( Beartrap.png
Name beartrap
Appearance beartrap
Cost 60 zm
Weight 200

A beartrap is a tool object that can be used to create a bear trap (^ Bear trap.png) on the ground. This is a trap that will clamp onto any monster or adventurer unlucky enough to stumble onto it.

The beartrap item is usually obtained by untrapping a live bear trap. These can be applied on the ground to create a trap to clamp onto monsters unlucky enough to not avoid the trap, rendering them immobile until they escape. Monsters that are too small, amorphous, whirly, unsolid or flying won't be trapped, and metallivores can eat the trap. Be careful, as you can still get caught in your own bear trap if you step on it or fail to disarm it.

Becoming trapped[]

You will automatically escape a bear trap under the following circumstances:

  • If you are levitating or flying, you will automatically avoid the trap. If the trap is hidden, it will not be revealed.
  • If you are polymorphed into a form that is amorphous, whirly or unsolid, you will automatically avoid the trap.
  • If you are polymorphed into a form that is tiny or small, and you are not riding a steed, you will automatically avoid the trap.

If none of these apply, you have a 4/5 chance of avoiding the bear trap if you are already aware of it and are not fumbling. Otherwise, you are automatically caught.

Being caught in a bear trap renders you unable to move, though it does not inflict any damage.


The ordinary way to escape a bear trap is to try to move out of it. For some reason, moving diagonally is most effective, allowing you to escape in 4–7 moves. Attempting to move orthogonally requires about five times as many moves to escape. Note that if all diagonally adjacent squares are blocked by walls, you can still escape quickly by attempting to move into them.

Another way to escape from a bear trap is to use teleport, level teleport, or branchport to move yourself away from it. You can also polymorph yourself into a form that cannot be held by a bear trap, due to size or body composition.

It is also possible to mine down, but the trap will be destroyed and you will be caught in a pit (still, it take less time to escape from a pit than from a beartrap).

Finally, it is possible to jump out of a bear trap. This carries a penalty, however: you will take d10 damage and suffer wounded legs for 500–1499 turns.


Once you know the location of a bear trap, you can attempt to #untrap it. You cannot disarm a bear trap that is holding you, so you must escape the trap first. When you attempt to disarm the trap, there is a chance that you will be accidentally caught in it instead. If you successfully disarm the trap, it will be replaced by a beartrap item on the ground.

It is also possible to remove a bear trap by eating it, if you are polymorphed into a metallivore. Unlike untrapping, you can eat a bear trap that is holding you, and there is no chance of accidentally triggering the trap. However, eating the trap will obviously not produce a beartrap item.

Alignment issue[]

If you are lawful, you suffer a -1 alignment penalty if you set a bear trap.


A beartrap can be applied in a narrow corridor to slow down pursuers. They can be used when stealing from shops to prevent the shopkeeper from blocking the door. A stuck monster is also an easy target for ranged attacks.

It takes some time to set a beartrap -- if a hostile monster comes near, you will stop setting the trap (in much the same way an approaching monster can interrupt a meal). It may help to retreat around a corner or down a long passage in order to give yourself time to apply the trap. Because of the time delay in setting the trap, it does not make a very useful tool for emergency getaways. The time needed to set the trap is doubled if you are blind.

Do not attempt to set a beartrap while fumbling or confused, as you will trap yourself instead. The same advice applies to cursed beartraps.

Should you become stuck in a bear trap, try to move diagonally as this significantly shortens the amount of turns needed to get out of it.[1]

Beartrap (the item) can be polymorphed as normal; bear trap (the trap) is not affected by polymorph.


You hear the roaring of an angry bear!
An unseen owlbear or bugbear just triggered a bear trap.
You howl in anger!
You triggered a bear trap while polymorphed into an owlbear or bugbear.


  1. hack.c, line 1250, moving diagonally out of a beartrap