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Dote Night: Nature Spotting in Dota 2

Creature feature

Part of a miscellany of serious thoughts, animal gifs, and anecdotage from the realm of MOBAs/hero brawlers/lane-pushers/ARTS/tactical wizard-em-ups. One day Pip might even tell you the story of how she bumped into Na’Vi’s Dendi at a dessert buffet cart. THIS WEEK, however, she will be spying on the wildlife of the Dota 2 map!

I've spent nearly 2,000 hours on the Dota 2 map enjoying its environs (well, more or less). When you spend that much time on one single map you think you know you know it spectacularly well, but after a couple of hours using the free camera command to chase butterflies and squirrels through the undergrowth I found myself excited by a heap of new information. The best part was the discovery of a gorgeous butterfly I'd previously only been aware of as a flitting movement onscreen. The squirrels still look like weird Play-doh monsters, though.

Here's all the wildlife I've found - it's a kind of spotter's guide for if you go on a Dota nature walk:

Red Birds

I'm bad at birds so I'm going to call this one sort of red cardinal flavoured. There's one on a log on the Radiant side bottom lane and another in base on one of the pennant things.

Blue Birds

There are also these lovely blue birds/bluebirds which hop about in the Radiant base. I'm fond of this little guy although he sometimes clips through the wire and I worry he's garotted himself.

Viceroy-ish Butterfly

Sticking with things that flap, Radiant offers up this orange butterfly. It's a simplification of real butterflies, obviously but I think it's closest to something like a Viceroy, just with the colours hugely simplified and the wing shapes made less complex.

Blue Morpho-kinda Butterfly

This one looks somewhere between a Blue Morpho and a Common Blue. So that would make the Radiant jungle somewhere between the British Isles and the forests of South and Central America.

Peacock-esque Butterfly

This one is my absolute favourite. Its wings have a really cool peacock feather design. There is a butterfly called a Peacock but it's red where this one is green.

Red Longtailed Moth

I think these are moths because they have these huge antennae which are closer to the feathery ones a moth has than the club-shaped ones you'd find on a butterfly. I think these would be day moths rather than nocturnal ones though because the Direside insects are still a pretty bright colour.

Caterpillar Of Some Kind

If you're wondering where all these butterflies and moths are coming from, the answer appears to be this particularly podgy caterpillar. He squirms about near the tier one tower on Radiant's bottom lane.


Elsewhere in the air on the Dire side you'll also find clouds of bats. They never seem to come to roost, they just sweep round occasionally, barely discernible but for the movements.


The Dire also has the most glorious spiders. They've got a glorious kind of heft to them as the potter about in the mulch and the mushrooms. I think it's tarantula-inspired but there are also elements of wolf spider, I think.


There are actually some really cool blue millipedes - the blue cloud forest millipede is one but it has blue legs not yellow. The Dotapede is one of my favourite creatures, just behind that peacock butterfly, as I really like how it moves about, sometimes slipping under bits of forest detritus.


The Radiant has some nice creatures but these squirrels are... Well, they're these weirdly vague shapes - sort of suggestions of squirrels that never got finished. They come in both grey and brown varieties but I assume that in a few years time the grey ones will proliferate and start stealing mangoes from heroes while the brown ones will only be known from old photos. There's also a smaller brown squirrel - a little baby one, perhaps - which sometimes appears at the back of the Radiant ancient camp.


The ladybirds of Dota 2 are like that caterpillar - you'll see these big, beefy things that seem to have been munching on some kind of bodybuilding diet roaming the map. They do not fly. I'd assume that's because it's aerodynamically impossible.


The rat is one of the most detailed of the creatures although it sort of slides rather than scurries. It's very fond of this bone pile though so I'd assume there's still some good scavenging to be had over Direside.

Hercules Beetle

I think this might be the closest insect to one from real life - it's really similar to the Hercules beetle which I remember hunting down in Animal Crossing. There are a couple of them keeping Roshan company in his pit.


They're not glamorous and, to be honest, they're hardly even visible in any of the shots I took but they're still wildlife. Little clouds of midges hover around near bulrushes in the river.


I've always been a little afraid of dragonflies. Same with moths and butterflies. It's their bodies - sort of alien and fragile. The Dota dragonflies are more like drumsticks with wings. They cluster in the river, but you can also find them elsewhere on the map, particularly if you have that purplish moonlight weather effect enabled. I couldn't see a real species with an orange head and thorax and a blue-tipped thorax.


I was going to try and get Crystal Maiden to stand nearby and cast Freezing Field so I could make an Icefrog job but good LORD that would have been a right pain so you will have to do with the intention instead. I do like the leaping animation.

Koi Carp

These orange fish lurk just under the surface of the river. I'd really like it if they popped to the top and did that nibbling thing you see real koi carp doing but these ones never break the surface.


Lastly, there are the tortoises. Some of the tortoises you'll find on the map mark out handy warding spots. The others really just aren't paying their way and just dodder about, not helping with anything. They do have a lovely motion for hiding in their shell though.

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