When you look into it pretty much every magical animal out there is cool, cute, creepy, or a confusing combination of all three, but not all of them get the limelight they deserve. Here are six that we think merit a special place in your heart.
1. The Runespoor
The Runespoor is an African snake with vibrant black-and-orange markings. Not even Harry Potter without his glasses on could mistake it for non-magical serpent, because Runespoors are at least six feet long and have three heads. Each of the heads has a different personality, as described by Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:
‘The left head (as seen by the wizard facing the Runespoor) is the planner. It decides where the Runespoor is to go and what it is to do next. The middle head is the dreamer (Runespoors may remain stationary for days at a time, lost in glorious visions and imaginings). The right head is the critic and will evaluate the efforts of the left and middle heads with a continual irritable hissing.’
It looks frightening, but the Runespoor is docile enough for Dark wizards to keep as pets, and there’s something very endearing, not to mention wonderful, about a creature with a head specifically for dreaming.
2. The Fire Crab
‘Fire Crab’ is a bit of a misnomer, as they actually look like large tortoises, but ones with jewel-encrusted shells. A section of the Fijian coast now serves as a reserve for Fire Crabs since, as you can imagine, their pretty shells make them tempting, both to Muggles and the occasional witch or wizard looking for a flamboyant new cauldron.
The Fire Crab isn’t totally defenceless though. If it feels it’s in danger it’ll show you why it’s called a Fire Crab by shooting flames from its rear end. Given this, it’s a little surprising that the Fire Crab can be licensed as a pet. One imagines you’d need fireproof furniture.
3. The Crup
Crups would be indistinguishable from Jack Russell terriers if it weren’t for their forked tails. These must be painlessly removed with a Severing Charm while the Crup is still young, to ensure no accidental breaches of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy, so you may have met one already without knowing it. Crups are unfortunately aggressive towards Muggles, so they need to be strictly controlled by their owners, but a fantastic beast that’s also a loyal dog does sound like the perfect companion for anyone.
4. The Fwooper
As well as being popular sources for ostentatious quill feathers, Fwoopers are African birds that lay patterned eggs of such brilliance they could be works of art. Fwooper plumage is described in Fantastic Beasts as ‘extremely vivid’, coming in striking colours including orange, lime green, pink, and yellow. Fwoopers are another popular pet, but only sold to responsible owners with a licence, as they come with a Silencing Charm already cast on them. You could of course choose to not reinforce this charm (the pro being that you won’t have to cast a new Charm every month) but you would then have to listen to your Fwooper (the con being that this will slowly drive you to insanity).
5. The Hippocampus
Where the Hippogriff is a beautiful fusion of a horse and an eagle, the Hippocampus has the head and forequarters of a horse, which transitions into the tail of a giant fish. If you’re not a good flier, consider how fantastic it would be surfing the waves on the back of a Hippocampus. If you’re still not convinced, consider how fantastic it is that the name for a young Hippocampus is a Tadfoal.
6. The Snidget
It’s not common knowledge anymore, but the Golden Snitch of Quidditch is actually derived from the Snidget. The Golden Snidget is a small, completely round bird, which can change direction extremely quickly because it has rotational joints in its wings. It’s very difficult to catch, and this, coupled with its prized feathers and jewel-like eyes, made it an impressive trophy for a hunter. Quidditch Through the Ages tells us that Barberus Bragge, the Chief of the Wizards’ council, released a Snidget at a match in 1269, and that he offered 150 Galleons to the person who caught it.
The combination of being hunted and used as a live Quidditch ball meant this beautiful little bird was driven to the brink of extinction. Luckily the practice of killing Snidgets was outlawed in the 1300s, with severe penalties attached to any violation. They’re still a protected species today, and there are Snidget sanctuaries all over the world. This lovely, shy, peaceful creature doesn’t just deserve your love – it needs it!