An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts - Phoenix; M.O.M. Classification: XXXX*

The phoenix is a magnificent, swan-sized, scarlet bird with a long golden tail, beak and talons. It nests on mountain peaks and is found in Egypt, India and China. The phoenix lives to an immense age as it can regenerate, bursting into flames when its body begins to fail and rising again from the ashes as a chick. The phoenix is a gentle creature that has never been known to kill and eats only herbs. It can disappear and reappear at will. Phoenix song is magical: it is reputed to increase the courage of the pure of heart and to strike fear into the hearts of the impure. Phoenix tears have powerful healing properties.

*The phoenix gains a XXXX rating not because it is aggressive, but because very few wizards have ever succeeded in domesticating it.


An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts - Werewolf; M.O.M. Classification: XXXXX*

The werewolf is found worldwide, though it is believed to have originated in northern Europe. Humans turn into werewolves only when bitten. There is no known cure, though recent developments in potion-making have to a great extent alleviated the worst symptoms. Once a month, at the full moon, the otherwise sane and normal wizard or Muggle afflicted transforms into a murderous beast. Almost uniquely among fantastic creatures, the werewolf actively seeks humans in preference to any other kind of prey.

*This classification refers, of course, to the werewolf in its transformed state. When there is no full moon, the werewolf is as harmless as any other human.


An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts - Basilisk (also known as the King of Serpents); M.O.M. Classification: XXXXX

The first recorded Basilisk was bred by Herpo the Foul, a Greek Dark wizard and Parselmouth, who discovered after much experimentation that a chicken egg hatched beneath a toad would produce a gigantic serpent possessed of extraordinarily dangerous powers. 
The Basilisk is a brilliant green serpent that may reach up to fifty feet in lenght. The male has a scarlet pluma upon its head. It has exceptionally venomous fangs but its most dangerous means of attack is the gaze of its large yellow eyes. Anyone looking directly into these will suffer instant death.
If the food source is sufficient (the Basilisk will eat all mammals and birds and most reptiles), the serpend may attain a very great age. Herpo the Foul’s Basilisk is believed to have liced for close on nine hundred years.
The creation of Basilisks has been illegal since medieval times, although the practice is easily concealed by simply removing the chicken egg from beneath the toad when the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures comes to call. However, since Basilisks are uncontrollable except by Parselmouths, they are as dangerous to most Dark wizards as to anybody else, and there have been no recorded sightings of Basilisks in Britain for at least four hundred years.


An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts - Merpeople (also known as Sirens, Selkies, Merrows); M.O.M. Classification: XXXX*

Merpeople exist throughout the world, though they vary in appearance almost as much as humans. Their habits and customs remain as mysterious as those of the centaur, though those wizards who have mastered the language of Mermish speak of highly organised communities varying in size according to habitat, and some have elaborately constructed dwellings. Like the centaurs, the merpeople have declined ‘being’ status in favour of a 'beast’ classification.
The oldest recorded merpeople were known as sirens (Greece) and it is in warmer waters that we find the beautiful mermaids so frequently depicted in Muggle literature and painting. The selkies of Scotland and the Merrows of Ireland are less beautiful, but they share that love of music which is common to all merpeople. 

*See classification footnote for centaur.


An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts - Centaur; M.O.M. Classification: XXXX*

The centaur has a human head, torso and arms joined to a horse’s body which may be any of several colours. Being intelligent and capable of speech, it should not strictly speaking be termed a beast, but by its own request it has been classified as such by the ministry of Magic.
The centaur is forest-dwelling. Centaurs are believed to have originated in Greece, though there are now centaur communities in many parts of Europe. Wizarding authorities in each of the countries where centaurs are found have allocated areas where the centaurs will not be troubled by Muggles; however, centaurs stand in little need of wizard protection having their own means of hiding from humans.
The ways of the centaur are shrouded in mystery. They are generally speaking as mistrustful of wizards as they are of Muggles and indeed seem to make little differentiation between us. They live in herds ranging in size from ten to fifty members. They are reputed to be well versed in magical healing, divination, archery and astronomy.

*The centaur is given an XXXX classification not because it is unduly aggressive, but because it should be treated with great respect.


An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts - Pixie; M.O.M. Classification: XXX

The pixie is mostly found in Cornwall, England. Electric blue in colour, up to eight inches in height and very mischievous, the pixie delights in tricks and practical jokes for all descriptions. Although wingless, it can fly and has been known to seize unwary humans by the ears and deposit them at the tops of tall trees and buildings. Pixies produce a high-pitched jabbering intelligible only to other pixes. They bear live young.


An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts - Unicorn; M.O.M. Classification: XXXX*

The unicorn is a beautiful beast found throughout the forests of northern Europe. It is a pure white, horned horse when fully grown, though the foals are initially golden and turn silver before achieving maturity. The unicorn’s horn, blood and hair all have highly magical properties.** It generally avoids human contact, is more likely to allow a witch to apporach it than a wizard, and is so fleet of foot that it is very difficult to capture.

*See classification footnote for centaur.
**The unicorn, like the fairy, has received an excellent Muggle press - in this case justified.