Wolverine has survived even a nuclear bomb. Even poisons don't work on him. He seems immortal due to his regeneration powers.

Can he survive without oxygen while his body exists in full working state (I am not talking about skeleton-only Wolverine when his respiratory system is not available)?

  • Just a note on the nuclear bomb: even a few humans survived nuclear bombs, because they are dropped with air-burst and explode well over ground.
    – vsz
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 12:51

6 Answers 6


Short Answer: No. If his regeneration has any relationship to the actual biological processes of terrestrial beings, without oxygen he should eventually slow down and stop moving as the fuel of organic life on Earth is utilized through oxygen use. Would he be dead? Unlikely, he has jump-started his biological processes in the past, I would assume if presented with oxygen his body would start right up.

Longer Answer: The mechanics of Wolverine's regeneration are poorly defined. As such we are forced to take certain ideas since they have already been portrayed as feats in the X-franchise books, for granted.

Logan is able to:

  • As long as there is a single cell (I suppose it needs a nucleus and cellular data to engage his supercharged cellular mitosis) return from being nearly obliterated.The time needed for this complete regeneration has not been defined.
  • Returning from such a state can temporarily erase his memory but those memories return to him over time.
  • He does not need to consume any mass to regenerate damaged tissues. So no matter how much mass is displaced from his body, he can, without consuming new mass, regenerate his tissues.
  • This would also imply his body can restart itself without a complete nervous or active nervous system, literally jump-starting himself from death.
  • (Q: Where does his consciousness reside during this time...)

Despite Wolverine's ability to regenerate tissue without having consumed mass, he still seems to have basic biological processes like eating, drinking, and respiration. Are they truly necessary? It has not been determined that he does not need to eat, only that he can survive for a long time without food.

Since he still appears to need to breathe, it is likely putting him into an area without air, would eventually starve his body of much needed oxygen. How long he could maintain his operation without oxygen might be longer than a normal human, but if he uses oxygen like normal humans, he would eventually require oxygen.

Without it his cells would eventually shut down and await refueling. This should drive him into a coma-like state. He would not be dead, seeing how as soon as his body was exposed to oxygen, he would revive, but he would not be mobile, either.

If the take the other approach and say he does not need to breathe, then his powers begin to border on the supernatural or require a completely new framework to be used to define them.

  • 20
    Wait, he can generate matter from nothing and you're saying that his powers might border on supernatural? Suspension of disbelief is such a weird thing.
    – Tacroy
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 22:12
  • 4
    It's the problem with many of the mutants of the Marvel Universe. For example, Colossus is made of "living steel" that comes from a parallel dimension that replaces his organic body when he activates his power. Cyclops and Havok draw their powers from an extra-dimensional source outside of the mainstream Marvel Universe. So Wolverine regenerates from an unknown source replenishing his physical mass when ever he is damaged in combat. They claim none of these powers are supernatural in origin. So "in theory" Wolverine's power wouldn't be either. But suspension of belief can only go so far... Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 22:46
  • 1
    Wolverine can regenerate from single cell. While in single cell mode, how do you suppose, he would consume oxygen without respiratory system?
    – user931
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 3:15
  • 1
    If Wolverine can regenerate from a single cell, if you cut him an arm, why doesn't the arm regenerate into a second full Wolverine?
    – Envite
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 9:55
  • 1
    @SS-3 As a single cell, I don't think he would have any problem taking in oxygen through the cell membrane. That's how oxygen gets into a cell from capillaries.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 20:05

IIRC Wolverine has been able to adapt to situations when Oxygen was hard to come by, during the Brood wars(on the home planet or brood ships). But I think he will still need oxygen like the majority of Earth based lifeforms.


I'm not sure about the Mainstream Univerve but in the Ultimate Universe Wolverine did not specifically need "air" to survive. After fighting the Hulk Shield detained Wolverine with his head separated from his body. Nick Fury stated that when Logan was placed in a vacume his body simply shut down and ceased to go about its operations. He was still tecqunickly alive but...(also if his head is removed from his body he breathed from his skin) Fury wondered is Wolverines mutant power not healing but instead surviving,

  • That's odd, because earlier in the Ultimate Universe Sabertooth was convinced that drowning would make Wolverine braindead. Wolverine apparently believed it too, because he went to extreme lengths to get away from Sabertooth. Sabertooth even said, "Sure, you might heal from the damage, but you'll be a vegetable."
    – Jeff
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 13:13

It is shown in this question that Wolverine himself says that he will die like anyone else in the water. Assuming this is because of the (lack of) oxygen.

  • His intention is another thing there...
    – user931
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 4:42

No. Since Wolverine's physiology is based upon the carbon-based Terrestrial model, without oxygen there could be no cell activity. Now, there's a 'survivable' and 'non-survivable' set of scenarios involving no oxygen and the mutant Wolverine.

'Low or minimal oxygen environment'

In a low or minimal oxygen environment such as underwater, frozen in ice, high heat or deep underground as Wolverine has been portrayed his body would go into a state of torpor. Similar to many types of animals his cells would go into stasis and all cell activity would either be reduced to barely functional levels or would cease altogether like Cave Crickets and some types of Frogs that freeze solid during winter. When oxygen levels return to a state which would allow full functions, he would revive.


