Turn a corner in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (in the story, not the theme park), and you're bound to run into a magical creature. Be it something more common like a garden gnome, flobberworm, or pixie, J.K. Rowling's beastly creations run the gamut of general peculiarity. They fly, they swim, they live in mistletoes (assuming you're on board with the Lovegoods and believe that Nargles actually do exist), and seeing as they exist purely in fiction, it's no wonder that they'd be created with some artistic liberties having been taken.
But even then, Rowling has certainly put those liberties to the test with some of her more questionable creations.
Between Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which undoubtedly promises to introduce an even wider range of creatures in the sequels), Rowling has truly stretched her imagination when it comes to creating the non-human characters in her imaginary world - seeing as even her human characters aren't really worth revisiting. But in case you're not entirely familiar with the true oddballs of the group, keep reading to explore the 15 Strangest Creatures In Harry Potter.
The Hodag is native to the US, which explains why Rowling didn't introduce it until entering the world of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In fact, this creature doesn't really play a role in the film (though it can easily show up in one of the four sequels), but Rowling still found a place for it on Pottermore, dropping a few minor details regarding some of its more peculiar features.
The creature itself was actually conjured up before J.K. Rowling ever got her hands on it by a farmer named Eugene Shepard. Back in the early 1890s, he had locals convinced that this gruesome beast was actually sprawling the Wisconsin countryside. It was eventually proven to be hoax, but that didn't stop Rowling from using the creature in her own stories, going so far as to explain that the hoax angle was prompted by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) to help muggles (or No Maj's) sleep more soundly at night.
Do not be fooled by the Hinkypunk. It's name may sound cute and its appearance may seem alluring, but therein lies its strengths. They are literally beacons of light, and when you approach them, you might assume that they are trying to illuminate your way. Only, they're not. In fact, their purpose in life is to screw with wary travelers.
Were someone to happen upon one, the Hinkypunk (a glowing wisp of smoke with a single leg and a lantern) would lure the traveler down whatever dangerous road it could find, helping them only in the sense that they would help them get lost.
It's also worth mentioning that its lantern isn't just used for lighting the way, but ammunition. Cross one of these creatures, and you may just find yourself on the receiving end of catapulted fireballs.
Mandrakes aren't so scary, you say? Based off of their role in The Chamber of Secrets, you wouldn't be wrong, but it's worth keeping in mind that the Mandrakes that you saw on screen were just like tykes. They weren't matured yet. Which is to say, they weren't deadly yet.
Assuming you're not wearing protective ear muffs, a baby Mandrake's cry will knock you unconscious (see Neville Longbottom). But once it's matured, this humanoid root has a cry so shrill that it can literally kill whoever hears it. Slightly overkill in terms of self-protection, but that's magical nature for you.
In fact, one of the more popular deaths triggered by a Mandrake came in 1912. Venusia Crickerly, former Minister for Magic, was gardening when she uprooted a Mandrake. One thing led to another, and before she knew it, the cry had killed her.
Man himself can be a pretty terrifying creature. Lions, too. Undeniably terrifying. And scorpions? Same goes with scorpions. Terrifying. So when you mix them together, what you get is essentially a nightmare cocktail of horrific proportions — or better yet, you get a Manticore.
Not only is this creature pretty much impervious to spell-casting, its kill methods are savage, if not sinister. Manticores will hum in an almost peaceful way as they feed on their victims, and what's worse is the fact that the face that's chowing down is that of a human. In fact, Manticore's are capable of human speech. In case you didn't find them frightening enough.
Though they don't physically show up in the Harry Potter series, it's worth mentioning that if you breed a Manticore with a fire crab, you get a Blast-Ended Screwt. Speaking of which...
12 Blast-Ended Skrewts
Ah, speak of the devil...
This monstrosity of a hybrid is a creature that really doesn't need to exist. It's a sort of abomination of magical beasts, and yet (though it shouldn't come as much of a surprise), it's a fan-favorite of Rubeus Hagrid. Which makes sense, seeing as he's the one who originally bred them in the first place.
