This seems like a serious plot hole to me. The face hugger in the Alien franchise is almost completely soft, short of its crab like legs.

Face Hugger

It seems like a serious evolutionary disadvantage if your means of procreation were to stick your most sensitive appendage into the most dangerous entrance of host. It would be like:

  • if instead of biting a wilder beast, the lion attacked it with its eye
  • if instead of kicking a lion, the giraffe stuck its head in the lion's mouth
  • if instead of punching a biker in the face, I stuck my thumb in the spokes of his moving Harley.

To me, every single enouncter would proceed as follows:

  1. Facehugger attaches to host
  2. Host panics, bites down
  3. Acid melts host's face and chest
  4. Host dies due to trauma
  5. Acid burns through hull
  6. Everything, including host+alien sucked into outer space
  7. Implanted alien dies too
  • 4
    I can't unsee that... O.O Jan 11, 2012 at 3:16
  • 1
    @OghmaOsiris At least you can take comfort in the fact that no one else will see that picture =)
    – puk
    Jan 11, 2012 at 3:23
  • 3
    Unless they check the last revision.... O_o
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jan 11, 2012 at 10:44
  • 3
    I find it particularly disturbing how much that orifice looks like certain human parts gone horrifically wrong. Which is almost certainly the point.
    – Jon Purdy
    Jan 11, 2012 at 15:03
  • 2
    @JonPurdy: Well, it was designed by Giger, and he has a certain penchant for, well, "parts".
    – gnovice
    Jan 11, 2012 at 19:08

6 Answers 6


There's no reason why the first thing that the facehugger does has to be to extend the ovipositor. A better strategy would be to clamp onto the host with its legs, and then wrap the tail around the neck to constrict the arteries leading to the brain. Eventually the host falls unconscious, then the ovipositor does its thing, injecting an egg plus some toxin that makes the host remain immobile long enough for the larva to settle in and start growing.

  • I did not think of that...
    – puk
    Jan 11, 2012 at 3:39
  • 4
    The cadet's logic is sound.
    – HNL
    Jan 11, 2012 at 6:39
  • 2
    @Kyle You are right. The facehugger does make the host unconscious, presumably before inserting the ovipositor. It's what makes sense, anyway. The acid blood the other answers mentioned is not meant to combat any of the host's defense mechanisms (such as biting), but to prevent any of the host's companions from helping.
    – Andres F.
    Jan 11, 2012 at 22:23
  • 3
    "ovipositor", oh good a new word to be afraid of.
    – Jane Panda
    May 30, 2012 at 13:35

While the other answer is quite well thought out, there's another possibility I've been thinking about for years.

I also figured that we don't know just what kind of tissue the ovipositor is composed of. It's quite possible the tissue is hardened or it extends a harden sheath around it when it penetrates the mouth.

  • 2
    That sounds horrible.... harden sheath .... penetrates the mouth.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jan 11, 2012 at 10:17
  • 4
    More horrible than feeling intense pain, going into spasms, and watching one of the adult forms emerge from your stomach?
    – Tango
    Jan 11, 2012 at 10:25
  • 2
    Only slightly less horrible...
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jan 11, 2012 at 10:43
  • Or it could just be very dense, or have an armored or bony bit right at the base (under the teeth) - human jaws don't actually have much bite strength.
    – Jeff
    Jan 11, 2012 at 12:40
  • @Jeff how about a dog's or bull-like-creature's jaws, such as in Alien3?
    – Xantec
    Jan 11, 2012 at 12:47

Surely the facehugger would have the same kind of blood as the aliens themselves? Biting it off wouldn't do you any good if your face subsequently dissolved.

  • 4
    I'm assuming you wouldn't think logically when the attack happened, or that you had no knowledge of the acid blood.
    – puk
    Jan 11, 2012 at 9:33
  • 4
    I imagine it's difficult to think analytically whilst fending off a facehugger :-) Jan 11, 2012 at 9:44
  • 2
    @Daniel Facehuggers do indeed have acid blood as demonstrated on the Nostromo Jan 11, 2012 at 9:45
  • 4
    I don't know, death by acid might be better than death by exploding stomach!
    – AidanO
    Jan 11, 2012 at 10:33
  • 1
    @Daniel, facehuggers do have acid blood, but this wouldn't help them against the victim biting; acid would kill the host and possibly the facehugger itself. Acid blood seems more like a deterrent against removal attempts by other sentient companions of the victim.
    – Andres F.
    Jan 11, 2012 at 22:18

Given these facts:

  1. They depend on parasite other species to breed.
  2. They do not focus on any species at all.

One could guess they have some mechanism to sedate their prey before extending the ovipositor.

I recall of the scene when the facehugger leaves the egg and grabs the face in one of the movies, that there is a little struggle and then the victim lie down in a coma, but I couldn't find a video of that scene.

On the other hand I could find this scene to support my theory:

Face Hugger Scene

You can see that their victims lie in a subconcious state after the facehugger grabs their face. Observe how he constrains the neck only when they trie to remove it from the host, as a "warning" more than a mechanism to keep the victim in a coma.

This was my first answer in this site, so I'm open to recomendations on how to improve it. Also english is not my first language, so I'm also open to suggestions if I made any mistake.


While I think Kyle Jones' answer is not only reasonable but likely, Daniel Roseman is correct. The facehuggers do have acidic blood. Recall the scene in Alien where they are going to try and cut the creature off of Kane. The first cut spills blood onto the floor, which eats through a couple of decks of the Nostromo.

Note that this fact supports Kyle's answer. If the creatures were having their depositors bitten off frequently, killing the host in the process, the species would be struggling to grow. As such, it seems likely that it would render a victim unconscious and then deposit the egg.

  • Exactly. Acid blood doesn't help with the biting. It merely helps prevent other sentient beings from removing the facehugger from the host. Which is exactly what happens in the original Alien movie.
    – Andres F.
    Jan 11, 2012 at 22:20

You'd have a very hard time biting down with something being pushed down your throat, since that would make your gag reflex go into overdrive; a huge part of the gag reflex is opening the mouth wide, so if it shoves it down there while you're still awake you're going to be trying to vomit rather than trying to bite down IMO

  • 1
    False. Speaking as someone who has had to do intubations and nasogastric tubes before, it is quite easy for a conscious patient to bite down quite hard even when something large is being shoved down their throat. Also, the gag reflex is highly personal, some people have none or can suppress it easily.
    – JohnP
    Feb 17, 2014 at 20:58

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