The wizarding world of Harry Potter, created by British author J.K. Rowling, is one of the most popular fictional universes. Spanning seven books, eight movies, two amusement parks, a variety of merchandise, and a spinoff film series, the franchise is just as magical as it is massive.
The wondrous realm is home to a variety of distinct witches, wizards, locations, and creatures. From dragons to tiny puffballs for pets, the number of unique beasts that make up the Harry Potter world are truly fantastic.
The Ministry of Magic, which acts as a type of government for the wizarding world, lists each magical animal on a scale from one to five with X’s, with one being relatively harmless and five being incredibly dangerous. With that in mind, here are the top 10 Harry Potter creatures.
Known throughout basic mythology, trolls in the wizarding world are typically gargantuan-sized creatures of up to twelve feet high with immense strength but a severe lack of intelligence. Its sluggish reflexes and slow brain often result in erratic behavior that make the creature highly dangerous.
Its unpredictability and acute taste for human flesh are both stipulations that earned the massive creature an XXXX rating by the Ministry of Magic. There are four different types of trolls: the Mountain Troll, the River Troll, the Forest Troll, and the supposed Part-Troll.
Most commonly, they communicate via a series of simple grunts that are usually interpreted solely by other members of their species. However a handful of witches and wizards are trained to decipher their basic speech.
In addition to this, Trolls know very limited human words. Still, with serious training they can be taught to learn, providing them with the opportunity to work as security for witches and wizards.
The most prominent introduction of a Troll during the Harry Potter series is in the first book and movie. Professor Quirrell, a former Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher allied with Voldemort, obtains a stone that could make him immortal.
He released a Troll into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It cornered an unsuspecting Hermione, who had locked herself away in the girl’s bathrooms. Harry and Ron fought it off.
As an XXXXX rated monster, the Basilisk is well-known for being one of the most dangerous creatures in the wizarding world. The giant serpent is ridiculously powerful and cannot be domesticated. However the series’ infamous Parselmouths — wizards or witches who had the uncanny ability to communicate with snakes — may have some sway over a Basilisk’s actions.
This, however, does not make the Basilisk a kind or forgiving creature, as it is almost always incredibly volatile. The Basilisk was originally created by Herpo the Foul, a dark wizard who introduced the breed by raising a chicken egg beneath a toad. This resulted in the breeding of a dangerous creature that was eventually banned for its terrifying capabilities.
One look into the eyes of the Basilisk results in immediate death, however an indirect glance renders the viewer petrified by its yellow stare. With a long, coiling body that reaches up to fifty feet in length, the Basilisk has scales similar to an armor, which rendered it immune to spells.
The King of Serpents is most widely known in the Harry Potter series for its appearance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. A Basilisk living within the castle’s walls, which once belonged to a founder of Hogwarts, was let loose by one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes – an entrapped piece of the evil mage’s soul that manipulated Ginny Weasley.
When Harry battled the creature, he was bitten, resulting in deadly Basilisk venom entering his system. It was in this moment that two things became clear – Phoenix tears are the only known way to cure the poison from the beast’s fangs, and Basilisk venom is one of the few ways to kill a Horcrux.
The Acromantula is a category XXXXX creature believed to have been conceived from experimental breeding by wizards, prior to a ban in 1965. The massive creatures are best described in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, “Spiders the size of carthorses, eight-eyed, eight-legged, black, hairy, gigantic.”
Acromantulas are partial to human flesh and are unique in that they are capable of communicating using the English language almost flawlessly. Spanning over 15 feet, with females larger than males, the variation of a traditional spider also shares basic emotions and feelings.
They typically live in large colonies and, if raised from an incredibly young age, can be tamed. This is a very rare circumstance, however. Hagrid raised one named Aragog. It lived in the Forbidden Forest surrounding the grounds of Hogwarts, where Hagrid released it.
Although Aragog liked Hagrid, this did not mean that his colony felt the same way. The Acromantulas nature is to treat every human they encounter as prey. This becomes obvious when Aragog dies and his colony attempts to eat Hagrid, despite the fact that he had been a good friend to their leader since his birth.