In the case of Wolverine being tossed out an airlock or getting punched into orbit without the writers pulling a 'rabbit out their butts', he dies. Unlike the low/minimal oxygen scenario, in a vacuum there's nothing to hold his cell structure together. All his cells would explode and therefore there would be no 'single cell' which could survive to regenerate him entirely. Even the possibility of a cell surviving inside his Adamantium skull or bones is truly unlikely because they are not pressurized. Then there's the 'double whammy' of either being exposed to the unfettered power of the sun's radiation (if it can give you sunburn 93M miles away through a thick atmosphere you have no chance outside it in a vacuum) or the unearthly cold of deep space. So the options in that scenario are; cells explode then irradiated and burn or cells explode and freeze to near absolute-zero.

So with that in mind without some goofy 'oh by the way' excuse, he can survive without oxygen for a time within limits and dies outright in a vacuum.

  • 3
    How can you say that rate of cell explosion in vaccum is greater than rate of cell regeneration?
    – user931
    Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 3:17
  • 1
    The part about vacuum shows conceptual misunderstand. You don't "explode" when decompressing except under very unusual circumstances, and even then there are large chunks left. And yes, the cells inside his adamantium skull are essentially pressurized. They wouldn't decompress, just freeze solid eventually.
    – John O
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 14:41

Hmm. I suppose this would be a good time to put forth my theories.

Short Answer: Yes.

Long Answer: Everyone is incorrect about Wolverine's abilities, including some of the people who write him. Wolverine does not heal, he reforms.

Hear me out. His body, the flesh, separate from him as a person, is essentially human, if tough. His cells will not DIE from lack of oxygen, like ours, but he cannot have biological function, as there is nothing mutant about his processes. Without oxygen, he cannot move or think, but he won't die. He simply... stops. His ACTUAL powers are relevant.

Wolverine has 2 powers that define all his abilities: 1. Wolverine is a TOTEM. He is likely the totem for the Wolverine Spirit, but in theory he could be any hostile, small, clawed animal totem (like a honey badger) . His claws, ferocity and berserker rage come from this (as having healing powers in no way touches these qualities). This is reinforced by other totems, like Spider-man - little known fact is that Spider-man has the abilities to see in the dark, talk to and control spiders, and grow wrist "fangs" in the presence of other totems, and come back to life from death once, all as a consequence of being the Spider Totem, and not his mutations.

Suspension of disbelief aside, random mutation to develop animal qualities, that is, MANY qualities and not just one, from one specific animal, is unlikely. If you're part animal, some intelligence likely made you that way.

  1. Wolverine's ACTUAL power is that of entropic reformation.

Every sentient creature, at least in the Marvel Universe, possesses an astral form. That is, a mental construct that is the collection of your thoughts and perceptions and memories that represents you on the Astral plane, and connects to your body as your "mind" or "soul". This Astral plane is also the source of all psionic abilities and the Power Cosmic itself.

Wolverine's BODY is not the mutation. His abilities are actually psionic.

All matter breaks down into its simplest form naturally over time. It moves in the direction that takes the least energy to fall into. This is where Wolverine's powers dwell.

When he is injured, the disparity between his form, and his ASTRAL form, causes an entropic warp. The lowest energy state around his cells becomes "being part of Wolverine". This is why he does not require food to heal. When he is in the presence of his own matter, that is, he is torn or blown apart, he "heals" faster as his own matter returns to him. When he is disintegrated or burned, matter around him that was naturally breaking down, like radioactive isotopes, instead break-UP, absorbing ambient particles to rebuild him.

Once he is rebuilt, his natural bodily functions take over.

Yes, this means Wolverine doesn't actually need to eat. Yes, this would make him largely resistant to poison and disease as the damage they do is corrected. Yes, this means he can technically "change his shape" if he is mentally traumatized enough to change his self-image. Yes, this would explain his resistance to psionic attacks, as his Astral form is constantly absorbing energy, his ACTUAL digestive system. and Yes, this does mean Wolverine is immortal until he completely decides, even subconsciously, he is dead.

Here is where my theory majorly differs from others, though it's just a technicality.

If Wolverine were in a spacial vaccuum, yes he would "die". His DNA would begin to shred. He would freeze and most of his cells would burst as ice expanded in them. However, as soon as he was exposed to a higher energy, higher entropy system, even a star, he would begin to reform (yes, yes.. and be destroyed at the same time so he'd be trapped forever).

It literally requires the Power Cosmic, and the destruction of his astral form, to kill Wolverine.

C'mon. Tell me i didn't get this totally right.

Edit: I'll add more reason why i believe this is the case. - Notice there are no identical clones of wolverine. No one collects his body parts or farms him for adamantium beta. If i am correct, he CANNOT be cloned. The effects of his abilities can be, more or less, duplicated, but HE cannot. Any matter, anywhere, that has his exact same genetic code would be "his" and would rapidly break down and cease to exist as he reformed..

Why else arent there 40,000 cyborg wolverine assassins around as he leaves chunks of himself behind EVERY fight? Why do they always go after HIM himself?

  • There are a lot of bold statements here and not one jot of evidence to back them up.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 17:04
  • the evidence is empirical. There is no other explanation that can cover EVERY known aspect of his abilities. Pretty harsh to downvote it very first comment because you cannot find a hole in it. If you wanted to put it in canon, remember, no one, even Wolverine, KNOWS any of this.
    – Nookleer
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 17:05
  • I suppose I could start to pick holes if you really want me to. For example. "If Wolverine were in a spacial vaccuum, yes he would "die"" - He's been in space on several occasions and hasn't died, notably in Return of Wolverine #5. And d'ya see what I did there, I backed up with some evidence.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 17:10
  • Yet you ignored everything else to make your point. Yes.. he would die. His heart would eventually stop. His brain function would eventually cease. And as soon as he was back in a place he could regenerate, he would pop right back to life. I suspect you just didn't understand my explanation.
    – Nookleer
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 17:26

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