Exactly what it says on the tin: what would be some natural threats for inch-scale Neanderthals? Think the Borrowers, but as Neanderthals.

For instance: floods, puddles, insects, natural acid rain, sudden temperature changes, micropredators, et cetera. I'm not referring to things such as starvation or dehydration - those things effect all organisms, not just inch-scale sentients.

Good answers will be threats that only affect small organisms. The best answers will be threats that only affect small people.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You have already compiled a list, and you are asking us to extend it with no given limitations $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Dec 29, 2021 at 6:27
  • $\begingroup$ I would think that wind would be a major threat, as well as raindrops and almost all other living beings that may eat the little neanderthals. Although a single unit of fruit could feed a village, carrying would be nearly impossible. I have a similar RPG setting and I offset limitations mentioned by others by giving humans magic. $\endgroup$
    – Stivsko
    Dec 29, 2021 at 11:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "What would be some threats to inch-scale Neanderthals?" Ummm, everything...? $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    Dec 29, 2021 at 11:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Tiny humanoids. A little larger (6 inch) has been asked before.. I've put an answer back in August, to a similar topic in worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/211398/… $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Dec 29, 2021 at 12:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Regular-sized high heels. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Dec 29, 2021 at 15:10

4 Answers 4


There are already plenty of threats to small animals, and it's not too hard to think of more. Focusing, however, on the challenges of Neanderthals specifically:

Small animals tend to be easily killed, and generally survive by breeding rapidly and growing to maturity quickly. Unfortunately, intelligence usually benefits from the opposite traits - long growth periods and high levels of parental attention. It doesn't matter how capable your brain is - a one-year-old child simply lacks the life experience to figure much out on their own, and a family of fifty children isn't going to have much time to spare for individual teaching. In addition, brains require a lot of food to grow, and with a growth pyramid heavily skewed towards the base, parents will have a very hard time feeding that many children.

A society of tiny hominids that breed at human rates will die off very quickly due to the abundance of predators and general unpredictable, unavoidable danger that is omnipresent at that scale. A society of tiny hominids that breed at high speeds is a society composed mainly of infants, intelligence-wise.

You might be able to offset some of this by making them kind of like intelligent ants, living underground to avoid exposing growing children to predators, teaching children communally, and heavily controlling reproduction to match the colony's resources. But the more you try to make it functional, the less they will resemble "Neanderthals".


Although your Neanderthals would be considered snack sized by a predator the size of a chihuahua, let's remember that there are other species in that size range that didn't get instantly eaten into extinction.

One major survival tactic of small creatures is the ability to scurry away quickly. How fast is our 1 inch tall person.

According to Britannica, Usain Bolt's peak speed is 43.99 kph. Since ancient Neanderthals had a far greater need for speed than modern humans, let's be very generous and say a full sized one could do 50 kph.

If we assume a 160 cm human relative can do 50, what happens when we scale down to 2.54 cm? The legs don't take more steps per second. To favor our small friend, we'll ignore the unfavorable effects of air resistance.

2.54/160 comes to 0.015875 times 50 is 0.79375 kph.

How about some animals that are able to scurry? According to speedofanimals.com, a house mouse can hit 13 kph. Online claims about roaches are in the 3 or more kph range. These little Neanderthals aren't very strong in the scurry department.

Even if they can make tools, a 1 cm long club or ax isn't much of a defense. Even if they find a hole in a rock too tiny for a small snake to follow them through, there are plenty of insects that might drop in and try to eat them.

Non-predator hazards:

  1. Slow speed makes accidental trampling by larger animals a serious hazard. SQUISH!

  2. Accidental ingestion by large herbivores. Most of the time it should be possible to escape, but not always.

  3. Being at the back end of a large animal at the wrong time. There are far worse ways to die than being eaten or squashed. Being buried under a cow pie is one of them.

Unless these little Neanderthals can breed prodigiously or are in an area without many predators the would find them tasty, I think they'll be on the endangered species list very quickly.


Other inch scale Neanderthals.

When we are tiny people, predators want us when the predators are hungry. The weather doesn't care if we live or die. But big or small, other humans are the worst enemies humans have. Those Others scheme about how to catch us unawares and steal our girls and food stores. They scheme about to make us pay for our past misdeeds (which was stealing their food stores and girls and drawing a mustache on their god statue). Other humans want what we have and they want to take it by force or guile. Other humans hold a grudge for generations. They are as smart as we are and they have the same skills. Maybe more.

The fact that we are scaled down does not make us any less dangerous to our own kind.


1.One bugs. Ants in particular are would be most dangerous because of how many and how comon and territorial they are

2.Small animals. Rats, mice foxes, some birds basically anything that hunts bugs would probably hunt your small people.

  1. Large animals, even if they don't find them worth hunt the size difference is so large that some of them can cause harm accidentally.

  2. Wrong question. You should be asking what isnt a threat to inch size people.


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