Snarks are small alien creatures that appear in the video game Half-Life. They are hand-sized beetle-like insectoids that can be found in later segments of the game. While they can be threatening to the player, they can also be utilised as a weapon when the player picks up a Snark nest. Due to the distinct squeaking noises they make, Snarks are also referred to as Squeak Grenades.
Snarks are small, beetle-like creatures with four legs, a single green eye, and a thick, dark red, segmented shell. They are social and highly territorial, making nests and protecting them at all costs. The fleshy nests themselves are about the size and shape of a road sign, and dark green with translucent red pods and four claw-like branches on each corner.
When their nest is threatened, Snarks will leap out and charge at their intruder, bouncing around madly and biting with their sharp beaks. These bites are powerful, doing as much as 10 points of damage each and easily crippling the player if they are not careful. To add insult to injury, a Snark will explode about 20 seconds after they start attacking, spraying acid everywhere.
The Snark emits a high-pitched squeak with each bite, which gets higher and higher in pitch the longer it stays in its 20-second "attack mode" before finally exploding.
The player can obtain an egg sack containing five Snarks which can be used as weapons. While held, Snarks have an unlimited lifespan, but still show aggressive tendencies (as two comical idle animations show one animation with the Snark struggling in Gordon Freeman's hand, and the other with it snapping at Gordon as he teases it with his finger). Once thrown, the Snark's twenty-second "attack mode" begins, and it will immediately charge at the nearest living thing and attack it. If there is nothing for them to attack, they will turn around and attack Gordon instead (which is why the player should always be sure to throw them from a higher vantage point).
In multiplayer deathmatch games, Snarks provide a useful way of distracting other players (particularly multiple players), facilitating escape or a means of a more leisurely kill. It is not uncommon for a player to be seen running through the map while being chased by a pack of Snarks.
Xen forces have learned to use Snarks to their advantage. In the chapter "Forget About Freeman!", there are Snark Mines that hang in the air with the use of webbing. When shot or tripped, the lasers on them will release Snarks to attack the player and slow down the player's progress, acting like biological tripmines.
When faced with a Snark, a single swing of the crowbar is enough to kill it, though their speed and size can make this a daunting task. The shotgun, with its wide spread, is a better choice of weapon as it allows the player to take them out from a distance (to avoid their acid blast) and kill several Snarks at once, should they be faced with two or more. Usually, the MP5 is the most preferred and arguably the most suitable weapon to wield against groups of Snarks.
The Hivehand (also known as Hornet Gun) is also a great choice because of its infinite ammo and characteristic that its primary fire will fire hornets (also known as thornets) that can easily track them down and kill them.
It is possible to avoid snarks by hiding on a high enough ledge and either shooting them from there, or waiting until they explode. As snarks cannot jump very high, they are unable to get up and attack.
The player can carry up to 15 Snarks at a time, and can release them all at once to cause a tremendous amount of chaos. Snarks will attack most Xen aliens, making the weapon very useful in the later levels of Half-Life, and if a Snark does not sense a nearby human target they will turn against whoever released them.