Walking Dead: Can animals get the virus in The Walking Dead?

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AMC series The Walking Dead may have seen its season 10 finale pushed back, but rest assured the last instalment will be airing at some point this year. In the meantime, some fans have been revisiting old episodes and have questions about the zombie virus. Throughout The Walking Dead, the human race can be turned into zombies but it seems like animals are unaffected.

Can animals get the virus in The Walking Dead?

While the human race and indeed civilization has been decimated by the zombie outbreak, it looks like the animal kingdom hasn’t been impacted.

There hasn’t really been an instances of zombie animals in the series, instead creatures great and small have fallen victim to members of the undead.

As viewers will remember, Tabitha the goat met a tragic end as did Rick Grimes’ (played by Andrew Lincoln) horse, along with a whole host of animals.

Viewers have been wondering whether animals turn into Walker, as seems to be the case in Danny Boyle’s seminal post-apocalyptic zombie film 28 Days Later.


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Taking to Quora, a number of fans shared their thoughts with Rodrigo González posting in 2016: “As you might know, AMC’s The Walking Dead is based-off the comic of the same name, written by Robert Kirkman.

“Kirkman stated on an interview (unfortunately, I don’t remember which) that animals do not reanimate as walkers, because they are not carrions of the virus that makes them come back as one of them.

“Additionally, the survivors on both the Comic Series and the TV Show encounter a deer that has been bitten by walkers, while staying in the Atlanta camp (Rick and Shane, and Daryl, respectively).

“On the Comic Series at least, they agree that animals don’t “turn”, and have a debate whether they should eat it or not, resulting in them leaving the dead deer to rot.

While Tamara Wilhite commented: “They likely die of the disease if not the physical damage of the attack.

“For the sake of the story, the animals cannot become zombies because otherwise humans have no chance. It is hard enough fending off human zombies. How do you also fend off zombie birds, dogs, cats, rats?

“How far does it go? Are you now unable to eat fish and risk being eaten by zombie ants?

“Easier to tell the story with enough horror by having just humans infected.”

So, from the looks of it, animals are affected differently by the virus compared to humans.

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The Walking Dead’s creator Robert Kirkman has previously weighed in on the practicalities of working with animals on set.

He said the Walker Stalker Cruise in 2018: “Well, animals don’t really behave on set, so that’s one thing.

“I mean, we’ve had animals here and there but I guess maybe there’s not as much as we probably should. We’ll get some CGI dogs, next time.”

He also joked on Conan in 2013 about the lack of zombie animals, saying: “The artist that draws the comic book loves drawing people, loves drawing zombies, does not enjoy drawing animals so much.”


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So, it looks highly unlikely fans will ever see any animals Walkers in the show in the future.

The show has previously been praised for using CGI animals more rather than living creatures.

The Walking Dead famously featured Ekeziel’s (Khary Payton) pet tiger Shiva, who was a computer-generated force to be reckoned with before she met a cruel end.

There was also a more dubious CGI deer, which a couple of the characters happened upon.

Animals rights group PETA praised The Walking Dead for using CGI and animatronics over a live animal for the part of Shiva.

The organisation even gave the show with an Innovation in Television Award for its effort with Shiva.

The Walking Dead season 10 finale will air on AMC and FOX UK later this year

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