Visually, they're horrifying. The way they scurry, shoot sparks out of their backsides (hence their names), and want nothing more than to deliver pain to their victims (which are everyone) prove that A) Hagrid has no concept of evil, and B) Hogwarts is perfectly fine with putting its students in harm's way.
The only silver-lining with these creatures is that they don't exist in the wild.
With the Acromantula, J.K. Rowling was essentially just trying to screw with anyone suffering from arachnophobia. This giant breed of spiders is, according to common wizarding belief, unnatural. These creatures didn't just show up in the wild, but were created by wizards and witches for a greater purpose; the purpose being fifteen-feet-long, 8-legged guards.
These poisonous, man-eating monsters were bred during a time in the wizarding world when experimental breeding wasn't frowned upon (nor illegal). In 1965, the Ministry of Magic put a swift end to that, but not before the Acromantula race bred and spread on their own.
Though they click their pincers to communicate with their own kind, these giant spiders are capable of speaking to humans as well. Which admittedly won't help you sleep any better at night...
When Jo Rowling unveiled Ilvermorny, the American equivalent to Hogwarts, she revealed the school's four houses, all of which were represented by a magical creature native to the United States. One of these creatures was the Pukwudgie.
These goblin-esque creatures are tricky to sum up, in that they have a sort of neutral footing in the wizarding world. They are loyal to their word, fierce in their abilities, and private. Incredibly private. So much so, in fact, that they'd really rather not meddle in any creature's business that isn't of their own breed (though they've been known to have some wiggle room in that department from time to time).
Though they only reach up to roughly three feet in height, Pukwudgies are fighters, and the last thing you want to do is get on their bad side, seeing as they're far from being forgiving creatures.
Not to be confused with merpeople, Grindylows are sea-dwelling creatures who associate themselves with the darker side of the wizarding world. Vicious beasts, these "water demons" do not like being bothered, nor are they inclined to oblige someone or something who is need of help (which is made clear enough in the second challenge in The Goblet of Fire).
When it comes to hunting, their weapon of choice is oftentimes strangulation. And though humans aren't necessarily at the top of their list for dinner outings, they won't turn down fresh meat if it presents itself. In English folklore, these creatures were to blame for the disappearance of young children on various coasts — or at least that's what the older generations would tell children.
Fun fact: mermaids have been known to keep Grindylows as pets from time to time. Assuming they can manage to tame one.
8 Horned Serpent
One of the other four Ilvermorny houses was named after a majestic creature called the Horned Serpent. These creatures, which dwell primarily in the United States, are wise and mysterious, and some of the magical properties they imbue are so rare that wizards and witches search far and wide to get their hands on one.
In fact, the serpent has a jewel atop its head that is believed to manifest various powers, including the power of flight, as well as the ability to become invisible. And whereas dragon heartstring, Phoenix feather, and unicorn hair are used as wand cores in Europe, shavings of a Horned Serpent's jewel are used in the states.
These are incredibly intelligent, sentient creatures who played a significant role in creating an established wizard and witch commentary in the US.
Now, here is an interesting breed of magical creatures. Though boggarts aren't especially uncommon, their true form is unknown — a feat pulled off on account of the creature's living and self-defense habits. They exist only in small, dark spaces (including closets or shadows), doing nothing more than causing disturbances wherever they roam.
Basically, whenever a child complains about the monster hiding in their closet or under their bed, they're more than likely playing host to a boggart. In the Wizarding World, at least.
Though they may very well just look like the shadows in which they dwell, as far as anyone's concerned, a boggart will take the shape of whatever frightens someone most. To Remus Lupin, it appears as a full moon, for example, and to Molly Weasley, it appears as an image of her friends and family all deceased.
Is it a bird? A plane? No, and it's not a dragon, either. The Snallygaster is a hybrid beast, combining the traits of certain birds and certain reptiles, but proving to be more powerful than either. A native to the US, the Snallygaster is a harmless enough creature, in that it doesn't full-on attack magical or non-magical folk. That said, it's not exactly the shyest creature around, casually making its presence known to anyone who enters its territory, and by no means shying away from the public eye.
