Lesson 7) The Invisible Tamatoa

Welcome back to class everyone! Can you believe we are already on the seventh lesson? Year 5 is nearing completion, but there is still much Professor Anne and I need to teach you. Today we will both be teaching you about two magical creatures. We also will be having a guest lesson from our very own Professor Proctor, so welcome her warmly. Let’s go ahead and jump right in.


The Brightest Thing That Glitters

The first creature I will be discussing with you today is the Fire Crab. If this creature sounds familiar to you, it is because you have previously been taught about about it in Defense Against the Dark Arts back in your first year. Are the memories starting to come back to you? If not, don’t worry, as we will have a thorough review.

 

The Fire Crab is a classified beast with an XXX rating, and it is only found in its native island of Fiji. These creatures are endangered and they live on a protected reservation on the coast, but we will expand on that later. If I told you that this magical creature resembled a crab, you would not be surprised. However, there are some big differences, as I’m sure you may have figured, and may recall. These large creatures have six crab-like legs and the head of a turtle. The skin is a dull grey, and the eyes are pitch black. But these are not the most distinguishable features! No, what really sets this creature apart from others (and I do mean that literally) is the shell.

 

The Fire Crab’s shell is coated in jewels. These jewels will vary from shell to shell; for example, some shells may be just sapphires! But most of the shells are a mixture of many different gems such as emeralds, rubies, sapphires, amethysts, and diamonds. Because of this, no two Fire Crabs are identical!

Fiery Characteristics

So where does the name “Fire Crab” come from? You already know that the beasts resemble crabs. But where does the fire come in? The answer is simple. They are named for they way they defend themselves, which is by shooting flames from their rear ends when they feel threatened. The range of the fire which they release can reach up to seven feet (about 2.1 meters).

 They can prove to be quite dangerous if you don’t know how to handle them. Though this may be unlikely, if you find yourself in Fiji facing a Fire Crab, there are precautions that you must follow. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, protective dragon hide gloves are preferable and highly recommended. But above all else, you must make sure you only face the front of the animal. You never want to find yourself behind a wild Fire Crab. They can be quite timid and nervous creatures, so as long as you aren’t a threat to them, they won’t harm you. I should warn you that if you harm a Fire Crab, you could be fined several 100 Galleons since they are on the list of endangered animals.

Endangerment in Paradise

There are methods that the Ministry of Magic use to protect endangered creatures such as Fire Crabs. The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures have put in place a protected reservation along a stretch of Fiji’s coast. There are magizoologists who work with the animals and keep track of their health and behavior for added protection against extinction. But what exactly caused Fire Crabs to become endangered? The answer to that is simple but horrific: poaching.

 Fire Crabs were hunted not only by Witches and Wizards, but by Muggles as well. The Muggles covet the shells simply for the stones and the wealth they would grant them. The Witches and Wizards consider the value of the gems, but that is not typically their first thought when hunting Fire Crabs. They actually prefer to take the shells and utilize them as cauldrons.

These shells make very useful cauldrons, believe it or not. Due to the hot nature of the Fire Crab, it stores heat in its body for the entirety of its life. Naturally, this internal heat affects the beast’s shell. When forcefully removed from the animal to use as a cauldron, the stored heat will reduce the brewing time of any potion you brew. It more or less creates a self heated cauldron. However, the heating function will not last for more than a few days depending on the animal’s age. So yes, the shell would be beneficial for you potioneers, but at what cost?

 

Fire Crab Age

Amount of Time Shell Will Stay Hot

<1 year

1 day

1-10 years

2 days

11-20 years

3 days

21-30 years

4 days

31-40 years

5 days

41-50 years

6 days

51-60 years

7 days


Poaching a Fire Crab for its home does far more damage to the animal than it benefits you. Their lives are precious and must be protected. A heated cauldron won’t last, and stealing the shell for monetary value is selfish. This is why the reservation in Fiji is in place.

Protected Pets

Though Fire Crabs are an endangered species, they can be domesticated and they can be kept as pets. In order to own a Fire Crab you must possess a special license issued by the Ministry of Magic. If you have a license and want to own a Fire Crab, it can be sold to you for a high price and exported to you from Fiji. Be warned, you can be fined for selling a Fire Crab to an individual without a license. Again, this is a several 100 Galleon fine.   

