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Welcome to Care of Magical Creatures! This is the second year of the course. You can find the first year of the course here. Below you can find links to an optional textbook, additional pages you may find of interest, and details about when and why the course was last updated. 

At this time, CoMC is taking PA applications. Interested applicants can apply here


The Care of Magical Creatures Companion Guide

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Many artistic depictions of creatures used in this course were created by the DeviantArt user maryquiZe. We recommend checking out her work!

Course Last Updated: October 2021 for Broken Image Fixes and Grammar Corrections

Announcements Last Updated: October 2021

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Lesson 1) Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

Welcome back to Care of Magical Creatures! I hope your break was relaxing and carefree, and that you didn’t have too many assignments to complete. I spent my summer expanding my Fwooper business, and now specialize in lime green and yellow Fwoopers, though my dear Fuchsia, a pink Fwooper, will be kept forever.  

Last year we learned about X and XX creatures, with one XXX creature to round off the year. This year, and next year, we will be exclusively learning about XXX creatures. They are the largest classification group, and are some of the most common creatures.

Please, bear with me, as I will try to get through these creatures as quickly and in the most interesting way possible, so we can get on to some of the more advanced creatures in later years. This year we will be covering thirteen of the XXX creatures, so be prepared to open your notebooks and take a lot of notes! I have paired the animals based on their classification so they are alike in some way.

Assignment-wise, the class will be changing. For example, expect more essays instead of weekly quizzes. There will still be quizzes, and flash assignments; however, I would like to have more interactive assignments, like the second part of your Year Two final exam. We will also start having a biweekly creature journal. More information on this will be included in the assignments for today’s lesson. We will also have creature observations. More information will be included when we start the observations. In regards to the final, I give you this note: having a favorite creature is not always a bad thing.

Today we are going to discuss Ashwinders and Billywigs, two peculiar creatures that I thought would make a fun first lesson! Both of these creatures are peculiar because they have extremely unique characteristics: one has interesting reproduction methods, whereas the other is one of the few magical creatures you can be allergic to!

Ashwinders: The Serpents "Born" From Fire

First, let’s discuss the Ashwinder. Ashwinders are thin, pale gray serpents that have glowing red eyes. They are between two and three feet long. They are found throughout the world and are “born” out of the flames of any magical fire that has been left unchecked for too long. They rise from the embers, and will slither to an abandoned corner, leaving a trail of ash behind them. Of course, “born” is a term used loosely. Ashwinders are not actually born out of flames. However, when the Ashwinder comes out of fire to lay its eggs, it is deemed an adult Ashwinder.

Ashwinder adults only live for one hour. In that one hour time span, they lay their eggs in any dark corner they can find. After laying the eggs, they will then collapse into dust. Ashwinders lay between ten to twenty eggs at a time. The eggs will glow a bright red, very similar to the color of their eyes, and give off an intense heat. If not found, they can burn entire houses down. Fortunately, Ashwinders are easy to track given the trail they leave behind, as the eggs must be dealt with in a timely fashion.

It is interesting to note that multiple Ashwinders will not live in the same house at one time. If the babies, called hatchlings, hatch in a house, the first one to hatch will stay in the house. The others will move to houses in the area, and start the process over again. Multiple Ashwinders can, however, come from the same source. Hatchlings will go to live in a fire and leave the fire to lay eggs within one month.

Please forgive me as I go off on a tangent for just a moment. I have been saying Ashwinders live in houses, which is true. However, an Ashwinder can technically live in any type of fire, like a campfire. The problem occurs when the babies appear: there usually aren’t any fires nearby for them to go into, causing them all to die. Ashwinders stay in populated environments for fire security, allowing them to continue to reproduce.

To continue our discussion of Ashwinder reproduction, Ashwinders are hermaphrodites, producing sperm and egg cells. While most hermaphroditic animals cannot self-fertilize, Ashwinders are one of the few that can. Ashwinders never have contact with another Ashwinder, besides when born. They are very anti-social creatures and hate to be seen. So much so that if a human sees an Ashwinder, their eyes will glow even brighter upon noticing, and they will erupt into dust, even if they haven’t laid any eggs.

Ashwinder eggs are used in several different love potions. It is important to track the Ashwinder and freeze the eggs with a Freezing Charm as soon as the parent collapses. If you do not track them, they will continue to reproduce, and the chance of your house burning down grows larger and larger. Additionally, if you do not freeze the eggs immediately, they will not be viable for potions use. The eggs can also be eaten whole, as a cure for ague, which is a type of fever. The eggs are very valuable and go for many Galleons in apothecaries. If you are lucky enough to freeze Ashwinder eggs, you can either sell them to shops or even to the black market for more money, though this is not recommended because it is illegal.

Ashwinders, while known for their eggs, are also known for their movement. They do not slither forward, like other snakes. They move like a type of snakes known as sidewinders and move sideways. This form of movement is called sidewinding. There are four other forms of locomotion snakes can have: serpentine, caterpillar, concertina, and slide-pushing.

Serpentine, also called undulatory locomotion or lateral undulation, is the most common form of movement. Another serpent we will study this year, the sea serpent, moves this way. Serpentine locomotion is when the snake contracts its muscles, starting at the neck, and pushes the body into curves, using resistance points on the ground (or in some cases in the water), like rocks, to push forward.

Caterpillar, also called rectilinear locomotion, is a very slow form of movement. While the snake is contracting the muscles into curves, these are smaller curves, and they move up and down, instead of side to side. This is not a very common form of motion.