Its main source of self-defense exists in its mouth, where it has a strong set of steel fangs. Also, it's worth mentioning that were you to ever seek one of these creatures out for hunting, you'd need a hell of a lot more than luck on your side. Snallygaster hide is tougher than tough and can withstand wand blasts, as well as bullets.
Dogs are just precious, aren't they?
Traditionally speaking, yes. But imbued with certain magical properties, no. Not at all. Especially when the dog isn't a dog, per se, but a Gytrash, a vicious dog-like creature that can blend into the darkness (a helpful, albeit horrifying, hunting mechanism).
Gytrashs are man-eaters, and though they can blend into the dark, they typically emit a soft glow, making them appear to be ghost-like. Intimidating though they may be, however, Gytrashs hunt only at night because that's the only time that they're able to. Light is a major issue for these creatures, meaning a bit of daylight, or even a glow from your want or a handy flashlight, can easily shoo them away.
Gilderoy Lockhart also claims to have once fought off a pack of Gytrashs, though it's safe to say that he was lying through his perfectly bleached teeth.
In The Order of the Phoenix, Harry discovers that the horseless carriages that pull students from the train to the school aren't horseless at all. They're pulled by bony, winged horses, which he later discovers are called Thestrals. Fascinated by them, he ultimately discovers that the only reason he can see them is because he's personally witnessed death — a necessity in viewing these beasts.
(Leave it to J.K. Rowling to make magical horses products of death.)
Thestrals are considered to be dangerous, though they've never shown any signs of giving Harry or his friends any trouble, further proving that they are truly misunderstood. It also probably doesn't help that the best way to lure these creatures is to have some blood handy, seeing as they're attracted to its scent.
Of the many creatures in the world of Harry Potter that are best to avoid, Dementors sit comfortably at the top of the list. Cloaked and ragged, these creatures are sort of an amalgamation of grief, loss, and inner darkness. Where most creatures — whether beast or otherwise — seek out conditions that better their lives, Dementors crave the exact opposite. They feed off of misery; so well, in fact, that they've make a living out of it, serving as guards of the wizard prison, Azkaban.
It's especially best to avoid these creatures, seeing as getting to close to them puts you at risk of having your soul sucked dry. The "Dementor's Kiss" is just that. They'll strip you of every happy thought or memory you've ever had, and before long, you'll be as good as dead.
In fact, their victims would prefer death over the state in which they're left once Dementors are finished with them.
What is a piece of fiction without its own spin on zombies? In Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling approached this popular breed of undead characters, and created the Inferi.
These creatures aren't the result of nuclear testing or unidentified space debris, but magic, plain and simple. Incredibly dark magic (which would explain why they tend to only show up when Voldemort is in charge). These creatures are simple enough to understand, in that they're reanimated corpses. But in a series aimed just as much at children as it is adults, their presence stands out all the more.
As it turns out, one of the first mentions of Inferi came from Gellert Grindelwald, Albus Dumbledore's old chum. Though there's no proof of him being successful with this defensive option, there's a solid chance that audiences will know well enough in at least one of the Fantastic Beasts sequels.
This newcomer to the world of Harry Potter, the Hidebehind is one of J.K. Rowling's more strange and vicious creations. It's also perhaps her own take on (and explanation for) the much obsessed-over fictional beast, Bigfoot.
Hidebehinds are bloodthirsty creatures who not only have the strength to destroy almost any being it happens upon, but the abilities to shapeshift, as well as become invisible, so as to avoid detection. And not unlike the Blast-Ended Skrewt, Hidebehinds are abominable hybrids — though in this case, created accidentally.
When Phineas Fletcher was illegally trafficking Demiguises, one of them escaped, mated with a ghoul, and bore a new breed of species native to Massachusetts. They now roam throughout wooded areas, preying and slaughtering as they see fit.
Any other creatures from Harry Potter that should have been included in this list? Sound off in the comments!