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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. 

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

Announcements Last Updated: October 2021

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Lesson 8) Shrinking Sacks and Ankle Biters

Shrinking Sacks and Ankle Biters

My, my! Today is the last official lesson of Year Three, as next week is just a review lesson before your final. Today we will be covering three creatures! These creatures are often overlooked in the wizarding world, however, they provide us with some things that have made our lives significantly easier.

Mokes: The Shrinking Lizards

The first creature we will study is the Moke. Mokes are ten inch long lizards that are silver-green in color. They are native to the British Isles.

Mokes easily evade Muggle notice because of their ability to shrink. It is like a superpower; it can shrink at will, becoming invisible to the naked eye. It is for this reason that their skin is used to make pouches. Mokeskin is a prized skin, because it will still shrink, even after death. Mokeskin purses and money bags are great gifts, as they are small, and only the owner of the pouch can open it. Enlargement charms allow you to put several items in the bags, despite their size. The pouch will also shrink if a stranger attempts to find it, keeping your belongings safe with two protective measures.

Now that my required advertisement is completed, let’s continue on! Mokes are omnivores, eating greens, insects, and very small mammals. Their insect of choice is the cricket, though some breeders will feed them pinkies, or baby rats, as additional sources of protein, or if the Moke is not responding well to crickets. Now, in Muggle pet stores you can buy “Crickets in a Can”. These are compressed crickets. Mokes will not eat these dead crickets; you must buy them live prey. They should get live food at least once a week, though twice is preferred. When you are not feeding them live food, they should be offered greens at least three times a week. You should provide a variety of greens; never feed only one green exclusively. Collared greens, watercress, spinach, and mustard greens are great greens to feed to your Moke. You can also feed romaine lettuce, but never iceberg lettuce! When providing greens, provide a few leaves of two or three kinds, to give your Moke variety. Never let them pick out one as a favorite. This is bad for their health due to the limits this places on the nutrients received. If you see they like once specifically, stop feeding that green. Below is a feeding schedule that my contacts have their Mokes on.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Crickets Greens None Pinkies/Crickets Greens None Greens

 

It is also important to provide enough water for your Moke. Because they are short in stature, you will need to provide a wide container with little depth for their water. It is rather fascinating to watch them drink, as they dart their tongue out very quickly to lap up water.

Mokes have a gestation period of forty-eight days long. They lay eggs, which are white in color.  They can breed at any time during the year, though most in the wild will only have two clutches per year. Their clutch, or litter size, is anywhere from four to fifteen hatchlings. The hatchlings should be removed from their mother, and started immediately on greens and crickets. Do not feed pinkies at this stage, as the hatchlings could choke. Pinkies can start being fed once they reach adult size, which depends on their diet, birth size, and genetics. Most hatchlings are born between ⅓-½ inches in size. They are incredibly small! Most will reach adult size in five to seven months, with a properly balanced diet, like the one shown above.

You will need to watch your hatchlings for several things. The first is drowning in their water dish. Most do not have this issue; however, a select few will actually try to bathe in their water dish, falling over from a wobbly stance. It is best to remove these as soon as possible, so the other hatchlings don’t start to experiment with a new food source. That brings us to our next item of business: cannibalism. Hatchlings, very few and far between, can start to perform acts of cannibalism on their fellow hatchlings. This ranges from biting to snapping off tails. If you find this is an issue, separate the offending hatchling. It is not genetic, thankfully, but you will need to break the hatchling of the habit by isolating it.

Now, let’s discuss their skin. You do not have to wait for the Moke to pass on to collect its skin. Healthy Mokes will shed every six to eight weeks during their youth -- between one to five years of age -- and every eight to twelve weeks after that. A Moke lives an average of ten years, so that allows you to get at least forty-five to fifty skins throughout their life. While not all Mokes will stick to this schedule, something is certainly wrong if your Moke is only shedding once or twice a year, or not at all. This could show there is a nutritional issue, as shedding means your Moke is growing. In young Mokes, one to two years of age, it has been seen for them to shed every four to six weeks, as they grow rapidly.

