'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them': The Niffler
“Look something shiny!” That’s what’s going through the mind of a Niffler. The mischievous critter looks like a cross between a mole and a duck-billed platypus and loves anything that glitters. The Niffler will go after your jewelry and coins with burrowing and destructive ferocity. It’s treasures are stored in the pouch on its belly, which — like Hermione’s bag in the Harry Potter films — holds far more than seems possible. “One of the big inspirations was the honey badger,” Fantastic Beasts visual effects supervisor Christian Manz says. “We saw some great footage of a honey badger raiding somebody’s house with a completely insatiable desire to find food and nothing would get in its way.”
We’re told the sprig-like Bowtruckle can be difficult to spot in a natural environment, and that Newt has at least four of them: “The Bowtruckle eats only insects, and is a sweet and intensely shy creature, but extremely loyal, and it can be very handy to have around when there are locks to pick.” The Bowtruckle was also the toughest creature for the Beasts design team to crack, with 200 versions drawn until they decided on the final rendering. Star Eddie Redmayne says a Bowtuckle named Pickett is his favorite creature in the film. “Pickett has attachment issues, so Newt knows he shouldn’t have favorites, but like he loves Pickett to sit in his top pocket,” he says. “I felt for him quite badly.”
Here’s what we’re hearing on this one: “The Thunderbird is a large, regal avian creature native to the arid climate of Arizona. Its head is similar to that of an eagle or, in the wizarding world, a Hippogriff. Its multiple powerful wings shimmer with cloud-and sun-like patterns and their flapping can create storms. Thunderbirds can also sense danger. After rescuing a Thunderbird from traffickers in Egypt, Newt named him Frank and promised to return him to his natural habitat in Arizona.” Also, the Thunderbird is the sigil of one of the American wizarding school Ilvermorny’s student houses.
J.K. Rowling is a master at naming, well, pretty much everything, and this is one of our off-kilter favorite beast monikers: “Looks like a cross between a reptile and an extremely large butterfly, when at rest, the Swooping Evil lives in a green spiny cocoon. But when it spreads its colorful, spiked wings, it is strangely beautiful. It can be dangerous, as it is capable of sucking out brains, but, conversely, if properly diluted, its venom can be quite useful to erase bad memories.”
The Demiguise is “a primate-like creature that resembles a silver-haired orangutan with large, doleful black eyes. It has the remarkable ability to become invisible at will, and has precognitive sight, so the only way to catch it is to do something completely unpredictable. The Demiguise is fundamentally a peaceful beast, but it will give a rather nasty nip when provoked or feels threatened. Unfortunately for the Demiguise, its long, silky, silvery hair can be spun into Invisibility Cloaks, making its pelt highly valuable.”
This is the first semi-clear look at a very key creature who’s remained almost entirely obscured until now. “The Occamy is a plumed, two-legged, winged creature with a serpentine body, making it look like a cross between a dragon and a bird. It is hatched from eggs, the shells of which are made of the purest silver and worth a fortune. The Occamy is native to the Far East and India, and the size of its habitat matters a great deal, as the Occamy is choranaptyxic — meaning it will grow or shrink to fit available space.” Hmm, so what happens if you let one… outside?