In Aliens, how did Newt survive while she was alone?

Early in the movie, it is revealed that the little girl, Newt, had survived alone for several days among the aliens -- the very same aliens that seemed to have no trouble killing every other person in Newt's colony, and later killed several professional soldiers.

It seems to me the aliens might have let Newt live, perhaps because they have some sort of taboo against killing unaccompanied kids -- or they leave her as bait to entice more humans. But maybe Newt just found a secret compartment or something. Is there any decent evidence, in-movie or otherwise, that sheds light on how Newt survived?

  • 3
    "perhaps because they have some sort of taboo against killing unaccompanied kids". Er, no. Genetically engineered killing machines with acid for blood don't have a conscience. Jun 5, 2018 at 16:17

2 Answers 2


The short (pun) answer is she was small.

The long answer is a series of lucky circumstances left Newt the lone survivor of the alien infestation.


This is from JamesCameronOnline.com:

The entire colony was enormous in size, with multiple large complexes connected together. And as seen in the movie, aliens retreated to the hive deserting the entire place. Newt played with other kids hiding in the vents before the colony became infested and she was the best in fitting in tight spots. That's why she got called Newt. That's how she survived the initial attack by going into small places no one else could fit and then when the alien warriors deserted the place and retreated into the hive under the heat exchanger, she moved around through the vent tunnels. By that point the place was relatively safe since aliens lied dormant in their hives.


Her age also probably helped since she would have been considered too young to assist with the defense of Hadley's Hope.


Newt's gender may have also helped. While Newt's brother, Tim may have had the size requirements to fit in the hiding places Newt used, he may have felt the need to defend his sister causing his death.


Newt's interests may have also helped. In her introductory scene she expresses her interest in mazes:

NEWT "Daddy, when are we going back to town?"

JORDEN "When we get rich, Newt."

NEWT "You always say that. I wanna go back. I wanna play 'Monster Maze.'"

TIM "You cheat too much."

NEWT "Do not. I'm just the best."

  • 8
    Not even mazes, but frigging monster mazes, seems to have been the perfect preparation! ;-) Great summary for what seemed to be a pretty speculative question on the first look.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jan 29, 2015 at 10:00
  • Really not sure about the gender, as both are children (so no sense of gender-based sacrifice yet), and IIRC, Timmy is Newt’s younger brother. If anything, it’s Newt who would protect Timmy, putting her at greater risk, not the other way round. Disregard this comment if Timmy is actually the older sibling. In any case, I think her interest in playing hide-and-seek in mazes in the #1 reason to her survival.
    – breversa
    Dec 22, 2023 at 8:25

The Director's Cut version includes pre-alien-attack footage from the settlement. All the children play hide-and-seek in the air ducts, and Newt is the best. So not only does this set up Newt's survival, it also sets up the later alien assault on the barricaded room via the air ducts.

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