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The Real Life Insects That Inspired Fantastical Harry Potter Creatures

Between spells being cast, brooms flying about, and many magical and friendly creatures emerging throughout, the world of Harry Potter is filled to the brim with much to be fascinated by. For those as fascinated with these creatures as we are, you may be wondering if these creatures are inspired by real-life animals and insects. 

It turns out that the magical creatures in the novels and movies are actually based on real life creatures. From bowtruckles to Billywigs, each creature was inspired by an actual animal or insect here in the Muggle world. Our pest experts at Hulett are here to help you learn about all the equally as magical creatures that inspired those found in the world of Harry Potter. Continue reading to find out more and check out our other blogs for more information about pests and pest control. 

Harry Potter Creatures and Their Real-Life Counterparts

While it’s impossible to experience the magic that comes from the Hogwarts found in the books and movies, that doesn’t mean the real-life counterparts of the creatures found in the Wizarding World aren’t just as magical. The creatures and real-life counterparts we will cover in this blog include:

  • Bowtruckles and Leaf Insects
  • Billywigs and Orchid Bees
  • Nifflers and the Star-Nosed Mole
  • Real-Life Basilisks

To learn more about bugs and insects that may or may not exist in the world of Harry Potter, head over to our bug database

Bowtruckles and Leaf Insects

The bowtruckle is a small tree guardian that looks like a bunch of twigs patched together. They eat insects and are found primarily in western England and southern Germany where they protect trees that grow wand-quality wood. These wizarding world creatures are found primarily in the Fantastic Beasts series featuring magi-zoologist Newt Scamander. 

In the real world, we have our own insect that looks like a bunch of twigs, or what we like to call stick insects. While most of them are brown, their nymphs are actually a bright green color similar to the bowtruckles found in the Fantastic Beasts series. Some bowtruckles are specifically leaf mimics, which have a rather strong resemblance to true leaf insects. 

Billywigs and Orchid Bees

Orchid bee smelling a yellow flower for nectar

Another fantastical creature from the world of Harry Potter is the tiny Australian bug called a Billywig, and it flies so fast that non-magical humans (sometimes referred to as Muggles) can’t see them despite their brilliant colors. Their sting carries a powerful punch, with venom that causes at first giddiness and euphoria, followed by uncontrollable levitation. 

The real-world orchid bee, also called euglossine bees, was the inspiration for this creature. They are tiny bees that come in all shapes and colors such as blue, green, red, and gold. They only inhabit the Americas and have 200 different species. While their sting doesn’t cause any sort of magical reaction to occur, they can still perform some magic of their own as their metallic color is caused by layers of light-bending chitin.

Nifflers and the Star-Nosed Mole

In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the niffler seems to invite much chaos as it goes through the world searching for shiny objects to steal. These mole-like creatures appear to have the appearance of both an ant-eater and a platypus. While their appearance may be inspired by those two creatures, their affinity for stealing is much more closely related to the star-nosed mole.

The star-nosed mole’s heightened sense of touch due to its 22-fingered nose allows it to hunt and catch its prey quickly and efficiently. This makes them very lethal hunters as they search for food underground. Another similarity they have to niffler is their body shape and black fur. 

Real-Life Basilisks

Green basilisk sitting on branch in a river

Throughout Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the basilisk is one of the main antagonists wreaking havoc throughout Hogwarts. This massive serpent-like creature is known to petrify those who dare to look it straight in the eye and has a deadly, venomous bite. Basilisks, however, are not specific to the Harry Potter world and have been found throughout many European myths.

In real-life, basilisks do exist in some sense as the Corytophanidae reptile family consists of several iguana-like lizards known as basilisks. While these lizards aren’t massive in size like the one from the books, one species of basilisks, the Jesus Christ lizard, is known to run for short spurts across the water. 

In addition to these lizards, basilisks may also be somewhat inspired by the Titanoboa cerrejonensis which is an anaconda-like snake that was around 60 years ago in Colombia. This serpent is the biggest known snake measuring in at 42-feet- long and weighing 2,500 pounds. 

Eliminate the “Death Eaters” in Your Home with Hulett Pest Control

Magical or not, the emergence of pests is never a welcome sight in your home or office. At Hulett, we provide Florida pest control services to help you keep your home and office free of pests. Find ant control, mosquito control, termite control, and much more at Hulett. 

Contact us today to schedule your free initial inspection or to learn more Florida pest control services. You can also check out our bug database for more information on the pests and rodents we commonly run across.