Similarly, when Harry and Ron visit Aragog in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he notes that their alliance with Hagrid does not make them friends of his.
7. Three-headed dogs
The three-headed dog is such a rare and unheard-of creature that it fails to earn a spot on the Ministry of Magic’s rating list. Despite this, the massive mutant is undoubtedly on the higher end of the scale for its touchy temperament and brutal trio of heads.
Although the three-headed dog lacks much grounding in its origin, the novels claim they possibly have roots in Ireland. Meanwhile, the film adaptation proposes Greece. In either case, the three-headed dog makes its one and only appearance in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Raised by Hagrid, who obtained the creature from a man in a pub and eventually named him Fluffy, the mutt was used as a means to protect a magical stone that could grant immortality — and was sought after by Lord Voldemort. Sitting atop a trap door, Fluffy was discovered by Harry and his friends accidentally,
Upon closer investigation, they discovered his purpose. By manipulating a drunken Hagrid into telling them more about the three-headed dog, they learned that its one true weakness was the inability to stay awake when it heard music.
By utilizing this knowledge, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were able to get past Fluffy in their race to reach the Philosopher’s Stone before Voldemort. Although not much is known about the three-headed dog, one of the most noteworthy representations of its kind comes from Greek mythology. Cerberus is a three-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld.
Thestrals are a unique breed of horse with large, leathery wings and skeletal bodies. Their physical appearance was described in the books as, “If he had had to give them a name, he supposed he would have called them horses, though there was something reptilian about them, too.”
“They were completely fleshless, their black coats clinging to their skeletons, of which every bone was visible. Their heads were dragonish, and their pupil-less eyes white and staring. Wings sprouted from each wither – vast, black leathery wings that looked as though they ought to belong to giant bats.”
“Standing still and quiet in the gathering gloom, the creatures looked eerie and sinister.” Thestrals are considered to be a bad omen to the majority of wizards and witches.
After witnessing the murder of Cedric Diggory, Harry finally sees what pulls the Hogwarts carriages. Previously, he believed that they floated on their own via magic. Luna Lovegood informed him that only those who had seen death could also see Thestrals.
They are rated as XXXX by the Ministry of Magic due to how difficult they are to handle. Only a skilled witch or wizard could manage them. Despite the Thestral being an undomesticated animal, their intellect allows them to discern good from bad and be a powerful ally.
They pop up a few times throughout the Harry Potter series, most prominently by pulling Hogwarts carriages and by helping defend the castle in the Battle of Hogwarts.
Dragons are massive, fire-breathing creatures with giant wings and a rating of XXXXX with the Ministry of Magic. They are incredibly difficult to conceal from the human eye because of their vast size and are cannot be tamed. Their dangerous and erratic temperaments can result in them attacking just about anything, wizards included, without provocation.
Despite this, because of how plentiful they are, many wizards train to be dragonologists – specialists who are able to work with dragons to observe their habits and behaviors. A dragon is born from an egg, but unlike other creatures who lay eggs, they do not nest.
Instead, the mother blows flames on her eggs during their incubation to keep them warm. Once they hatch, they hit milestones at 6 months (fire-breathing), 12 months (flying), and 2 years old (full maturity).
These facts are discovered when Hagrid illegally accepts a dragon egg that he won from a bet at a local bar. He then raised a newborn Norwegian Ridgeback in the first instalment of the series.
There are 10 official pure breeds of dragons — with two others that have been separately noted — and an array of hybrids that have been created despite the ban against breeding dragons. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry and several others compete in a tournament.
In one round, each student must steal a golden egg from a dragon. These dragons included the Welsh Green, the Chinese Fireball, the Swedish Short-Snout, and the Hungarian Horntail.
Classified as a XXXX creature by the Ministry of Magic, the Demiguise is unique in that it’s not very dangerous at all. Instead, it is one of the most clever and conniving animals in the wizarding world and requires incredibly special care if caught by a wizard or witch.
The quiet herbivore has the unique ability to turn itself invisible, and paired with its psychic abilities to see briefly into the future, it is an extremely difficult creature to catch. This notion is confirmed in the recent spinoff series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, when Newton Scamander visits New York with a suitcase full of creatures.
