"I told them not to eat the infected... then they started changing. They changed sensitive to bright lights, to shining my flashlight would send them into a violent rage! I've disabled the elevator to trap them down there. God rest their souls."
"Ackerman! Is that you? I smell you! I smell... FRESH MEAT!!!"
—A worker undergoing transformation.
The Feeders are grotesquely emaciated and their skeletal system is clearly visible through their necrotic flesh. This allows them to have increased agility and lets them jump from various platforms and move quickly. The tissue on their skulls is quite thin, and all cartilage is gone. This means their jaws can stretch out from its mouth, becoming wide enough to fit a human’s head. The Feeder's hands have been distorted into bloody talons used for hacking and slashing their victim. Its mouth has a hidden array of teeth made from their jaw bones.
The process at which a human being turns into a Feeder is a somewhat slow but steady one: when a human begins to ingest Necromorph flesh, the transformation begins in the digestive tract, assumingly without the afflicted human noticing. The human becomes more ravenous in search of food, eating anything it can get its hands on, while still retaining a high level of mental capability, being able to speak and communicate normally. It will resort to eating anything it can find, even other humans. Eventually the Necromorph transformation will convert the host, and they will develop into monstrosities much like their brethren.
According to the developers, Feeders were previously humans who resorted to consuming Necromorph flesh due to lack of food. Slowly, their bodies were corrupted and adapted to the low light conditions rendering them nearly blind, however, with an acute sense of hearing. Since they are Necromorphs, the victims presumably die after eating the infected flesh, with the mutations following afterwards. Throughout the game, they are found scuttering around in search of any source of food.
They have heightened auditory sense, relying on sound to navigate its surroundings and locate its prey. Their visual sense is slightly impaired as a result; while they are incapable of seeing their surroundings with clarity, a glimpse of light will attract their attention. When startled by either light or sound, Feeders will attack aggressively in waves.
Later on, Isaac will encounter the Enhanced version of these enemies while exploring the inner cavity of The Nexus.
As Feeders are auditory-based Necromorph forms, they rely primarily on sound. Walking slowly and at a distance will prevent the player from getting harmed by them. Alternatively, throwing objects around the Feeders with Kinesis will temporarily distract the Feeders from the player. Similarly, do not shine the weapon's flashlight on them as it would definitely attract them to the player. So it is best advised while low on ammo to stick to a wall and try and slip past them. However, trying to locate them would be difficult as in low light areas, shining a flashlight would reveal your position. This can be countered by throwing around objects before entering a dark room. It is also advised to take care of a Feeder quickly as when alerted it has the ability to call in more of the pack.
Naturally weak and docile, Feeders cannot withstand much punishment from Isaac, dying within two hits from a melee strike. However once alerted or if a quarantine lockdown is in effect, they will swarm in gigantic numbers, potentially overwhelming players within seconds if they are caught in a chokepoint. Enhanced forms of Feeders can be killed with a single shot to the head, though it takes several body and limb shots to kill them otherwise.
If the player succeeds in the quick time event, Isaac/Carver will grab the Feeder on his back and throw it onto the ground, before killing it by stomping its head in.
However, if the player fails, the Feeder will jump off his back before quickly approaching, jaw stretching wide open. It bites onto Isaac's/Carver's face, before pulling his head off, resulting in decapitation.
In situations where combat is unavoidable, it is best to run around the area in circles while wielding a weapon capable of crowd-controlling such as a rapid firing Pulse Rifle.
A modded Force Gun, specifically the Ground Diffractor and an Acid Bath attachment works well, as the Acid Bath does damage over time, combined with the Diffractor's large radial spread should manage to kill weaker variations in a matter of seconds.
Contrary to every other variant of Necromorph that has been encountered to this point, the Feeder's weak point is it's head; a single well placed shot from even a relatively weak weapon will destroy its head and cause it to die instantly.
Using a suspended Ripper as a primary tool and an Electrocution module as a secondary tool will make short work of them so long as Isaac is in a corner and none are behind him.
Any gun with a Survey Charge upper/lower tool fired at a crowd of Feeders will annihilate them.
A Tesla Core with the Diffraction Torus will work as it cause the electrical shot to spread to surrounding enemies, taking out a large group of feeders in one shot.
A Pneumatic Torch with the Compressor (making a Magnesium Afterburner) can also be particularly effective against swarms of Feeders.
