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x = 4, y = 2, rule = B3/S23 2obo$ob2o! #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 SUPPRESS THUMBLAUNCH ]] #C [[ THUMBSIZE 3 ZOOM 21 HEIGHT 400 SUPPRESS ]] [[ ZOOM 63 ]]
Pattern type Strict still life
Number of cells 6
Bounding box 4 × 2
Frequency class 13.9
Discovered by JHC group
Year of discovery 1970

Snake is a 6-bit still life. It was discovered by the JHC group in 1970.[1]

Use as a rock

The snake can act as a rock. An example is shown below in Conduit 1.

x = 24, y = 13, rule = B3/S23 b2o$2bo$bo$b2o6$o3b2o15bo$2o2b2o15bo$b2o18b3o$2o21bo! #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 SUPPRESS THUMBLAUNCH ]] #C [[ GPS 20 THUMBSIZE 2 THEME Book AUTOSTART T 0 PAUSE 2 T 59 PAUSE 1 LOOP 60 ]]
Conduit 1, showing the snake as a rock catalyst
(click above to open LifeViewer)
RLE: here Plaintext: here

Use as an induction coil

A snake is the cheapest way in both population and bounding box to stabilize a line of three cells, such as in cauldron, and the cheapest in bounding box but not population for a line of five, such as in the eater 3. Snakes are also the most efficient way to stabilize certain non-flat regions such as those in 55P10 and 28P7.2, although aircraft carriers also work for this purpose.


See also: List of common still lifes

Snake is the twenty-first most common still life in Achim Flammenkamp's census, being less common than boat-tie but slightly more common than big S.[2]

It is the 21st most common still life on Adam P. Goucher's Catagolue, being less common than boat-tie but more common than big S. It is the rarest still life with 6 cells, being 3.6 times rarer than carrier.[3]

The snake is about twice as common in C2_4 (the symmetry it has) compared to asymmetric soups.


There are known ways to construct a snake with four gliders. A number of different syntheses for the snake can be found in Mark Niemiec's glider synthesis database.[4]

On February 20, 2022, a method was found to construct pseudo still lifes consisting of an arbitrarily large stack of snakes.[5] These objects were previously notoriously difficult to synthesize – a stack of three snakes[6] formerly cost 67 gliders to construct, making it by far the most expensive pseudo still life with 18 cells.[7]

x = 98, y = 50, rule = B3/S23 bo$2bo$3o13$95bo$95bobo$95b2o27$63bo$64b2o$63b2o$68bo$67b2o$67bobo! #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 SUPPRESS THUMBLAUNCH ]] #C [[ HEIGHT 420 ZOOM 10 X 6 Y 27 THEME Book GPS 32 AUTOSTART T 0 PAUSE 2 T 164 PAUSE 1 T 208 PAUSE 1 LOOP 209 ]]
A two-stage four-glider synthesis for the snake[8]
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x = 34, y = 37, rule = B3/S23 15bo$16bo$14b3o18$32b2o$32bo$25b2o3bobo$24bo2bo2b2o$25bobo$26bo$8b2o$ 7bobo$7b2o3$2o$b2o$o$8bo$7bobo$7b2o! #C [[ THUMBSIZE 2 THEME 6 GRID GRIDMAJOR 0 SUPPRESS THUMBLAUNCH ]] #C [[ HEIGHT 420 ZOOM 8 THEME Book GPS 32 AUTOSTART T 0 PAUSE 2 T 108 PAUSE 1 LOOP 109 ]]
Two one-glider seed constellations for the snake from the octohash database
(click above to open LifeViewer)


Snake can be infinitely extended, as illustrated below:

See also


  1. Dean Hickerson's oscillator stamp collection. Retrieved on June 18, 2009.
  2. Achim Flammenkamp (September 7, 2004). "Most seen natural occurring ash objects in Game of Life". Retrieved on January 15, 2009.
  3. Adam P. Goucher. "Statistics". Catagolue. Retrieved on May 5, 2023.
  4. The 5 six-bit still-lifes at Mark D. Niemiec's Life Page
  5. iNoMed (February 20, 2022). Re: Still Life Synthesis Thread (discussion thread) at the forums
  6. A stack of three snakes on Catagolue: xs18_bd0db0bd
  7. Adam P. Goucher. "Census". Catagolue. Retrieved on February 15, 2022.
  8. GUYTU6J (February 21, 2022). Re: Thread for basic questions (discussion thread) at the forums

External links