve already beaten in the skull of at least one of them. Seen in various states of decay. The fresher they are, the faster usually, but you’re still likely to be able to outpace them if you put on a burst of speed. Getting to the roof of a building can help if there’s only ladder access, as can climbing a tree. 

The real danger comes when they’re in groups. A pack of zoms can quickly overwhelm you and all it takes is a scratch before you’re joining the horde. Always try to shake them off quickly, because one or two zombies tend to attract more, and over long distances, your stamina will give out long before theirs!


You’d think that zombies without legs would be pretty useless. However crawlers have their own special set of risks associated with them. These zombies have a nasty habit of hiding in undergrowth or under rubble, ready to nip at the ankles of the unwary like your former neighbour’s demonic chihuahua (before your neighbour became a zombie too).

Thankfully they’re even slower than normal shamblers, so as long as you’re careful, you should be able to escape them. If you’re travelling through fields, or areas with a lot of damaged buildings, it’s worth taking a long stick along with you to test out the ground and check for any nasty surprises.

Fast Zombies

These zombies are the worst that you’re likely to see on an everyday run. They’re fast enough to keep pace with a normal jog, and may even be able to speed up to catch you if you pick up the pace. Be prepared for a hell of a sprint if you encounter them.

However fast they are though, they’re no more agile than the normal undead, and no smarter either. Lose them by ducking through buildings, or climbing ladders to higher ground. The McShell maneuver is also a possibility here, although you’ll need to be pretty confident of your terrain to pull it off.

Groupie Zombies

It’s been suggested that zombies are often driven to keep doing the same actions as they did before they died, albeit with more decay and risk of horrific death. Everyone has a story of that one zombie postman who kept shambling his route months after his death. 

So what happens when you get groups of dedicated fans suddenly turned into zombies after a concert or event? Groupie zombies. These zoms tend to keep following the object of their affections no matter what. It has been rumoured that a zombified Taylor Swift is still out there, leading her own pack of obsessively loyal undead.

The best way to escape these zombies is to distract them with the voice or image of the person they’re obsessed with.

Underwater Zombies

Photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash

You’d think that you would be able to find sanctuary on the open ocean, or in the middle of a lake, but sadly, even the high seas are infested with the scourge of the undead.

These zombies tend to be even more rotted than the usual land-based monsters, and can often be found covered in sea weed, abandoned fishing lines, and the remains of long since punctured rubber rings. You might even see some weird barnacles or weird red coral growing into them.

Your best bet to evade these aquatic undead is to get up on dry land – they tend to fall apart fairly quickly once the water pressure isn’t holding them together!

Organised Zombies

Potentially more rumour than fact, it’s not difficult to find stories of organised zombies if you look on Rofflenet. There’s always someone with a tale of zombies marching in formation, or working together as more than a mindless horde. Supposedly there have even been sightings of zombies using tools and weapons!

Of course, most of these stories are probably just that – stories. Things got very confused during the apocalypse, and it’s easy to give the undead more credit than they deserve. 

However, there are an awful lot of stories like this, and it’s not always possible to tell what is the post-apocalyptic community’s version of creepypastas and horrible coping mechanisms, and what may have a grain of truth to them.