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Do Villagers Despawn in Minecraft?

The many worlds of Minecraft can be scary, lonely places. With sundown comes the unceasing terrors of night, relentless in their hunger for your strangely angular flesh. Nobody wants to fend off hordes of undead and bloodthirsty wildlife alone. Indeed Villagers, and their many idiosyncrasies are what make the deceptively dangerous Minecraft life worth living.

But what is the natural life expectancy of your typical Minecraft villager? Going unmurdered long enough, do they die of natural causes? Do villagers despawn at a certain distance? All questions and more are answered below in our short guide below on despawn and how to keep your villagers from the death’s many faces in Minecraft.

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How long does it take items to despawn in Minecraft?

Any dropped items in Minecraft will automatically despawn after five minutes. Arrows and tridents last for one minute where they are embedded, and saddles will despawn should their respective mount disappear.

Do villagers despawn?

Minecraft villager holding bread

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Nope. Not in Minecraft. Without any players within a 128-block radius, mobs automatically despawn. Similarly, mobs without a player within a 32block radius about a 2.5% chance to despawn every second. Aside from a few special mobs with unique despawn timers, this holds true for all mobs without a nametag

Except villagers. They are exempt from despawn timers and, barring any bugs (looking at you, Bedrock Edition!), should not despawn on their own. They can, however, be annoyingly hard to keep alive until you get the hang of it. Villagers can die in all sorts of ways. They can be struck by lightning, turned to witches, murdered by hostiles, suffocated, starved to death… the list goes on. That said, the basics of keeping your voxel-based simpletons alive are, fittingly, pretty simple.

Keep them in quarantine

Minecraft Villagers, much like us nowadays, are to stay in quarantine at all times. It’s a dangerous, dangerous world out there and the best way to protect them is to keep them indoors. And yes, this means sealing them inside without a door. 

Keep the space well-lit

Zombies spawn in areas below a lighting level of 7, so make sure everything is well illuminated before leaving your villagers to their own devices.

Make sure they’re housed… in a house

Make sure there are no openings to the sky in any part of your villager’s shelter, or the game may not recognize it as a house and choose to spawn hostile mobs. 

Keep your villagers… in a village

A villager more than 32 blocks from its original village will forget said village after six seconds, after which it may wander off and be murdered by other mobs. Which is kind of a fitting end for a guy who can forget all the friends and family he ever had in six seconds. 

Do Villagers Respawn?

two minecraft villagers mating

Sadly, deceased Villagers do not respawn. Much like the human population, they also do not materialize out of thin air. If you went to check on one of your villages and found it suspiciously empty, perhaps as a result of a zombie siege or band of wayward illagers, freet not! You do have a couple options to rebuild once you’ve finished grieving.

Breeding Villagers

Generally, you need villagers to get together and… well… make villagers. If you catch my drift. If you don’t have any villagers you can always go and “borrow” a pair from another village — you know, human trafficking– and encourage them to mate. Yes, sometimes the way to spread the love is by kidnapping innocent villagers, sealing them inside a doorless chamber and depriving them of all liberty. 

But first, your villagers must be “willing” to breed. To get them in the mood, you will need free beds with at least a 2 block clearance above (so your baby villagers can jump without loading inside a block and suffocating) and food in the villagers’ inventory. Because nobody makes baby villagers on an empty stomach. As long as the bed is reachable and both villagers are within the bounds of the village, hard-edged, voxel-based love will soon be in the air.

Curing Zombie Villagers

If you find yourself fresh out of willing humans, you can find yourself a zombie villager and cure them of their vile affliction. For that you’ll need either a Splash Potion of Weakness, Lingering Potion of Weakness, or Arrow of Weakness alongside one Golden Apple.

First and foremost, get your zombie villager to a safe spot to protect it from daylight and, once they’re cured, from hostile mobs. Douse them with the weakness potion or shoot them with the tipped arrow, and once they’re weakened, feed them the golden apple. Once they begin shaking and emitting red swirls, they’re on the path to wellness. 

In about 2 to 5 minutes they will once again be a healthy human villager ready to start churning out baby villagers as part of your inhumane breeding program. And remember to prepare for their transport back to the village as well; You can kidnap a villager, lock him in a basement, shoot him with poison-tipped arrows, and force him to copulate but you can’t put a leash on him.

Image Credits: 1, 2

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