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This question already has an answer here:

Just because she chopped off their arms and de-toothed them, wouldn't they still be clamoring to eat her, like all the other walkers?

marked as duplicate by DVK-on-Ahch-To, phantom42, user1027 Feb 21 '14 at 22:33

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    This hasn't been answered exactly. The only explanation is like @JC2k8 said, that after Michonne cut off their jaws and hands that they lost interest. – Shevliaskovic Feb 12 '14 at 10:06
  • The question has nothing to with how the pet walkers ward off other walkers, that is because of the smell. We already know that. – Gelfamat Feb 12 '14 at 23:40
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    @Gelfamat "Duplicate" doesn't mean "both questions are about the same exact thing." Duplicate can mean that one question is answered by answers provided for another question. The answer I provided on the linked question quite clearly addresses your question. – Beofett Feb 17 '14 at 17:58
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As in the comics, removing the arms and lower jaws effectively removes the ability to eat which seems to somehow tame the walkers.

In episode 3x03 (Walk with Me) Milton speculates on why Michonne may have taken off the zombies arms and jaws. He theorizes that taking their arms so that they can't grab anyone resulted in them becoming more docile. He also proposes that because of that they lose interest in feeding.

"Take away their ability to eat, they lose interest in doing so."

Frankly, I don't see how this would work and I strongly believe it's only in there because it's in the comics and because it's different. From what we've seen so far Walkers always yearn for your flesh, even if they're almost dead. Even if they're unable to move. They seem to react to certain stimuli but they don't behave logically. As such, I'd expect these pet zombies to still try and eat Michonne and generally get in her way by invading her personal space.

  • I can't find a reference, but I remember learning that when the walkers go long enough without feeding, they lose interest. – Matt Feb 11 '14 at 16:10
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    @Matt, that may be, but S04E09 (After) shows her catching some new walkers for use as pets and they're shown to be docile in the very next scene. – phantom42 Feb 11 '14 at 17:26
  • Ah, I hadn't seen that one. Good info. – Matt Feb 11 '14 at 21:10
  • If I'm not mistaken, Rick or Hershel mention that walkers can actually starve to death (a second one) but it takes way more time than it takes (normal) people. – Shevliaskovic Feb 12 '14 at 10:06
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My guess would be the zombies operate on an instinctual level, and on some level the tamed ones know they can't eat, so they don't try.

Possibly having to do with muscle feedback: the zombie brain realizes its jaws and arms aren't working so it stops trying to use them to conserve energy .

Any answer is pretty much speculative, and the in-universe answer is most likely always going to be "it works like that because that's the way it works."

  • I agree it's like that because it's supposed to be. However, humans do not possess instincts, our behavior is learned. I don't know if there is an explanation that makes sense. – Gelfamat Feb 12 '14 at 23:41
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    quibbling over instinct, reflex and learned behavior patterns in normal humans aside zombies are not normal humans and are clearly shown to have instincts (moving to food and eating food are instinctive zombie behavior) – severa Feb 13 '14 at 12:31
  • Those are not instincts. Searching/moving toward food is not an instinct and eating are not instincts. Pointing out facts is not quibbling, it's necessary when addressing these topics. I don't think there is evidence that humans in Walking Dead somehow attain animal instincts when they become zombies. – Gelfamat Feb 13 '14 at 17:14
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    the fact is that zombies are not humans and their behavior patterns fit the definition of instinct, however referring to instinct in the answer was incorrect as it doesnt actually pertain to my answer. – severa Feb 13 '14 at 22:37

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