Since these creatures can live both on land and in the water, they do require a large saltwater tank (at least 500 gallons, or 1893 liters). We have discussed in previous years how it is possible to manipulate a tank to hold more water than it would appear, so this shouldn’t be an issue for a competent witch or wizard looking to own a Fire Crab. As for their diets, Fire Crabs are simple and low maintenance, and will just eat algae.

That’s all I have for you on Fire Crabs today! If you would please turn over your attention to Professor Anne, she will take it from here.


The Invisible Apes of the Far East

 Demiguises are large apes that reside in the Far East. To clarify, we define the Far East as Eastern China, Japan, and Korea, sometimes including Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Demiguises have silky hair, which grows very long, and large, black eyes. They are classified as XXXX Beasts by the Ministry of Magic,  and can only be spotted by trained witches and wizards due to their ability to become invisible. We will discuss this more later on in the lecture!

 Though Demiguises are classified as XXXX, they are considered very peaceful creatures. They are only classified as XXXX because of the difficulty in catching them. While some may associate them with Yetis, because of their ape-like appearance, they are herbivores, unlike the Yeti. For those of you that participated in the Prehistoric Creature Feature, you might remember another ape that was an herbivore: Gigantopithecus! For those that did not, Gigantopithecus was a species of giant ape that fed on bamboo, and went extinct due to climate change causing their food supply to run dangerously low. With this in mind, it is not considered strange that such a large creature, usually known in the Muggle world for eating meat, feeds on what some may call “bunny food.” Demiguises will feed on a variety of greens. They have a safety mechanism to identify poisonous plant: their ability to see the future.

 Another reason Demiguises are classified as XXXX is because of their ability to see immediate events of the future, which is commonly called precognitive sight. This, in combination with their invisibility, means it is extremely difficult to capture them. In order to catch a Demiguise, you have to do something completely unexpected, causing their precognitive sight to be wrong, and allowing you to have the upper hand in the situation. You also have to know how to look for them when they are invisible. Very few creatures have this skill, so it is smart to remember which have it when handling them. This skill also allows them to identify dangerous plants, animals, and situations because they can see what will happen should they consume or encounter such.

 Female Demiguises give birth to one child in their lifetime; male Demiguises will father as many offspring as possible. Demiguises reach sexual maturity at about fifteen years of age, with males often reaching it sooner than females. Because Demiguises live an average of 100 years, females will often wait until they are anywhere from 30 to 50 years old to have offspring. They have a nine month gestation period, resulting in an offspring that comes out of the womb invisible. The baby will be invisible for the first seven to ten days after birth. Demiguises can sense each other, so they will be able to find the baby.

As I mentioned earlier in the lesson, Demiguises can become invisible. Because of this, their pelts are highly sought after, causing the creatures to be victims of poaching- just like Golden Snidgets. This has caused Demiguises to stay invisible for much of their lives, only becoming visible at crucial times, like in times of stress or during mating season. To help keep poaching at bay, the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures tries to keep accurate population counts. Individuals must be trained to spot Demiguises, even when they are invisible. Training consists of learning to identify sudden and slight shifts in the air around you, allowing you to pinpoint where these shifts are coming from, and feel for the Demiguise. This training can take anywhere from four to eight weeks, though many elect to continue to training for longer because of the intense and extreme concentration it takes.

Now, I am sure this has crossed your minds by now: what happens when you catch a Demiguise? Usually, upon touch, a Demiguise will become visible. The startling realization of being found causes them to become visible. Now, should you manage to catch one and remove its hair, the hair will immediately become invisible. This is to try and prevent you from keeping the hair. If you can’t see it, you are sure to lose it, right? If you have ever seen a wand with a Demiguise hair for a core, when you open up the wand, you usually can’t see the core. However, their hair will grow more opaque over time, so eventually you will be able to see a glimmer of something.

Because of their ability to become invisible, Demiguises are used to symbolize the number zero in the runic alphabet. Take a look at the symbol below! Isn’t it just the cutest thing?

Their pelts are used to make Invisibility Cloaks, which is why so many people want their pelts. What one wouldn’t give to become invisible! However, the cloaks will lose their effect over time, as the Demiguise hairs will turn opaque. These cloaks are prefered to those charmed with different spells, like bedazzling hexes or disillusionment charms. Poaching of Demiguises for this purpose is looked down upon, though no formal legislation has been developed, and thus many manufacturers of invisibility cloaks will refuse to make them from Demiguise hair.

