Study Guide

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Strengths and Skills

By J.K. Rowling

Strengths and Skills

Mutant And Proud

We're back to talking to our favorite bearded Beagle lover, Charles Darwin and his love of mutation.

No: not the brilliant pupils in Charles Xavier's Westchester school, or even a certain group of pizza-loving turtles. We're talking about the beneficial mutations that occur within evolution—and help out the species in a big way.

Let's take the giraffe (which is definitely the animal that most looks like it benefitted from some superpower-giving mutations). Once upon a time, a mutation allowed the giraffe's neck to become a little longer, which allowed that giraffe to get at some tasty treetop leafs, which gave it a nutritional boost, which meant that all the lady giraffes wanted to have little giraffe-lings with it.

Fast-forward a few millennia, and hey presto: giraffes have long necks (and creepy purple tongues, but we won't go there.)

Magical creatures are kind of the same—they've developed different strengths and skills to protect themselves over the years. And these strengths and skills are, unsurprisingly, way cooler than "Hey, I'm a giraffe. I have a neck the length of a ladder."

Here are just a few of our favorites:

  • Demiguises can become invisible at will (12.1). 
  • Diricawls can vanish into a puff of feathers and then reappear somewhere else. (12.3).
  • Fire crabs can shoot flames out of their butts to defend themselves (14.4).
  • Graphorns have large horns and thick hides that repel almost all spells (15.4).
  • Lethifolds can disguise themselves as black cloaks or shadows (20.2).
  • Mackled Malaclaw bites will make you unlucky for a week (21.1)
  • Mokes can shrink whenever they feel threatened (21.6).
  • Tebos can become invisible and are very hard to track (28.1).

These creatures just don't do random tricks or perform magic just for the fun of it.

These are special defense mechanisms that these little guys have probably built up over thousands of years of evolution. In fact, it's these awesome skills that make these magical creatures so desirable. Who wouldn't want a mokeskin purse that could shrink every time a thief tried to get his grubby hands on it?

Sigh. We really wish Charles Darwin could have spend some time studying the fire crabs of Fiji instead of those finches on the Galápagos Islands.