Acromantulas are giant magical creatures known to exist in Borneo’s deep and dense forests. They are known to exist since 1794 as this was the year they were first spotted. They, therefore, existed before the Ministry of Magic’s regulation for Ban on Experimental Breeding which was placed in the year 1965. They were originally found only in the dense jungles of Borneo, and in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. They were used by wizards and witches as protectors of treasure hoards.
But after Rubeus Hagrid met a traveler and brought one of the Acromantula back into the castle at Hogwarts, they eventually became inhabitants of Hogwarts, and then the Forbidden Forest. Acromantulas are one of the species that appear in the textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, written by Newt Scamander.
Acromantula – Magical Beast Profile
Colour of Hair: Black
Colour of Eye: Black, white in case of blindness (like Aragog)
Place of Origin: Borneo
Size of Average Adult: Up to 15 feet, greater in the case of some female mantula.
Related Species: Spiders
Special Attributes: Capable of human speech, cannibalistic.
Distinctive features: Eight eyes, Eight legs, Thick black hair, similar to spiders.
The term Acromantula comes from the greek “acros” meaning “peak” or “prime” and “mantula” which is closely related to the “Tarantula”.
History and Facts about Acromantulas
Acromantulas grew up to the size of a carthorse on average, but older and female specimens would end up growing as big as 15 feet, sometimes even more. Furthermore, their leg span too would range from ten feet to fifteen feet depending on their being male or female. They had very large pincers which made a distinctive clicking sound used for feeding. This clicking sound was shown to great effect in the movies and Ron Weasley was deeply disturbed by this as his greatest fear is spiders.
Acromantula, despite being wizard-bred species, fall under the category of Class A non-tradeable goods. They are considered social animals as they mostly live in dwellings that are occupied by a large Acromantula colony, usually governed by the oldest male member amongst them. Acromantulas are known to eat large prey without hesitation.
Acromantulas are also known for their poisonous secretion of a toxic venom which is very valuable and goes up to hundred galleons a pint in some markets of the wizarding world. Acromantula eggs too are considered quite valuable in restricted markets, are the size of beach balls, and are laid by female acromantulas, around a hundred at a time.
First Appearance in the Harry Potter Series
Acromantulas first appear in the Harry Potter book series when Harry, Ron, and Hermione come across the petrified body of Mrs Norris, Mr Filch’s cat, in the corridor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They see a group of Acromantula leaving the scene. It is later found out that since the mantula fear the Basilisk, which happens to be of Slytherin’s Chamber of Secrets, they flee the scene whenever a Basilisk has been spotted.
This continues to happen after several Basilisk attacks as Harry observes. Harry also sees an Acromantula called Aragog in the sequence that takes place in Tom Riddle’s diary and mistakes it to be the beast in the Chamber of Secrets. Finally, when Hagrid is taken by the Minister of Magic to Azkaban, he shouts aloud for Harry and Ron hiding under the Invisibility Cloak to hear, that anybody who is looking for answers should just follow the spiders.
Harry and Ron take Hagrid’s word and follow the spiders deep into the Forbidden Forest to eventually find a cave inside which they come across a monstrous eight-eyed spider who talks to them. He claims to be Aragog, the same tarantula-like spider when he escaped Hogwarts Castle after Tom Riddle caught Hagrid hiding it in the castle. He eventually answers Harry’s doubts about the Chamber of Secrets and claims that it was opened 50 years ago. He also admits that the creature in the chamber is a Basilisk, which is feared by all Acromantulas.
However, when Harry and Ron decide to leave, Aragog disagrees. Aragog’s offspring, several thousand in number surround Harry and Ron and take an aggressive stance to pounce on them. Luckily Ron’s flying Ford Anglia suddenly comes to their rescue and takes them safely away from the spiders.
Other Appearances in the Series
The story of Aragog is eventually revealed in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Hagrid did not open the chamber but was trying to protect Aragog. Aragog went on to live in the Forbidden Forest at a young age, and with his wife Mosag, populated the forest with a colony of Acromantulas.
An Acromantula is also used inside the maze in the third task of the Triwizard cup. Harry and Cedric both face it bravely and use some strong spells to neutralize it.
The death of Aragog takes place on the same day as Harry drinking the Felix Felicis potion. Harry is coaxed by Dumbledore to get him the memory of Horace Slughorn’s conversation with Lord Voldemort, and Harry uses the luck potion to great effect, by inviting Slughorn to Hagrid’s hut. Slughorn eventually collects Acromantula venom from Aragog’s corpse as he claims it is highly valuable, and Hagrid and Slughorn drink on Aragog’s remembrance and finally, Slughorn yields and handles Harry the actual memory he was looking for.
Finally, Acromantulas are also seen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the Death Eaters try to destroy the Acromantula colony but Hagrid tries to save Aragog’s offspring from the destruction.
One of the most interesting features of the Harry Potter series is its continuity and semblances with the real world. Just like the age-old tradition of collecting venom from poisonous creatures to make antidotes and other medicines, the magical world has the same practice in effect.
Since Acromantula venom is very rare, it is priced at around a hundred galleons per pint in some seedy markets. This is very similar in effect to several snake venoms that are sold in black markets across the world for a hefty price. These venoms like the Acromantula venom, are used to make antidotes and medicines which are very valuable and rare too.
What is Acromantula venom used for?
Acromantula venom was very valuable. Since it was very difficult to obtain it from a live Acromantula because of its predatory nature, its venom was very rare to obtain. It, therefore, was valued at hundred galleons per pint in most open markets. It was used extensively for several applications, the most important being usage in potions. It was a major ingredient in the Armadillo Bile Mixture.
What is the lifespan of an Acromantula?
Acromantulas are said to live for several decades, with some old and strong specimens living up to sixty years. For instance, Aragog, the Acromantula who was a friend of Hagrid, who was born around 1942, lived till 1997 and therefore lived around 55 years and died on the day that Harry drank the liquid luck potion.
Is Acromantula real?
No, Acromantulas do not exist outside the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Acromantulas are similar to spiders in many ways, but since they are magical creatures with the ability to speak like humans and grow to huge sizes, they are very different from spiders and cannot be found in the real world.
Did Aragog come from Newt Scamander?
Aragog claimed to have come from a distant land in the hands of a traveler, whose identity Aragog never mentions. We know for a fact that Hagrid then took Aragog as his pet and hid him in the Hogwarts castle. Since Newt Scamander had a vast collection of magical beasts in his possession, it is possible that Newt was the traveler that Aragog refers to.