What You Never Noticed About The Animals In Harry Potter's World

Just like many muggles, witches and wizards in Harry Potter love animals. The four Hogwarts houses are represented by different animal mascots, the postal service runs on owl power, the transport to and from the Hogwarts Express relies on thestrals, and Hogwarts students are allowed to bring an owl, cat, or toad as an emotional support companion. (Somehow Ron manages to sneak in a rat, a move that has disastrous repercussions for the Wizarding World.)

Hagrid is the series' most famous animal lover, caring for Fluffy, Norbert, Buckbeak, Aragog and, of course, Fang. It's one of the reasons why he's one of the Harry Potter characters who need to appear in Fantastic Beasts: The new franchise is all about magical creatures and where to find them.

One of the reasons the books and movies are still being talked about more than two decades since we first entered Hogwarts is because there's always more detail to discover. In addition to the Easter eggs in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — and Fantastic Beasts details that only adults notice — you might have missed some strange details about those animal companions that appear throughout the Harry Potter world.

Can witches and wizards talk to animals?

Just when you thought you couldn't get more jealous of the witches and wizards in Harry Potter — the apparating! Quidditch! The robes! — you realize that they also get to have an especially cool relationship with animals.

Reddit user throwitway22334 pointed out that since Parseltongues can speak to snakes, maybe some witches and wizards can speak to other animals. Whether there's a specific language (like Parseltongue) is unclear, but there's definitely evidence that witches and wizards can communicate more effectively with animals than most muggles can.

For example, as Powerful_Artist pointed out on the Reddit thread, Dumbledore gives orders to his phoenix Fawkes, who also understands how to save Harry with his tears in Chamber of Secrets. And all of the witches and wizards are able to get owls to deliver their mail. Carrier pigeons are a thing in our boring old world, yes — but carrier owls? Hedwig even sacrifices herself to save Harry, suggesting a closer-than-average human-owl bond.

Even people who grew up in magical families but don't have powers themselves (referred to derogatively as "squibs") seem to be able to form close connections with animals. For example, Hogwarts caretaker Filch has an almost telepathic link to his cat Mrs. Norris, and as NoxWild says on Reddit, Arabella Figg sends her cat Mr. Tibbles to make sure Mundungus Fletcher is properly guarding Harry — and he reports back to her when the wizard slips off. Plus, Hagrid has a close bond with Fang, his enormous boarhound, who is emotionally intelligent enough to offer consolatory licks, even if he is a bloody coward.

Are the animals in Harry Potter more than they appear?

The other explanation as to why the witches and wizards in Harry Potter are able to communicate with their animals so well is that the animals themselves — not the humans — have some special talents. For example, Fawkes, as a phoenix, is exceptionally loyal and ready to fly to the aid of an ally in trouble. So perhaps it's not that Dumbledore has an affinity with phoenixes, so much as phoenixes naturally form close bonds with the noble humans looking after them.

Obviously, some of the animals in the series are not actually animals at all. Animagi are wizards or witches who have learned how to transform themselves into animals. While in animal form, they can talk to other animals. As EquivalentInflation points out on Reddit, Peter Pettigrew a.k.a. Wormtail talked to other rats to figure out where Voldemort was. There are also maledictuses, who are cursed to slowly turn into beasts: Nagini, Voldemort's snake companion, is actually a maledictus.

Even some animals aren't the animals that they first appear to be. For example, J.K. Rowling has confirmed that Hermione's large, grumpy orange cat Crookshanks is half-Kneazle. Kneazles look like regular cats and can breed with them, but are highly intelligent, and good at sussing out shady people — hence Crookshanks' intense dislike of Scabbers-Pettigrew. Mrs. Norris and Mr. Tibbles are probably also part-Kneazle. So don't take it personally if you can't convince your own cat to go hunting out troublemakers with you: It's not that you're a muggle, it's that they aren't a Kneazle. Probably.