Alien facehugger
General Information
Homeworld Xenomorph Prime
Length 3 feet
Sapience Level Non-Sapient
Behind the Scenes
Universe Alien

The facehugger is the second stage in the life cycle of a Xenomorph. Its bony finger-like legs allow it to crawl rapidly and its long tail can launch it in great distances. These particular appendages give them an appearance somewhat comparable to chelicerate arthropods such as arachnids and horseshoe crabs.

The facehugger is a parasitoid; its only purpose being to make contact with the host's mouth for the implantation process. The Facehugger secures its eight finger-like appendages tightly around the head of its victim and wraps its tail tightly around the host's neck, eliciting a gasping response and allowing the insertion of an ovipositor into the host's esophagus.

An embryonic form of the Xenomorph is then implanted directly into the stomach of the host. During the implantation process the host is fed a constant supply of oxygen via two lung like organs. Attempts to remove the Facehugger result in the parasite tightening its tail around the host's neck, almost as a threat of death if not allowed to continue the implantation process. Another deterrent is its highly pressurized molecular acidic blood which sprays wildly if the parasite's skin is cut into, ensuring that if it is removed from the host surgically the host will suffer catastrophic burns, almost certainly leading to death.

As the implantation process nears completion the facehugger's epidermis solidifies into a chitinous layer of silicon, presumably in an attempt to ensure the success of the implantation. Once the embryo is safely implanted, the parasite detaches from the host and retreats to die in seclusion. Eventually, the larval form of the Xenomorph, known as a Chestburster, will violently erupt from the host's chest cavity, resulting in a gruesome and excruciating death.

While still residing within the Ovomorph, the facehugger appears to possess the ability to assess the physical viability of a potential host, including being able to discern the difference between living and artificial beings. The parasite will generally avoid hosts with obvious deformities or maladies, choosing instead to remain within the Ovomorph.

Alternate HostsEdit

The most detailed observations of the implantation process have been observed in Humans. Other hosts have also been observed, albeit in far less detail. These include Oxen, Canines and the species known as Yautja and Mala'kak.

Types of Facehuggers Edit

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • The Facehugger's design is based on human hands and genitalia.
  • Giger's original design for the facehugger was a much larger creature with eyes and a spring-loaded tail. Later, in response to comments from the filmmakers, Giger reduced the creature's size substantially. Dan O'Bannon initially conceived the facehugger as somewhat resembling an octopus, possessing tentacles. However, when he received HR Giger's designs, which substituted tentacles with fingerlike digits, he thought Giger's design concept superior. Since no one was available at the time, O'Bannon decided to design the facehugger prop himself. The technical elements of the musculature and bone were added by Ron Cobb. Giger's initial design for the smaller facehugger had the fingers facing forward, but O'Bannon's redesign shifted them to the side. When the foam rubber sculpture of the facehugger was produced, O'Bannon asked that it should remain unpainted, believing the rubber, which resembled human skin, was more plausible.


  • The facehugger looks like Alien Bira from Ultraseven.

External linksEdit

See AlsoEdit

Xenomorphs (see gallery)
Life Stages
Xenomorph Egg · Facehugger (Queen Facehugger) · Chestburster
Hive Castes
Carrier Xenomorph · Drone Xenomorph · Warrior Xenomorph · Hive Warrior · Praetorian · Ravager Xenomorph · Commander Xenomorph · Palatine · Xenomorph Queen · Empress · Queen Mother · King Alien
Mutated and/or Bioengineered Strains
Acid Alien (Infectoid) · Arachnid Alien · Arachnoid · Bodyburster · Chrysalis · Crusher · Deacon (Trilobite) · Defender · Genetic Drone · Genetic Queen · Giant Facehugger · K-Series · "Leech" · "Newborn Xenomorph" · Razor Claw · Red Xenomorph · Rogue Alien · Scorpion Alien · Smasher · Stalker Xenomorph · White Hybrid · Xenoborg
Host-based Strains
Aqua Alien · Bull Alien · Flying Alien (Flying Queen) · Gorilla Alien · Jock-Xenomorph · Killer Crab Alien · Mantis Alien · Night Cougar Alien · Panther Alien · Predalien · Rhino Alien · Runner · Snake Alien · Swimmer · Swarm Alien · Wild Boar Alien
Related Species (Breeders)
Mala'kak (a.k.a. Engineers or Space Jockeys) · Yautja (a.k.a. Predators)
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