The Bolas Gun upgraded with a few +1/2/3 Damage circuits, along with a Rate of Fire upgrade is very useful for taking out feeders. The bouncing bolas will kill regular feeders in one shot and enhanced with two. Alternatively, use the lower tool to fire anchored bolas that stick to the ground when shot. Back into a corner and shoot a few anchored bolas onto the ground in front of you and laugh as the Feeders get slaughtered.
Husks from the Mass Effect franchise (specifically Mass Effect 3) share some physical appearance and tactics,as using overwhelming numbers in order to kill the player,and a similar grapple scene as quick time event,as the result of succeeding (throwing it to the ground and stomping its head) the grapple scene. It might be an Easter Egg or reference,as the N7 suit in Dead Space 3.
Feeders are the only Necromorphs that are observed to be apparently eating, and actively searching for food. While Slashers have been observed gnawing on corpses in Dead Space: Downfall, they mostly seem to soften the bodies up, or somehow disfiguring them to assist in later transformations.
Curiously, playing an obviously loud audio log in the proximity of Feeders will not attract them to the player's presence.
Similarly, opening doors does not alert surrounding Feeders, while stomping storage containers and performing melee swings may or may not attract their ire, depending on the relative distance between the player and the nearest creature.
It is strange that Feeders are able to withstand taking a few shots before death as they are extremely skinny and there is nearly no muscle or fat; perhaps their bone density is augmented by their transformation.
Feeders are the first necromorphs declared to be nearly blind.
It is unknown how Feeders manage, or are even able, to digest food, as much of any Necromorphs' internal organs are either missing or no longer needed; or if they simply continue to search for food after transformation out of instinct.
There are a collection of disturbing logs in the play area where the player must retrieve a snow-suit. They contain tips for combating the Feeders and document the struggles of Sam Ackerman who was hiding from a bunch of his colleagues who were in an early stage of becoming Feeders. These Feeders are eventually encountered during the search for a snowsuit after landing on Tau Volantis.
Based on an audio log left by Sam Ackerman, one of the crewmembers who ingested Necromorph flesh claimed that he could actually smell Ackerman. He then described the scent as "Fresh meat!!" This indicates that Feeders have increased sense of smell.
Their movement is almost completely silent due to their light weight.
Feeders are one of the most humanoid Necromorphs in the franchise. They still retain most of the former humans's physical traits and form.
Feeders largely replace the role of The Pack in Dead Space 3. However, the pack does make a comeback in Awakened. Feeders are considerably faster than The Pack, and failure to keep them at a distance will result in you getting swarmed very quickly. Like The Pack, Feeders die instantly from headshots, making them one of the few necromorphs that do not require strategic dismemberment.
Feeders make noise, and can usually be heard once a player enters a room. The sound resembles clicking and a squeaking noise a monkey or chimpanzee might make. Also If the player shines a light directly in a Feeders face for a split second, it will hiss angrily and try and locate the source. If the light is held up too long then it will detect the player and trigger an attack with its fellow Feeders.
The only real reason to fight a bunch of Feeders is if the player is in need for supplies. Otherwise it it a waste of ammo and health. It is easier to sneak past them.
Feeders are the only Necromorphs that will not attack unless provoked, this allows the player to distract them by throwing objects and avoid them completely, therefore being able to conserve ammo. There are times however that Feeders will spawn already aware of the player's presence, where the player has no choice but to kill them to continue.
If the player is too close or an object is thrown the Feeders will make a 'whooping' sound, signaling to the others it detects a noise.
Although enhanced Feeders have glowing eyes, they are just as blind as normal ones.
Feeders are the only Necromorphs that can be avoided by the new crouch system. Getting too close to a Feeder however will still alert them to your presence, crouching or not.
Feeders seem to be based off of wendigos, which are Algonquian legends created when a person resorted to eating human flesh. The victim would become obsessed with consuming human flesh, becoming violent towards others, even when other food sources were nearby. Eventually, the victim would become almost skeletal, growing each time they ate a meal, their hunger never satisfied.
Feeders are the second Necromorph hybrid to be both human and necromorph in early stages due to the audio log of Sam Ackerman of them being able to speak and threaten verbally, the first is the guardian in which it's early states have the host still alive attached on the wall with their guts hanging out, however these early stages seemed to have the host still clinging to life as it grew.
Feeders in their enhanced form are seen first in the belly of The Nexus. This could imply that the larger Necromorphs are somewhat involved in the process of making enhanced Necromorphs as the Nexus later try's to digest Issac. It could be subjects trapped inside them become enhanced, also explaining its ability to spit Necromorphs as seen performed by the Hive Mind in Dead Space one. The Hive Mind may have been in the process of converting these Necromorphs to Enhanced but opted to use them against Issac instead.