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Fantastic Beasts and How Cuddly they Are


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An exploration of the many adorable animals in Fantastic Beasts and their real-life counterparts.

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Fantastic Beasts and How Cuddly they Are

  1. 1. Fantastic Beasts and how Cuddly They Are
  2. 2. Knarl • The Knarl is a creature that greatly resembles a hedgehog, so much so that there is only one known (behavioural) difference between them: when food is left out for a hedgehog it will appreciate and enjoy the gift; a knarl will see it as an attempt to lure it into a trap and hence savage the garden of the householder who left the food. Muggle children have often been blamed for damage committed by a Knarl. • They were featured in the Care of Magical Creatures O.W.L. where students had to locate it amongst a group of hedgehogs. The trick was to offer each creature some milk.
  3. 3. Pickett the Bowtruckle • Eddie Redmayne’s favorite creature • “Bowtruckles are tiny, pixie-like creatures made of wood. Bowtruckles have knobbly brown arms and legs, two twig-like fingers at the end of each hand, and flat, bark-like faces. Bowtruckles are tree-guardians and usually live in trees whose wood is of wand quality. They eat woodlice and fairy eggs.”. • Their little claws can be quite vicious. In Order of the Phoenix, Professor Grubby-Plank says angered Bowtruckes can gouge at people’s eyes. Their small size and fingers with claws mean they can be useful in picking locks. • This ability is possibly how our most famous Bowtruckle from the Fantastic Beasts series got his name. • Newt Scamander’s Bowtruckles are named Titus, Finn, Jeremy, Marlow, Tom, and Pickett. Pickett often lives in Newt’s top pocket and is described as having attachment issues. The other Bowtruckles pick on and bully him because of his insecurity and neuroses.
  4. 4. Bowtruckle (real life) • The pouty Bowtruckle resembles a green stick insect, like this one from Peru. • Real stick insects can regrow lost limbs, a near- magical ability humans lack.
  5. 5. Leaf Mimic • Of course, Scamander's personal Bowtruckle, "Pickett", is also a leaf mimic, much like true leaf insects in the family Phylliidae. Rather than fairy eggs and insects, these camouflage champions feed on fruit and other plant material.
  6. 6. Demiguise • “The Demiguise is a peaceful herbivorous beast, something like a graceful ape in appearance, with large, black, doleful eyes more often than not hidden by its hair. The whole body is covered with long, fine, silky, silvery hair. Demiguise pelts are highly valued as the hair may be spun into Invisibility Cloaks.” • The Demiguise, from the far East, looks like a small ape with long, silvery, silky looking hair. This same fur allows the magical creature to turn invisible when it feels threatened. • The hair is prized by wizards and witches because it can be used to weave Invisibility Cloaks. • J.K. Rowling says the Demiguise is her favorite beast because of its invisibility powers.
  7. 7. Real Life • The silvery fur and huge eyes of the Demiguise could have been inspired by a nocturnal primate such as the Horsfield’s Tarsier, from Malaysian Borneo. Tarsiers are elusive (though perhaps not quite as much), near silent in the trees with the ability to rotate their heads 180 degrees while seeking insectivorous prey. • They may not have precognitive sight, but their huge eyes give them superb night vision and are actually heavier than their brains, as the largest eyes compared to body size of any mammal.
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  9. 9. Runespoor • The Runespoor is a large, three- headed snake that lives in Newt’s suitcase - in a deleted scene from the movie. • It’s from the African country of Burkina Faso. The one in the guide is only 6 or 7 feet. • Each head provides a different part of the personality. Produces eggs through its mouth used for potions to improve cognition.
  10. 10. Dougal the Niffler • Nifflers are fluffy black creatures with long snouts and curiously flat front paws, almost like spades. They are commonly found down mines, as they are good at hunting out valuables and sparkly things. • With their fluffy black fur and long snouts, Nifflers resemble moles. They’re gentle burrowing creatures that love shiny, sparkly objects and have magically large inside pouches to carry things. • Rubeus Hagrid uses Nifflers in his Care of Magical Creatures class. Ron Weasley likes his Niffler so much that he asks if he can buy one for a pet, but Hagrid cautions against it because Nifflers can wreak havoc. • During the evil reign of Dolores Umbridge, Lee Jordan levitated 2 Nifflers into her office to tear it apart. • Eddie Redmayne has said “I have a love-hate relationship with that little guy.”
