The Last Of Us franchise presents an interesting twist to the genre of zombie-led apocalypse. It franchise consists of a video game and a series. The first season of the series premiered in January 2023.  We do not know what kind of infected zombies we will see in the series, but based on the video game, there are five stages of evolution.

According to ExpressVPN, there are five types of infected zombies based on the time they have been infected for. Each infected has different characteristics as they evolve to get armor and poisonous attack systems. The Last Of Us shows Joel and Ellie on the run through the infected lands.

Understand All Zombie Types In The Last Of Us

The Last Of Us presents a dystopian world after 20 years of the cordyceps breakout. The zombies in the series are not necessarily zombies, as they are not actually dead. The zombies or the infected in the franchise are simply infected by a fungi breakout that gradually takes control over their minds and body.

The Last Of Us Disease Spread Timeline

There are only two ways for someone to be infected by the cordyceps fungus. Firstly, if you inhale the cordyceps spores, you will get infected. Secondly, if someone who has already been infected bites you, you will get infected. The best way to protect yourself against the infected is to kill them or stay hidden from them.

The timeline to get infected varies on the body part an individual is bitten. The infection spreads faster if it is closer to the brain. Someone who is bitten close to their neck or head will get infected within 10-15 minutes. While someone who has been bitten on the upper torso will get infected in 2-8 hours. It takes up to 12 hours to a day to get infected after a bite on the feet or legs. The best chance of survival is if you have been bitten near your legs or feet, as it delays the infection significanlty.

Zombie Types In The Last Of Us

There are five types of infected zombies in The Last Of Us. The types of zombies are based on their stage of evolution.

  • The Runners are the weakest zombies and can be killed with the help of sneak attacks and sharp weapons. Runners usually have a hunched back, and their skin has started to get fungus-like. Runners are quite fast-paced, and you should avoid huge groups of them as they can surround you and leave you helpless.
  • The Stalkers are the second stage of infected types. It takes about 2 weeks to a couple of months for an infected to reach the Stalker stage. These infected zombies are known for their sneak attacks. Usually, they have one or both eyes missing due to the fungi growing out of their heads. If you happen upon a stalker, try to run away or attack with a sharp weapon if necessary.
  • Clickers are the third stage of infected zombies. These zombies have no eyes, and they use echolocation for hunting. It is also harder to kill them due to the fungal armor growing around their heads. The best way to kill a Clicker is by using guns.
  • Bloaters are armored, infected zombies that can spray poisonous gases on their victims. It usually takes a couple of years for an infected to reach the Bloater stage. To protect yourself against a Bloater, you must maintain your distance and attack with bombs, mines, or guns.
  • Shamblers are an advanced version of Bloaters. These infected zombies can spray not only poison but also acid on their victims. At this stage, the infected have a strong fungal armor that can not be broken by normal weapons. To kill a Shambler, you will have to use long-range weapons like guns. Shamblers can also be killed with the help of mines and pipe bombs.
  • Rat King is the final stage of zombie evolution. The Rat King stage happens after at least a decade of being infected. In this stage, more than one infected merges to operate as one individual. The best way to protect yourself against the Rat King is to avoid it. However, you can also try to kill it with the help of bombs and firepower.


The Last Of Us has different stages of evolution of the infected. The evolution of the zombies is an indicator of how long they have been infected. After each stage of evolution, the infected get harder to kill. It is also notable that with each stage, the infected get newer methods to attack people. While the weaker infected can be killed by blunt force attack, the infected in the last stage of evolution need firepower and bombs to be killed. It is safe to say that highly evolved infected are very dangerous, and you must avoid attacking them.

Now that you’re familiar with all infected types, you’re ready for The Last of Us marathon!