Top 10 Animals in Harry Potter 🐉
One of the reasons Harry Potter remains so popular is because the world J.K Rowling brought to life is populated with such amazing characters. While we are enchanted with the story of the boy wizard and his cohorts, they come across many animals, both real animals and fantastic beasts. We thought about all of our Harry Potter fans and animal lovers in order to prepare our top 10 animals in the Harry Potter films and books. There are always new things to learn about Harry Potter and knowing more about these Harry Potter creatures may surprise you.
To learn more about our top 10 animals in Harry Potter, read this article from top to bottom. See if you can remember all the creatures, but be warned our list contains SPOILERS.
We start with one of the creatures in Harry Potter which is an animal outside of the fictional realm. Hedwig is a snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus), sometimes known as an Arctic owl. Right now you may be wondering whether this beloved character, Harry's pet and companion, is male or female. Funnily enough, although the character is a female, the snowy owls used to play her in the films are actually male.
This snowy owl in Harry Potter is completely white, with majestic yellow eyes that are very recognizable. Males are pure white, while females and the young are lightly spotted or have brown stripes. They are very large birds, that can measure up to 70 cm (27.5 in) in length. Proportionally to their size, their eyes are huge: they are about the same size as those of a human. They are fixed position, which often forces the snowy owl to turn their heads to look around him them (up to a 270º angle).
Fun facts about Hedwig
- Hedwig was given to Harry by Hagrid as a birthday present on his 11th birthday. Harry gave her this name after having read it for the first time his book on the history of magic.
- She dies in the 7th book, in the battle of the seven Potters after trying to protect her best friend, but circumstances differ from book to movie. Why? Well in the movie, it's Hedwig's intervention that allows the Death Eaters to identify Harry, whereas in the book, it's when Harry launches the disarmament spell Expelliarmus that they see it as his mark, that the Death Eaters discover which of the 7 is the real Harry.
Next in our list of Harry Potter creatures, we find Scabbers, also nicknamed Wormtail. His real name is none other than Peter Pettigrew, one of the Animagus in the Harry Potter saga and servants of the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort. Harry Potter animals, an Animagus is a witch or wizard which can turn into an animal or magical creature at will.
Scabbers is Ron's rat, formerly belonging to Percy. He is large, shaded gray and probably a type of Agouti rat (according to hair color). Scabbers gives the impression of sleeping all the time, his left ear is ragged and his front leg has an amputated finger. In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Scabbers bites Ron for the first time and then runs away. Later in the book/movie, Sirius (Harry's godfather) will reveal that it was actually Peter Pettigrew in his Animagus form.
Fun fact: There is still a certain attachment to Ron and a very brief act of bravery, when Scabbers bites Goyle on his first trip to the Hogwarts Express, before falling asleep again (book).
For more information on non-fictional rats, take a look at our article on why rats bite humans.
Fang is Rubeus Hagrid's shy dog. He made his appearance in the first book in the saga. In the movies, he is played by a Neapolitan Mastiff while, in the books, it is a Great Dane or Boarhound. Fang always accompanies Hagrid in the Forbidden Forest and also accompanied Draco and Harry during their detention in the first year after Draco insisted on taking him with them:
Draco: “Very well, but I want Fang!!!”
Hagrid: “Alright but I warn you, he's a real coward.”
Fang appears to be a real animal and not one of the magical creatures in Harry Potter. However, he has a personality which is larger than life.
- Fang was bitten by Norbert the dragon in book 1.
- During the OWL exams, Professor Umbridge forces Hagrid to stop, Fang gets a flash of stupefaction trying to intervene (again, dog loyalty is incomparable).
- During the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, the Death Eaters set fire to Hagrid's cabin with Fang inside. He will eventually save his dog by braving the flames.
- The phrase ‘like master, like dog’ is clear here. Just like his master, Fang is imposing and gruff but he is, in fact, quite adorable and benevolent.
4. Fluffy: the three-headed dog
Fluffy is a three-headed dog that belonged to Hagrid, who had bought it from a ‘Greek friend’ in a pub in 1990. He made his appearance in the first Harry Potter book. Fluffy is part of the school of witchcraft since Dumbledore gave him the mission to monitor the Philosopher's stone. Nevertheless, Fluffy's great weakness is that he falls asleep at the slightest hint of music.
- Fluffy is the magic clone of the Greek mythological animal Cerberus, the guardian of the underworld. They both are three-headed guards. This is reference by the fact Hagrid bought him form a Greek friend.
- In the first Harry Potter movie, to make Fluffy more believable, the designers had to give a different personality to each of the dog's three heads. One is sleepy, the other is clever and the last is alert.
Aragog is a male acromantula that belongs to Hagrid. He makes her appearance in book 2 of the saga and tries to send his hundreds of children to eat Harry and Ron. This is one of the scariest of the Harry potter creatures. Acromantulas are an extremely large species of mechanical spider, similar to a giant tarantula.