  11. 11. Niffler: Real Life • It appears to have the combination of dark hair and spines of the echidna, with the bill of the Duck-billed Platypus. And of course, the pouch. • They might not have such incredibly sticky fingers, but platypuses are equally good at seeking. These duck-billed, egg-laying mammals have the unique power of electroreception, a skill that allows them to locate prey in deep, silty water. • Their back hair is hard and bristled, which helps the strange creatures excavate burrows. This gives the platypus a "feathered" appearance, much like Niffler's. • With its mole-like clawed feet, an extinct platypus-relative called Steropodon looked even more like Rowling's creation.
  12. 12. Graphorn • “The Graphorn is found in mountainous European regions. Large and greyish purple with a humped back, the Graphorn has two very long, sharp horns, walks on large, four-thumbed feet, and has an extremely aggressive nature. Mountain trolls can occasionally be seen mounted on Graphorns, though the latter do not seem to take kindly to attempts to tame them and it is more common to see a troll covered in Graphorn scars.” • With greyish-purple skin that’s tougher than dragon skin, Graphorns are massive predators. • Highly endangered, Newt Scamander has the last pair of breeding Graphorns. The horn is highly sought after for potions like the Antidote to Uncommon Poisons.
  13. 13. Nundu • “This East African beast is arguably the most dangerous in the world. A gigantic leopard that moves silently despite its size and whose breath causes disease virulent enough to eliminate entire villages, it has never yet been subdued by fewer than a hundred skilled wizards working together.” (possibly until Newt) • It looks like a puffer fish with a spiky balloon-like appearance. Extremely dangerous, it moves silently and its breath is toxic and filled with disease. •
  14. 14. Nundu: Real Life • “The ferocious Nundu appears to be a Jaguar crossed with a cactus,” so it may come from the jungle/deseert pairings of Mexico. • The Nundu appears to have a history inspired by big cats across the world, as Eldon Elsrickle kept a cub as a pet, which eventually spelled his downfall. Stories of large carnivores bought as cute cubs are well-known throughout the world, which grow up to be aggressive animals unsuited to captivity.
  15. 15. Swooping Evil • “A large, butterfly-like creature that emerges from a small object, possibly a cocoon” – Pottermore • New for the movie. • The Swooping Evil’s wings are described as spiked while its cocoon is green and spiny. • Its venom can be diluted to help ……………erase bad memories or cause …………..amnesia for the full strength …………..version
  16. 16. Real Life • It looks like a hybrid between a butterfly, spoonbill bird, and blue- green parrot.
  17. 17. Grindylow • "A sickly green creature with sharp little horns had its face pressed against the glass, pulling faces and flexing its long, spindly fingers.“ • Newt Scamander had several Grindylows in his suitcase. • Remus Lupin ordered a Grindylow for his third year class to study. After his resignation, he left behind the tank in which the Grindylow was kept. • The Grindylows of the Black Lake attacked Fleur Delacour, and Harry Potter. • A folkloric creature from Yorkshire and Lancashire, Grindylows are said to grab little children with their long sinewy arms and drown them if they come too close to the water's edge. They’re a bogeyman used as a ploy to frighten children away from pools, marshes or ponds where they could drown.
  18. 18. Occamy • The Occamy is found in the Far East and India. A plumed, two- legged winged creature with a serpentine body, the Occamy may reach a length of fifteen feet. It feeds mainly on rats and birds, though has been known to carry off monkeys. The Occamy is aggressive to all who approach it, particularly in defence of its eggs, whose shells are made of the purest, softest silver.” • The Occamy is a feathered, two-legged serpentine bodied magical creature with wings. Its wings can be up to 15 feet long. • It’s named after Occam’s Razor, the theory that the most likely explanation for a strange predicament is likely to be the simplest. • Its magical nature gives it the power to be choranaptyxic –to grow or shrink to fit available space. • Professor Gilderoy Lockhart once wanted to make a line of haircare products using the silver eggs, but they were too difficult to obtain.
  19. 19. Occamy: Real Life • It has the serpentine body of the Loch Ness Monster but the beak, feathers and wings of an exotic bird. • Its indigo plumage and yellow eyes compare to the Hyacinth Macaw, which can be found in Paraguay. • Exotic birds such as the Hyacinth Macaw are under severe threat from the pet trade -- wild chicks are stolen from nests and crammed into small containers.
  20. 20. Billywig • “The Billywig is an insect native to Australia. It is around half an inch long and a vivid sapphire blue, although its speed is such that it is rarely noticed by Muggles and often not by wizards until they have been stung. The Billywig’s wings are attached to the top of its head and are rotated very fast so that it spins as it flies. At the bottom of the body is a long thin sting.” • Billywigs are small, speedy, round, bright sapphire blue insects from Australia. Oddly enough its wings are on top of its head, allowing the entire animal to spin around while flying. • Its sting makes the victim giddy, followed by levitation. Younger witches and wizards in Australia often try to catch them to be stung on purpose. However, too many stings and the victim will hover uncontrollably for days, even permanently if there is a severe allergic reaction. • Dried Billywig stings are used in potions. They’re also thought to be part of the secret formula of Fizzing Whizzbees. The wings adorned Xenophilius Lovegood’s Diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw to ‘induce an elevated frame of mind’.