It is best to collect the skin as soon as you see they have shed. You can often tell they are about to shed, as parts of their scales will stick up, and they will appear to be a different color. Do not pull the skin off!! The new scales are still developing, and if they are exposed before they are ready, it could cause an infection. It is best to place a Freezing Charm on the old skin, to keep it stiff, so it won’t break, as it is very tender. The hydration will also help preserve the skin. You can then send it to the pouch maker you contract with if you don’t make the pouches yourself. Most breeders I know do make them themselves, however, each has a different method. Some use a Curing Charm, while others do it the Muggle way like a taxidermist. It is all up to you.  Generic Muggle cord, like paracord, is used to tie the bag, though some makers do use other items, like cured dragon heartstrings or unicorn hair. Each bag is a custom product, and these differences in the making process allow owners to identify who made their bag.

Dugbogs: The Logs of the Wizarding World

Let’s move on now to Dugbogs! Dugbogs are creatures that live in the marshes of Europe, North America, and South America. They are brown in color and resemble a piece of wood. Their eyes are brown to yellow in color. They are between twelve and eighteen inches long at maturity.

Dugbogs have finned paws and sharp teeth. Males have a spike on the end of their fins, while females do not. They are omnivores, feeding on small animals and plants. Their plant of choice is the Mandrake; we will cover that more later. Their animals of choice are usually fish, though frogs and water snakes and lizards can also be consumed if the Dugbog comes across them. Other plants they will eat include different seaweeds, weeds, and various water plants.

Dugbogs will also bite at the ankles of humans that are in their marshland. These bites need to be treated immediately, as their teeth are a haven for bacteria, and more often than not, Dugbog bites become infected. You can treat infected Dugbog bites with common Muggle ointment because the bacteria causing the infection is mundane.

In order to prevent Dugbog bites, it is important to move quickly. Dugbogs are very slow creatures, so moving quickly through the water will ensure they cannot latch onto your ankles. It takes a Dugbog a good thirty seconds to realize something is moving around them, and then another twenty to thirty seconds to actually sink their teeth into your ankle.

Dugbogs lay eggs. Their eggs are black in color, though sometimes they can be a dark green if the Dugbog has been eating more vegetation than protein. Dugbogs lay anywhere from ten to thirty eggs at a time, laying them only once a year. It takes thirty-six days exactly for Dugbog eggs to hatch. At the time of hatching, the hatchlings are about four inches long. The males do not have spikes on their fins at this time; they do not grow until the hatchlings reach adult size at about six months of age.

Hatchlings will stay with their mother until they reach adult size at about six months of age; the father takes no part in raising the young. Hatchlings only eat vegetation until they are about three months old, as their carnivore teeth don’t come in until that time. They start off with their molars, which are used to grind down vegetation.

After reaching adult size, the Dugbogs will leave their mother, and move off and claim a portion of the marshland around them as their homeland. Dugbogs will mate with the other Dugbogs around them, including relatives. This is why we can see mutations, such as abnormally small or large Dugbogs, females with spiked fins, and bright blue eyes. Dugbogs born with these mutations ultimately don’t make it to adulthood, due to internal issues caused by the mutations, such as multiple or missing organs.

I would now like to introduce your former Herbology professor, Ms. Tudor, to discuss the Dugbog’s favorite plant to eat, the Mandrake!

Guest Lecture: Mandrakes and Dugbogs

Ah, Dugbogs! How exciting. Unless you are growing Mandrakes (or mandragora) that is. Now, a good majority of us would loath to eat Mandrakes, but not our fair friends the Dugbogs. Their love of the taste is possibly because Mandrakes are to them a mix of animal and plant in their unripe stage. That is to say, there is blood pumping through the Mandrake until its screams cause death, or it is submerged in an Aquatandisu Potion. Though Mandrakes are not the only magical plant with blood, these types tend to be very rare. Plant blood tends to be either a dark mossy color or an earthy green; however, Mandrake blood is the same color as human blood. Mandrake blood contains many proteins and nutrients which are known to increase the pain tolerance of Dugbogs, although it appears to be poisonous to other species. It is unclear why, but Flesh-Eating Slugs have the ability to increase the appetizingness of Mandrakes. So if you are raising Mandrakes and have Flesh-Eating Slugs, expect a visit from the local Dugbogs.