Although extremely intelligent and able to formulate clear, conscious and coherent speech just like humans, the Acromantula is considered an animal by the Ministry of Magic. There is one little problem. He can not help but devour every human who comes within his reach. The Acromantula is native to the island of Borneo, where they would live in the jungle. The acromantula can lay up to 100 eggs at a time.
Aragog is badly raised by Hagrid and lives in the Forbidden Forest with his family. He dies in book 6.
- It seems that this creature was not born naturally but is the result of the magic of a wizard, making them a magical creature nin the Harry Potter books and films. Talented creatures are usually not self-taught.
- Aragog had a wife named Mosag with whom he had hundreds of children.
- A new species of spider very similar to Aragog was discovered in Iran in 2017: scientists named it ‘Lycosa aragogi’.
6. The Basilisk
The Basilisk is a magical creature in Harry Potter. It is an animal that resembles a gigantic snake released by Slytherin's heir from the chamber of secrets. He makes his appearance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The Basilisk is nicknamed the King of Snakes by wizards. This is a rare but not unique beast, it is usually raised by dark wizards and has become one of the most dangerous creatures in the magical world.
Some specimens easily measure 15 meters (50 ft), their scales are bright green and their two large yellow eyes can kill any being by simply looking at them. Its jaws have long hooks that inject a deadly venom into the body of its prey. Basilisks are uncontrollable and impossible to domesticate, unless the master speaks Parseltongue, the language of snakes.
- Thanks to the findings of the infamous dark wizard Herpo, it seems that the Basilisk comes from a chicken egg hatched by a toad.
- A Basilisk's venom can destroy a Horcrux.
- The Basilisk is a legendary mythological animal, but unlike the snake in Harry Potter, this one would be a small animal, mix of cockerel and snake. Nevertheless, he would be credited with overpowering powers of petrification. Coincidence? 😉
Fawkes is Albus Dumbledore's phoenix. He is red and gold in color and is about the size of a swan. He makes his first appearance in book 2. At the end of his life, he ignites to be reborn from his ashes. Fawkes was the inspiration for the name of the resistance group The Order of the Phoenix. This animal is also known to heal wounds by shedding tears, as well as the ability to carry loads up to 100 times its own weight.
- Two of Fawkes' feathers were used to make two separate wands. The first of these two wands chose Tom Riddle (Voldemort) as their wizard and the second chose Harry Potter.
- Fawkes totally disappeared after the death of Albus Dumbledore.
- Georges Cuvier (French anatomist) always compared the phoenix to a golden pheasant.
- There is never more than one phoenix at a time. Their life expectancy would be at least 500 years.
Buckbeak is a hippogriff, a hybrid half-horse-half-eagle creature that's part of our top 10 animals in Harry Potter. Related to the griffin, he looks like a winged horse with the head and forelegs of an eagle. Buckbeak belonged to Hagrid before being sentenced to death in Volume 3. In 1994, he escaped execution thanks to Harry and Hermione and the powers of the time turner, then ran away with Sirius on his back.
- For his safety, Buck was returned to Hagrid and renamed Witherwings after Sirius' death.
- He participated in two battles in the war against Voldemort where he showed special loyalty to Harry, defending him against every danger.
- Hippogriffs are certainly the most sensitive and proud creatures.
A Thestral a very particular winged horse in Harry Potter. Only those who have seen death are able to see them. Their appearance is rather frightening: they are skeletal, dark, black and have wings similar to those of bats. The Thestral has an exceptional sense of orientation, which allows him to travel through the air absolutely anywhere without getting lost. Thestrals take the order of the Phoenix to the Ministry of Magic in pitch black night in the fifth volume .
- Despite their bad reputation, Thestrals do not bring bad luck, they are in fact very benevolent.
- They are hunted by the magic community.
- They are the ones who pull the Hogwarts carriages when students arrive.
- Hagrid would be the only British to have trained one.
- We still do not know why Bill Weasley can see them (he climbs a Thestral during the Battle of the Seven Potters).
Nagini is a gigantic female green snake that is at least 3 meters long (10 ft), belonging to the Lord of Darkness, Lord Voldemort. Nagini is also a Horcrux. She has the ability to communicate with her master in Parseltongue and warn him at any time, even over long distances, like the Death Eaters. This snake's fangs inflict wounds that never close and its victims are drained of their blood. She died when beheaded by Neville Longbottom at the end of the last book.
- The name and character of Nagini would be inspired by the Naga, immortal Hindu mythological creatures, guardians of treasure, with the appearance of snake (nāga means serpent in Hindu).
- Nagini is the only living being for whom Voldemort has shown affection and attachment. Due to several aspects, Voldemort can make us think of the dictator Adolf Hitler, but when we know that the latter had woven a very special link with his dog ‘Blondi’, the similarities are even greater.
- Rumor has it that the snake Harry allegedly released to the zoo in Volume 1 could be Nagini. These are just rumors.
Here ends our list of the top 10 animals in the Harry Potter books and films. Can you remember imagining the magical creatures when reading the books? Did the versions of these animals in the film reflect what you imagined? Feel free to share your thoughts, memories and favorite Harry Potter animals in the comments. If you want to learn more, why not check out our list of the 5 most famous fictional animals.
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