Several beasts escape from his case, with the Demiguise being one of the most difficult to ensnare. The creature, similar to an ape, has long, shaggy white fur and brown eyes that turn blue when they are looking into the future. In addition to their powerful abilities, the fur of the Demiguise can be used to craft Invisibility Cloaks.
These impressive garments give the wearer the ability to go completely invisible, however over time the hair loses its capability and renders the cape useless. In the Harry Potter series, Harry is given his father’s Invisibility Cloak by Professor Dumbledore, who had borrowed it to determine what the material was made from.
In fact, the cloak was specifically created by Death during the 13th century out of an unnamable substance that would never lose its special properties. There is only one in existence.
The Phoenix is a distinctively large bird with red and gold feathers, sharp talons, and beady black eyes. Originating from Egypt, India, and China, the scarlet creature is rated XXXX by the Ministry of Magic because its difficulty to domesticate it and special set of needs.
In the wizarding world, two famous phoenixes include Sparky, the Quidditch team mascot, and Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore’s pet. One of the most distinct aspects of a phoenix is its ability to rebirth itself. When it approaches a withered age and body, the bird will burst into flames and simultaneously rise from the ashes as a new chick.
This form of regeneration makes the phoenix almost immortal, allowing it to survive nearly anything. The phoenix is also an incredibly loyal animal when domesticated. Its magical abilities include healing tears that can mend nearly any wound or injury.
It can also sing a special tune that resonates deeply in the hearts of evil while uplifting those that are good. In addition to these awe-inspiring capabilities, the phoenix can lift the weight of four people on its tail and can blink from one place to the next by engulfing itself in flames.
Fawkes was often used as a messenger and was an ultimate force of good. When his master was killed, he sang a final tune and disappeared, as the loyal phoenix does not find a new owner when its previous one passes away.
The Hippogriff is a stunning magical creature seemingly composed of two different animals. It has the head, front legs, and wings of an eagle, and the torso, hind legs, and tail of a horse. This is similar to that of a Griffin, however the Griffin is composed of an eagle and a lion instead of a horse.
These creatures are classified as an XXX beast by the Ministry of Magic. They can be domesticated but require specific handling methods. Unlike many other creatures, the Hippogriff is lawfully allowed to be bred. They are hatched from eggs within 24 hours and can fly within the first week of birth.
However it takes much longer for them to be able to travel long distances. Despite their intimidating appearance, the half-horse half-bird is quite graceful and beautiful to look at. It comes in many coat colors including grey, black, bronze, and chestnut. Perhaps one of the most interesting traits of the Hippogriff is the etiquette that is required to approach them.
Wizards who encounter a wild or even a tamed Hippogriff must bow to them to show the proper respect. In return, the Hippogriff must also bow whilst maintaining eye contact between the human and the creature without blinking. If a Hippogriff feels offended, it may attack.
Additionally, they are very territorial animals and will fiercely protect those that have earned their trust. Buckbeak was a Hippogriff introduced by Hagrid, who had taken over a position at Hogwarts as the Care of Magical Creatures Professor.
While Hagrid showed his class how to properly approach a Hippogriff, Draco Malfoy upset the creature. When it gave Malfoy a minor injury, the Slytherin demanded to have it killed. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, set Buckbeak free before it could be slaughtered.
Within the wizarding community, owls serve a variety of fascinating purposes. Their most common duty is helping witches and wizards communicate. Owls ca deliver parcels, letters, and the infamous Howlers, which are a special letter specific to the magical world. However, they must be trained to do so.
Owls have a predisposition to magic and seem to have the ability to understand witches and wizards as well as travel to wherever a package needs to go without a definitive address. Owls can be purchased and owned as pets — Harry Potter’s owl, Hedwig and the Weasley family’s owls: Errol, Hermes, and Pigwidgeon.
They can then be brought to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where they live in an owlery and help deliver mail between students and their families back home. The wizarding news services such as the Daily Prophet and The Quibbler use them too.
Their main distinction from common owls is their heightened sense of understanding. The wizarding world depends greatly on owls for communicative purposes. They are similar to gears in a machine – they may only be working in the background, but they are a necessity in the grand scheme of things.