Harry Potter, and its spinoff movie franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, gave Potterheads countless magical creatures to fawn over. While the magical world of wizardry remains a work of fiction, some of the creatures have actual real-life counterparts that can give you your magical fix in the muggle world.
Here are 10 magical creatures from Harry Potter that are actually real (kind of).
FLUFFY/Cerberus – Cane Corso
Fluffy, the imposing, three-headed figure with an endearing name given by Hagrid took a bite out of Snape while guardian the Chamber of Secrets.
While it might not have three heads, Fluffy’s appearance is actually based on the Cane Corso, a large dog breed also known as the Italian Mastiff. This powerful dog can run at amazing speeds and leap to some serious heights; I speak from experience with my own Cane that I’ve witnessed chase down deer and scale mountainsides.
But don’t let their outer appearance fool you. While they may look frightening at first glance, they make excellent family dogs and love cuddles as much as the next pup.
Acromantula – tarantula
This one’s on the easier side, as the original animal can be found in the very name. The Acromantula is, of course, based on the real-life tarantula, a hairy, thick-bodied spider.
While the tarantula doesn’t have venom, its large pincers are enough to intimidate any predator, even humans.
Basilisk – basilisk lizard
Believe it or not, the Basilisk exists in real life! While not the larger-than-life, Loch-Ness-like creature of The Chamber of Secrets, the existing lizard has its own cool features.
The actual basilisk lizard can run on water, using its spindly legs to travel short distances across the surface. Its bright green color (a clear Slytherin, of course) is almost as eye-catching as its gravity-defying jaunts across ponds.
Erumpent – rhino and cuttlefish
Who could forget the side-splitting almost mating scene between the erumpent and Jacob Kowalski in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?
The form of the Erumpent is nearly identical to a swollen, almost water-logged rhinoceros, with its gigantic glowing horn and large frame supported on small legs. The translucent body of the Erumpent seems similar to that of a cuttlefish. Both also have that gelly-soft exterior.
The Erumpent’s signature display of changing colors from within itself is also similar to the cuttlefish, which is able to do the same thing to communicate different messages.
Fang – Neapolitan mastiff
Hagrid’s other four-legged friend, Fang, is based on yet another Mastiff breed, the Neapolitan Mastiff.
Prepare for drool! The slimy affection that Ron’s poor face experienced is, unfortunately, very real and very messy. The Neapolitan grows just as large as their Italian cousins, their large jowls and lazy, approachable disposition.
Their scruffy appearance fits perfectly with Hagrid’s modest cottage and universal love for all creatures. If you love Harry Potter, and are comfortable with having a dog in your house that most likely weighs more than you, the Neopolitan could be every your dream dog.
Hippogriff – eagle and horse
Ah, yes, the beast that brought down Draco Malfoy.
The Hippogriff remains known for its eagle-like head and horse body, as well as its powerful feathered wings. The white head looks similar to that of the Bald Eagle, with its sharp, predatory beak perfect for tearing into prey.
The bottom half of this iconic Harry Potter companion resembles a grey horse’s Jackson Pollock-Esque splattering of grey on white, giving the animal an appearance of ash falling on fresh snow. The wings, while bird-like, stretch much farther, and can support a teenage Potter, Hermoine, and Serius Black on its back, as we saw in The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Demiguise – tarsier and Spider monkey
This creature might have had limited screen time in the Fantastic Beasts’ second film, but they sure made an impact.
With haunting eyes and long, silvery hair swinging from its lean body, the Demiguise can appear and reappear before your very eyes, which made catching it so difficult. The frame of the animal resembles a spider monkey, all long arms and legs attached to a spindly torso. Its hands, fit with long, dextrous fingers, are also reminiscent of the spider monkey’s branch clinging digits.
The Demiguise’s most distinct feature, its large, future-seeing eyes, are dead ringers for that of the Tarsier, a small, nocturnal monkey that lives in the holes of trees. Had you seen the tarsier’s large, brightly colored gaze peering at you from a rainforest tree, you might very well mistake it for the Demiguise’s all-seeing orbs.
NIFFLERS – platypus
The Nifflers obviously made an impression on Potterheads everywhere, since it appears in both the first and second Fantastic Beasts films.
This pocket-picking, adoring creature scuttles around looking for the next shiniest object to stuff in its neverending pouch reminiscent of Mary Poppins’s handbag. The duckbill, hairy body, and squatty bodies resemble the platypus, the only mammal to lay eggs.
This animal of land and sea is a true anomaly, cutting through the water with its webbed hands and paddle-shaped tail, it also has a poisonous barb waiting to strike. Despite its seemingly random traits, the platypus remains a fan favorite, and once you get past the whole poisonous barb thing, they can be quite cute.
No wonder the beloved Niffler took after it.
Zouwu – tiger and pheasant
The Zouwu, like the basilisk, actually exists outside of the Harry Potter universe.
Found in Chinese mythology, this large cat-like creature is said to have the head of a tiger and the tail of a pheasant, leaping across great distances. Although it acts like a cat in the movie, with its love of the feathery toy held by Newt, the Fantastic Beasts team seems to stay true to the original creature with its large fangs, imposing form, and feathery tail.
Whether the films truly did justice to the original legend isn’t my call, but regardless, the show-stopping creature definitely lit up our screens.
BILLYWIG – ORCHID BEE
This strangely adorable bug famously bit Kowalski, sending him into a fit of hallucinations. Yet, the Billywig bears a strong resemblance to a real-life insect.
(This comparison is courtesy of the World Land Trust because there’s no way I would’ve found it on my own.)
The iridescent exterior of the Billywig, compact form and flight ability resemble the beautiful orchid bee. The bee’s dazzling exoskeleton reflects light like polished silver, while its colors appear in otherworldly gradients of blue, green, purple, yellow, and orange.
This might be the only creature on this list whose real-life counterpart gives a run for their money.
featured images via HARRY POTTER WIKI, IMDB, ACCIO WIZARDS UNITE!