As you will remember from Herbology class, Mandrake is used in sleeping potions, love potions, and in a potion to revive petrified persons. The last bit has not yet been found to relate to the Dugbog’s interest in Mandrakes, but the first two do! When the Dugbogs are stressed or restless, they may go and search out a Mandrake to chew on its leaves. This is known to calm the Dugbogs, and also allow them to get to sleep when their environment has been disturbed (such as when neighboring creatures have loud babies which are too well-protected to eat).

Ever heard the saying that a way to a witch’s heart is through a good meal? Well, in the case of Dugbogs the saying applies! Male Dugbogs are known to find Mandrakes for their chosen mate when it is time to procreate. There are many good reasons for this. First and foremost, the female Dugbog is going to be in a good mood after consuming its favorite treat. Secondly, the nutrients in the Mandrake are helpful in preparing the body of the Dugbog for reproduction, ensuring peak fertility. Finally, the baby Dugbog will receive enough nutrients from this meal to sustain their growth.

Perhaps the most interesting relation between that of Dugbogs and the Mandrake is one between the hunter and its prey. There are three main methods Dugbogs use to find Mandrakes. The first one is called the “follow the stomach” method, which entails a Dugbog moving about, here there and everywhere, until coming across a Mandrake. This is done in areas where Mandrakes grow easily, but also where the Dugbog has found a Mandrake before. The second method is called the “slug hunt” method. This method involves tracking the scent of Flesh-Eating Slugs (which is quite unpleasant if you are a human, but relatively good if you are a Dugbog). Flesh-Eating Slugs enjoy resting upon Mandrake plants, which gives the Mandrake a flavor that the Dugbog particularly likes. This is basically a bonus for the Dugbog, because then the Mandrake is both easy to find, as well as extra tasty. The third method is perhaps the least common nowadays; however, it used to be a very reliable method. It is called the “hangman” method, so named by a Muggleborn herbologist who enjoyed making other herbologists play the Muggle game hangman in order to discover her finds. We herbologists found this rather annoying and prefer not to discuss the finer details. Anyway, the “hangman” method consists of visiting all the places where Muggles have been hanged. In fact, as we grammatically correct herbologists like to note, it should be the “hanged man” method. Unfortunately, the witch who named the method first received a lot of press, giving attention to her lofty ways. Basically, everybody recognized the term “hangman” and started using it in books and no amount of herbologist intervention could undo the damage that had already been done. Hmm, I think I am getting off topic. Sometimes we still hold grudges eh? This happened right at the start of the Gardening Effect problems. When hangings were popular, this was an easy source of finding Mandrakes for the Dugbogs. It was also a problem for the Ministry of Magic when the Statute of Secrecy came into effect and led to wizards intervening in Muggle politics in order to try and control where men were hanged, and finally to stop the hanging of men altogether since it created such a fuss in the monitoring of Dugbog sightings by Muggles.

Closing

My, thank you Ms. Tudor! I hope everyone enjoyed that guest lecture, and I hope you learned something about Mandrakes today. I know I certainly did. That ends the final lesson of the year! Next time, we will review the material covered throughout the year, and you will take your final exam and submit your completed creature journal.

As always, please feel free to owl me with any questions you have, or with any suggestions you have for future years! This week there is a simple quiz, as I know you have many classes you need to review for.

I made a short “game” of sorts for you to play! Feel free to play it as many times as you like! It is a choose your own path sort of game, to help you test your knowledge of Dugbogs, and what to do during a Dugbog encounter. Check it out here!


Main lesson content written by Professor Elizabeth Anne

Guest lecture lesson content written by former Herbology professor Lily Tudor

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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