There are dozens upon dozens of unique and fascinating creatures in the world of Harry Potter. The main series showed us that, and then the Fantastic Beasts series has gone above and beyond in showing us even more of the creatures of legend.
What’s interesting is seeing the lore behind these creatures. Some of them are actually based upon legend – lore that J.K. Rowling and molded into something of her making. Other creatures she made up completely.
12 Legend: Kappas
Kappas first made their appearance in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. However, they’ve actually been known in lore for much longer than that. Kappas are a Japanese legend, believed to be a demon or imp.
Kappas prefer to live near water, and are typically represented as green beings with a bowl-shaped head. They’re known for assaulting any human who isn’t careful enough to take precautions, taking their shirikodama (an organ of myth). But don’t worry; they can be appeased with cucumbers. Just write your name on one and throw it into the water, and you should be safe.
11 Made Up: Blast-Ended Skrewt
The infamous Blast-Ended Skrewts first made their appearance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Here the students were forced to take care for them…though they were less than enthusiastic about it. This was one of the many failures of Hagrid’s first year of teaching – though we were all rooting for him.
Blast-Ended Skrewts live up to their name. While they look like headless lobsters, they’re quite a bit more dangerous than that. Their rear end has a stringer that they can quite literally blast off as they so choose. Not exactly a great pet.
10 Legend: Dragon
Dragons are a prominent presence in the world of Harry Potter. They make several appearances, from the baby in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to the weak and weary adult in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
We probably don’t have to actually say this, but J.K. Rowling didn’t invent dragons. Though she did make good use of them. Dragons have made appearances in almost every culture, having a strong presence in legends around the world.
9 Made Up: Bowtruckle
Bowtruckles were mentioned in Harry Potter, but it wasn’t until Fantastic Beasts that these little critters became more popular. Bowtruckles are magical creatures that live in trees – specifically trees perfect for making wands.
These little creatures as small and could pass for stick insects if the occasion called for it. They’re cute and peaceful – as long as you don’t threaten the tree they call their home. Wand making families have a relationship with these critters, tending to their trees while taking only what they need to create new wands.
8 Legend: Griffin
The Griffin is a famous creature of lore. The term itself is Greek, and has a few variants on spelling. The creature itself is said to have the body of a lion and head of an eagle. It also has the wings of an eagle and sometimes even the claws of one as well.
Griffons first made their appearance in lore back during the time of Egypt and Greece. So it predated the Harry Potter series by a little bit. However, they still make an iconic addition to J.K. Rowling’s world.
7 Made Up: Erumpent
The Erumpent first made an appearance during Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And boy, was it an iconic scene. Here Newt Scamander attempted to distract and court an Erumpent in order to get her back inside his magical case. Things didn’t go quite according to plan though.
Erumpents look like a rhinoceros in body, but it probably isn’t safe to confuse the two. Erumpents have an additional weapon in their horn, for it has the ability to explode. On the bright side, these large creatures tend to be rather docile, so as long as you leave them alone, they’ll do the same.
6 Legend: Phoenix
The Phoenix was a beautiful inclusion to both Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts. And for all we know, we’ve simply seen the same creature twice. Fawkes is the iconic Phoenix of the Harry Potter world, belonging to Dumbledore himself.
The legend of the Phoenix is rather well known. They’re beautiful and bright birds of a large size. And while they are very long lived, when it comes time for them to die, they do so in blazing glory. That is to say, they erupt into flames. And from those ashes, a new Phoenix arises.
5 Made Up: Kneazle
Kneazles are for the crazy cat ladies of the magical world. Meaning, of course, that they are related to cats. Like cats, Kneazles can vary in appearance. The most well known Kneazle is Crookshanks, Hermione’s pet (though he was technically only half-Kneazle).
Kneazles are amazingly intelligent, as evidenced during Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Here Crookshanks identified the truth about Sirius and sought to help him out. In many ways she was ahead of her human and friends.
4 Legend: Grindylow
The Grindylow have been in legend for a long time now. They’re represented fairly well in the world of Harry Potter. They’re little creatures that live in watery areas, with a tendency to try and pull people down into the depths. Though they have a preference for children (likely due to the size).
The Grindylow, like many other legends, was invented for a purpose. Parents used the tale of the Grindylows to keep their children from straying too close to water – especially when there were no adults around to supervise.
3 Made Up: Niffler
Nifflers are another magical creature that made an appearance in both Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts. Though the latter is where these adorable magical creatures became famous. Nifflers, as you might well know, resemble a platypus in many ways. They have a small body covered in fur, with a beak for a snout. Their fur can come in a variety of colors and patterns, as evidenced in Crimes of Grindelwald.
Nifflers have the unique ability to smell gold. We’d say that makes them useful, but they’re more likely to steal your gold than help you find it. Though they can be used for this purpose if you’re careful. The movies did a brilliant job of showing the mischief these little guys can get into.
2 Legend: Kelpie
Kelpies are another creature of legend that made it into the world of Harry Potter. Though they were tamed for the sake of the series (intentionally or not). Kelpies were believed to be shapeshifting water spirits. Predominantly in Scotland.
Though they were most commonly pictured as a horse or to have horse-like features. But unlike a horse, you wouldn’t want to ride this creature. Doing so would lead to certain death, as they were known for drowning their victims.
1 Made Up: Nargle
Even in the world of Harry Potter, many would argue that Nargles are made up. Nargles are famous not for what they did, but rather who believes in them. Luna Lovegood (and her father) are both believers in Nargles.
Supposedly, Nargles love Mistletoe, and will happily reside (or infest) any they can find. They’re mischievous little thieves that get into trouble. Again, assuming you even believe in them. There is some evidence to prove they exist, but not much. And we never did find out if Luna found them or the proof she wanted. Not that she really needed proof in order to believe in something.