Their hair can also cause quite the commotion! When a tincture is made with their hair, and then exposed to pearl dust, an exothermic reaction takes place. Do recall, this means that it is releasing energy. In this case, it causes whatever material the two substances are on to burn. Demiguise hair can also be used as a wand core. This wand core is said to be in the wands of witches and wizards that possess a natural ability to catch them. It is one of the most recent wand cores to be accepted by the Society of and Intellectuals and Highbrows, or S.W.I.S.H. It is with my greatest pride that I share that I am credited with the discovery of this use for Demiguise hair. While on a raid in Asia, specifically a little mountain town in India, I discovered that young wizarding children, who had yet to receive wands due to their families economic status, would try and make their own from tree bark and Demiguise hair. The children were actually on extremely friendly terms with a Demiguise that dwelled on the outskirts of the village, so the Demiguise was not invisible as often. After observing this, I drafted a proposal to S.W.I.S.H. for Demiguise hair to be tested and accepted as a wand core officially.

I would like to digress for a moment to tell you a story related to the Demiguise. There once was a man named Phineas Fletcher. Mr. Fletcher thought it would be a great idea to attempt to smuggle a Demiguise to America on a ship. His plan was to manufacture invisibility cloaks using this illegally trafficked animal. Due to its powers of invisibility and precognitive sight, it escaped from Mr. Fletcher and made its way around the ship. It happened to come across a ghoul, who was living on the ship, and the two mated. Mr. Fletcher was never able to find his illegal Demiguise, but that is probably for the better of the creature. Upon the docking of the ship, the Demiguise made its way into the forests of Massachusetts, where they can still be found today. It gave birth to a half ghoul half Demiguise offspring, and thus the Hidebehind was born. Hidebehinds also have the power of invisibility. They are covered in hair similar to those from a Demiguise, have the appearance of a skinny bear. It has been noted to walk bipedal and is nocturnal. It does have a taste for human flesh, thus its XXXX and Beast rating by the Ministry of Magic, but it often feeds on small mammals. The Hidebehind is recognized as a Muggle cryptid creature.

I would now like to welcome Ms. Proctor, former Divination professor, to the Care of Magical Creatures hut today. She is going to discuss animal seers, or animals that have similar abilities to the Demiguises’.

Oh, thank you Professors Anne and Cattercorn for this wonderful opportunity to share some of the simply amazing creatures that have shared their divinatory skills with not only the magical, but also the Muggle world! Now, I understand that divination may not be of interest to many in this room, however creatures most certainly are. Over the many years of creature studies and interaction with the animal kingdom, magical and Muggle folk have  shared tales of creatures which seem to exhibit skills of divination, from fortune telling cephalopods to fuzzy groundhogs who have a certain affinity to the predict the weather! For the next few minutes, I will share with you some well documented instances of creatures who exhibited Seer skills, so please, make yourself comfortable and for those of you who doubt the relevance of divination, open up your mind to the possibilities …..

Punxsutawney Phil….the Weather predicting Groundhog

 This cute little fuzzy creature, a mundane animal known as a groundhog, is Punxsutawney Phil. Typically, groundhogs are unremarkable creatures, rather lazy and non-verbal. Dear Punxsutawney Phil, however, seems to be quite remarkable as his claim to fame within the Muggle town in which he inhabits is the ability to determine if the Winter will be ‘long’ or if the Spring will make an earlier than expected appearance.   How does this little lump of fuzz do this? Well, according to the carers for Punxsutawney Phil, he awakens early on the morning of the second of February, each and every year, to a large crowd gathered in the town square of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, USA, and what he ‘sees’ determines the fate of the season. Supposedly, Punxsutawney Phil has the ability to verbalise to a very select group of town representatives if he sees, or does not see, his shadow for if Phil sees his shadow, a few more weeks of wintery weather is in store, though if he does not see his shadow, Spring-like weather will be arriving soon.  Strangely, the carers of Punxsutawney Phil, known as the ‘Inner Circle’, are able to fluently speak the same language as Phil, a strange language known as Groundhogese.

A strange tradition, Punxsutawney Phil and his many, many relatives have been performing this feat of animal clairvoyance since 1887. Each and every year on the second of February. The Muggle population of Punxsutawney hold a celebration within the town centre which being at Phil’s home, a piece of land named ‘Gobbler’s Knob’. Once Phil’s carers announce the fate of the season, Phil is put back into his burrow and the festivities begin. Food, music and other festivities complete the tradition, which is widely known as “Groundhog Day’. Personally, I have not had much experience with talking mundane creatures, such as groundhogs,so I am unsure if Punxsutawney Phil has the ability to foresee a ‘long’ Winter or an ‘early’ Spring.Consider this, whomever is predicting the length of the season has a rather hit or miss accuracy, with the prediction being correct about 40 times over the last hundred years.