  21. 21. Billywig • It appears to have the compound eyes and luminous colouration of an orchid bee (top), one species of which can be found in the Sierra Gorda, Mexico.
  22. 22. Mooncalves • “The mooncalf is an intensely shy creature that emerges from its burrow only at the full moon…Mooncalves performs complicated dances on their hind legs in isolated areas in the moonlight”
  23. 23. Erumpent • “The Erumpent is a large grey African beast of great power. Weighing up to a tonne, the Erumpent may be mistaken for a rhinoceros at a distance. It has a thick hide that repels most charms and curses, a large, sharp horn upon its nose and a long, rope- like tail. […] The Erumpent will not attack unless sorely provoked, but should it charge, the results are usually catastrophic. The Erumpent’s horn can pierce everything from skin to metal, and contains a deadly fluid which will cause whatever is injected with it to explode.” • There are not many Erumpents in existence, as males have the rather unfortunate habit of blowing themselves up mating season. XXXXX: Known wizard killer/ impossible to train or domesticate XXXX: Dangerous/ requires specialist knowledge/ skilled wizard may handle
  24. 24. Erumpent: Real Life • Both the name and appearance suggest an elephant- rhinoceros hybrid. However, it appears to breathe through a dorsal blowhole; perhaps it also has a distant whale relative. • The erumpent horn is a dangerous ornament in the Lovegood household. It is mistaken for the horn of a Crumple-horned Snorkack. On cue, it explodes. The horn echoes the ‘magical healing’ properties the rhino horn is thought to have, which is causing the poaching crisis.
  25. 25. Thunderbird (Frank) • “I wanted to have one thing that was quintessentially American, and the Thunderbird is. I feel a special kinship for birds. I loved Dumbledore’s phoenix, and I wanted a bird in this film with its own mythology. When the thunder bird flaps its multiple wings, it creates storms, so it’s a powerful, mythical creature.” • A relative of the phoenix that is native to the desert climate of Arizona, Thunderbird feathers shimmer with cloud-like patterns. They are said to be able to sense danger. • A House at Ilvermorny and used as wand cores. • In some tribes, Thunderbirds are considered extremely sacred forces of nature, while in others, they are treated like unusually powerful members of the animal kingdom • Newt Scamander rescues a Thunderbird from animal traffickers in Egypt. He names him Frank and promises to take him back home to Arizona. The 2017 book intro says President Picquery made them protected.
  26. 26. Real Life • Its head and crest resemble the Harpy Eagle, one of the largest raptors in the world, with 3-4 inch talons and a 2-meter wingspan. • From Belize, Brazil, Ecuador and Par aguay. • It is the size of one of the larger Pterosaurs (sadly extinct).
  27. 27. Pukwudgie • Isolt Sayre, founder of Ilvermorny, was aided by William the Pukwudgie • A Pukwudgie is a 2-to-3-foot-tall helper figure from the Wampanoag (Massachusetts) folklore. They resemble humans, but with enlarged noses, fingers and ears. Their skin is grey, and sometimes glows. Pukwudgies can appear and disappear at will. When angered, they can lure people to their deaths or fire poison arrows. Their name literally means ‘person of the wilderness’ and they are usually considered spirits of the forest. • In the Ojibwe and other Great Lakes tribes, the pukwudgie (or bagwajinini) is considered a mischievous but basically good-natured creature who plays tricks on people but is not dangerous. • In the Abenaki and other northeast Algonquian tribes, a pukwudgie (or bokwjimen) can be dangerous, but only to people who treat him with disrespect. • In New England, pukwudgies are capricious and dangerous creatures who may play harmless tricks or even help a human neighbor, but are just as likely to steal children or commit deadly acts of sabotage.