Concertina is a method of movement used for climbing. The snake, using its ventral scales to grip onto the surface, bunches its body in the middle to spring forward.

Slide-pushing is what happens when a snake is startled and does not have time to find resistance points with the ground, such as with the serpentine motion. The body flails at irregular angles before finally adjusting to the surface.

Finally, we have sidewinding. Sidewinding is when the snake contracts its muscles very tightly so it can fling itself across a surface. This type of locomotion often occurs in sandy environments because there are no resistance points.

While mundane snakes do this because of their environment, Ashwinders do this to help prevent fires from erupting every place they move. Moving in a sideways fashion means the Ashwinder barely touches the ground, because of how quickly the movement is happening. This helps prevent fires from starting, as if an Ashwinder stays in one place for too long, the surface it’s resting on is likely to combust. This movement forces the body to be in an “s” shape, and the body only touches the ground at two points; the bends in the “s”. Because of this sideways movement, Ashwinders have very strong muscles, as they have to contract their muscles quickly to achieve this type of lateral movement.

Now, I am sure you are all wondering, how did a snake that comes out of fire develop? As many of you may know, magical snakes have been created several times in history. One prime example is the basilisk by Herpo the Foul. Herpo the Foul is also responsible for the creation of the Ashwinder. While experimenting with mundane snakes to make a basilisk, he accidentally made a snake whose eggs required an immense amount of heat. I believe he thought this would cause the snake to breathe fire, but that is certainly not the case. In seeing that the snake was not the ferocious beast he sought to create, he moved on to more experiments, leaving the Ashwinders to continue to reproduce and spread worldwide.

Billywigs: The Blue Stinger

Next, the Billywig! Billywigs are an insect native to Australia. They are very small, only about half an inch long, and are a vivid sapphire blue in color. Billywigs are very fast creatures and are rarely seen by Muggles and wizards alike until they’ve been stung.

Anatomically, the Billywig is a very amusing creature. The wings are located on the top of the Billywig’s head, and they rotate very fast, like on a Muggle helicopter. The bottom of the body consists of a long, thin stinger. The wings are attached to a radish-shaped body, which makes up ⅓ of the body. There are two sets of wings, so four wings in total. Their wings are translucent in color.

Those stung by the Billywig suffer from giddiness followed by levitation. It is seen as a sort of drug by some in the wizarding world, and said wizards will try to catch Billywigs and provoke them to sting. However, too many Billywig stings can result in uncontrollable hovering for several days. In rare cases, an allergic reaction can occur, causing permanent floating. Young Australian wizards take turns getting stung, to see who can withstand the most stings before levitating. No cases of death or other severe injuries have ever been reported. However, despite healers’ best efforts, the floating problem cannot be solved for those with allergies.

Allergies to Billywig stings can develop in two different ways. The first, and most common way, is when a wizard is stung too much and has since become more sensitive to the sting. The Muggles see this in the snake breeding industry. The more often a snake breeder is bitten, the more sensitive they become to the effects of the bite. The second, and least common, way is when someone is born with an allergy. This occurs if both parents are allergic. Let’s look at a Punnett Square to help picture this, using “bb” as the recessive gene for Billywig sting allergies.

  B b
B BB Bb
b Bb bb


“B” is a dominant gene and “b” is a recessive gene. To be allergic to Billywig stings, you have to have a “b” in your DNA for this particular gene. An individual that is “bb” is very allergic. Individuals that are heterozygous, or have both “B” and “b,” have a mild allergic reaction to being stung. An individual that is “BB” is not allergic to the stings. The “BB” version of the gene appears in 96% of the wizarding population. If someone that is “BB” has offspring with someone who is “bb,” their children will not be allergic, but will have a mild reaction, and are considered a carrier of the allergy gene. In the Muggle world, they are capable of passing on either trait. However, in the wizarding world, they will pass on traits as if they were “BB.” Someone who develops the allergy from multiple stings will pass the trait on, but their genetic code will not change, so they will still appear to be “BB.” This means that you can have one of two types of Billywig sting allergies: genetic or developed.

Dried Billywig stings are used in several different potions. It is also rumored that they are an ingredient in the popular sweet, Fizzing Whizbees. This has yet to be confirmed by the company, though most consider the rumor to be valid.

Collection of Billywig stings is very easy. The stings fall to the ground after completing their purpose. They are navy blue in color and are easily seen against the sandy landscape of Australia. There are two ways to go about collecting the stings: you can follow a Billywig around, if you can see it, and collect stings as they sting animals and people, or you can create a dummy human, made from foam or plants, that the Billywig will sting. You can then move in and collect the sting, and wait for the next Billywig to come along. It is best not to use a Summoning Charm to collect stings, unless you would like hundreds of stings to come hurtling at you.

Closing

Well, that ends today’s lesson! Didn’t I say these were peculiar creatures? It’s not every day you learn about a snake that reproduces in fire or an insect that people wish to get stung by to experience levitation. You have two assignments today: the first entry in your journal and a short essay. Good luck, and I will see you next week!


Lesson content written by Professor Elizabeth Anne

All pictures are found using the Google Images search engine, and belong to their owners.

In your second year of Care of Magical Creatures, we will explore and discover thirteen different creatures. These creatures range from pests to mythological creatures. A wide variety of creatures will be studied, from wizarding pets to demons. Different aspects of the creatures, like genetics and disease information will also be covered.
Course Prerequisites:
  • COMC-201

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