I do believe, however, that in the current crop of Phil carers there are a number of well known Seers, most notably Horace Obsidian-Rose and Archibald Howell; and it is in fact their vision that is being shared with the gathered Muggle crowd, allowing an increased accuracy over the tenure of their participation in the ‘Inner Circle’. Though, I do like to entertain the thought that dear Punxsutawney Phil is a Seer in animal form!

Muggle Sport…. and the critters that See it.

Now, let us move on to the wonders of Muggle sport! I see a few strange looks coming my way, but please, let me explain. Muggle sports are strange, strange events, but Professor Castillo assures me that gridiron, soccer and ice hockey are quite fun to play when blood is not spilled! Muggle spectators have a fondness for laying wagers, placing bets if you will, and gambling money and goods on the outcomes of certain Muggle sporting events. One such event would be the Football World Cup, where football (or soccer, if you prefer) national representative  teams compete against the teams of other nations for a large trophy. This event occurs every four years and of course, national pride is at stake! When each Cup tournament is approaching, Muggle media outlets, such as television and newspapers, often seek the services of ‘Seers’, though this term is used quite loosely as the ‘Seers’ used by Muggle media have less than stellar credentials!

But I digress. Now, these ‘Seers’ sometimes take the form of animals which are able to predict the winner of a specific match, or even the Cup tournament itself! One such example was the octopus known as Paul, who rose from obscurity to celebrity status during the 2010 Football World Cup. Paul was a typical octopus living in an aquarium in Germany during 2010 when his carers decided to place two containers of food in his tank, much like any other day. However, with a tournament match coming up, for a bit of fun they labelled the two containers with flags of the contenders: Germany and England.  Witnessing and documenting Paul’s actions in the moments that followed, the carers were surprised to see Paul select the food container labelled with the German flag. They were even more surprised with German went on to win the match later that night! With his Seer accuracy at 100%, the carers placed two new containers of food within Paul’s tank the next time Germany played football and of course, Paul selected Germany again. Of course Germany won, and Paul retained 100% accuracy. This continued on for the remainder of the tournament and ended with Germany finishing in third place overall. Paul’s accuracy, at the conclusion of the tournament, was 11 games correctly predicted out of a possible 14. Sadly, Paul died soon after the tournament though he opened up the door for many other animal Seers including Nelly the elephant, Flopsy the Kangaroo, Madame Shiva the guinea pig, and Big Head the Sea turtle. In each case, the creature is required to select a ‘winner’ between two possible contenders by responding to food housed in identical containers. Paul’s accuracy would lead me to believe he was in fact a Seer, whilst the accuracy of the other animal Seers is not as well documented.

And now I must be off, however if you are interested in the wonders of Clairvoyance and seeing the future, be it through the skills of an animal or even yourself, I would love to see you drop by the Divination Tower for our 501 class! They are focusing on Clairvoyance and Dream analysis for this year, and will be detailing further instances of animal clairvoyance in an upcoming lesson.

Thank you, Professors Anne and Cattercorn, for the invitation today, it was most enjoyable!

Thank you Ms. Proctor for such a fascinating guest lecture! With that, Professor Cattercorn and I shall end the lecture for today. You do have an essay to work on, and part of your year long project, for next class. Both Professor Cattercorn and I will be lecturing next week, on a creature we know you have all been anxious to study. Until then, good luck with your studies and continue learning!

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

Throughout this year, you will learn about ten different creatures, varying from XXX to XXXX in classification. You will learn about creatures that are owed respect, inspired iconic inventions, and have incredible uses in the wizarding world. Throughout the year, you will also be forced to consider animal welfare as we develop your year long project. In your final lesson, we will return to previous years, reviewing the creatures covered up to this point in your education, before you sit your O.W.L.s.

Professor and PA contact information can be found at the following link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c9P67EfSYtecxuspa2oZ-mT3Zi9SwYmHica-AD9BRtQ/edit?usp=sharing

Past Design Contests hosted by the CoMC Team can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CJ3vw-2m7fK5FbWly5yflVCsyJJUv5YR6NNAKm4ujp4/edit?usp=sharing
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