  28. 28. Wampus Cat • "A fast and powerful cat native to Appalacia.“ • The Cherokee describe a creature that can walk on its hind legs, and outrun arrows. Its yellow eyes can hypnotize and read minds. • In Missouri they call it a Gallywampus; in Arkansas it’s the Whistling Wampus; in Appalachia it’s just a plain old Wampus (or Wampas) cat. A half-dog, half-cat creature that can run erect or on all fours, it’s rumored to be seen just after dark or right before dawn all throughout the Appalachians. But that’s about all everyone agrees on. In non- Native American cultures it’s a howling, evil creature, with yellow eyes that can supposedly pierce the hearts and souls of those unfortunate enough to cross its path, driving them to the edge of sanity. • Like the Sasquatch, rumors of sightings abound. It’s been seen throughout Northeast Tennessee, in Eastern Kentucky, in Virginia and West Virginia, and even on the campus at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
  29. 29. Horned Serpent • To the Muscogee people, the crystalline Horned Serpent lives underwater with a single, large crystal in its forehead. “Highly prized as aids in divination, these dazzling scales and crystals could be obtained only by a shaman purified for contact with the dangerous powers of the lower world.” The horns, called chitto gab-by, were used in medicine. “Fragments of the horns were said to resemble red sealing wax and could be obtained only with the greatest exposure to peril.” • Jackson Lewis, who imparted the tale, adds, “This snake lives in the water and has horns like the stag. It is not a bad snake....It does not harm human beings but seems to have a magnetic power over game.” It fits into the tradition that the Horned Serpent aids Isolt in her moments of need, especially with creating New World magic to protect her family. • “As the embodiment of the Chaotic Force, the Horned Serpent and the Water Cougar are traditionally associated with the Lower World and particularly with floods and destruction. As principles of the Lower World, they stand in opposition to birds of the Upper World.” •
  30. 30. Pixies • The pixie is mostly found in Cornwall, England. Electric blue in colour, up to eight inches in height and very mischievous, the pixie delights in tricks and practical jokes of all descriptions. Although wingless, it can fly and has been known to seize unwary humans by the ears and deposit them at the tops of tall trees and buildings. Pixies produce a high-pitched jabbering intelligible only to other pixies. They bear live young. • In the legends associated with Dartmoor, pixies disguise themselves as a bundle of rags to lure children into their play. They adore music and dance. Pixies are generally helpful to normal humans, sometimes helping with housework. They are not completely benign, however, as they mislead travelers (being "pixy-led“) The best remedy for this is to turn your coat inside out. • They’re not very nice to Neville in movie two.
  31. 31. Hippogriff • Trotting towards them were a dozen of the most bizarre creatures Harry had ever seen. They had the bodies, hind legs and tails of horses, but the front legs, wings and heads of what seemed to be giant eagles, with cruel, steel-coloured beaks and large, brilliantly orange eyes. The talons on their front legs were half a foot long and deadly-looking. • In Fantastic Beasts: • The Hippogriff is native to Europe, though now found worldwide. It has the head of a giant eagle and the body of a horse. It can be tamed, though this should be attempted only by experts. Eye contact should be maintained when approaching a Hippogriff. Bowing shows good intentions. If the Hippogriff returns the greeting, it is safe to draw closer. • The Hippogriff burrows for insects but will also eat birds and small mammals. Breeding Hippogriffs build nests upon the ground into which they will lay a single large and fragile egg which hatches within twenty-four hours. The fledgling Hippogriff should be ready to fly within a week, though it will be a matter of months before it is able to accompany its parent on longer journeys.
  32. 32. Sphinx • "The Egyptian sphinx has a human head on a lion’s body. For over a thousand years it has been used by witches and wizards to guard valuables and secret hideaways. Highly intelligent, the sphinx delights in puzzles and riddles. It is usually dangerous only when what it is guarding is threatened.“ • This is often a female monster with the body of a lion, the head and torso of a woman, eagle's wings and, according to some, a serpent's tail. • She was sent by the gods to plague the town of Thebes as punishment for some ancient crime, devouring all who failed to solve her riddle. Oedipus solved the Sphinx's riddle and was made king as a reward, while she cast herself off the mountainside in despair. • Sphinxes in myth generally guarded passageways and treasure. A riddle is often their test. One asks Harry such a riddle in the TriWizarding Tournament
  33. 33. Dragons • Dragons show up in the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament: the Hungarian Horntail, the Chinese Fireball, the Swedish Short-Snout, and a Welsh Green. • Ron Weasley's brother Charlie works with dragons in Romania at the time • Dragons guard certain vaults at Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and the trio ride the one in the Lestranges’ locker, though they can’t control where it flies.
  34. 34. There’s more to see…
  35. 35. Harry Potter Main Series
  36. 36. Sources • “9 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” World Land Trust, 15 Nov 2016. where-find • Grantham, Bill. Creation Myths and Legends of the Creek Indians, (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2002), 25. • “Puckwudgie,” • Rowling, JK. “Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” Pottermore, • Scamander, Newt. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. New York: Scholastic, 2001. • Tabler, Dave. “The Story of the Wampus Cat,” Appalachian History, 6 Oct 2014. cat.html.
  37. 37. Please visit or Amazon for more works by Valerie Estelle Frankel