A Bowtruckle is a small magical insect-eating creature that resembles a plant and resides amidst trees and other greenery in the Harry Potter universe. Hand-sized and green, it is usually seen on trees and has an appearance of a stick figure with green leaf-like structures that make it easy to camouflage itself. It has two long and sharp fingers which resemble twigs on each hand and two brown eyes.
Bowtruckles use these long sharp fingers as a weapon when threatened by a foe. It also has a bark-like body and two leaves protruding out of its head. It is a very shy creature, and in the absence of enemies, keeps to itself. However, since it lives on trees, it does exhibit aggression toward anyone who tries to take down the tree and attempts to gouge out their eyes. There are several accounts of a woodcutter getting gouged eyes after trying to take down a Bowtruckle’s tree.
Bowtruckle – Magical Creature Profile
- Found in: Trees, Forests, Wilderness
- Color of Eyes: Brown
- Color of Skin: Green
- Mortality: Mortal
- Affiliated to: The tree it stays in
- Size: Adults can grow up to 8 inches
- Food: Insects
- Native regions: Southern Germany, Western England, Scandinavia
The word “bow” translates to “dwelling” in the Old Scottish dialect and “truckle” means the “limb of tree” in the Old English dialect. The term bowtruckle is also meant to indirectly mean something “that takes a subordinate position”. This term directly alludes to the bowtruckle being a magical beast that dwells on trees.
History and Facts about Bowtruckles
Bowtruckles have long been considered guardians of the tree they reside in, as they would attack anyone who tries to cut down the tree they are in. They were considered tree guardians, especially for trees that bore the wood of good wand quality. They were found mostly in Scandinavian forests, and in the forests of Western England and Southern Germany, especially the Black forest.
Any wizard or witch who wanted to take wood out of their home tree had to distract them with woodlice or fairy eggs. Their twig-like fingers served as a great way to both gouge an attacker’s eye as well as hunt for woodlice from their home trees. Bowtruckles are also known to easily escape charms and hexes, making them difficult to catch and defeat.
In Newt Scamander’s textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, there is a detailed description of bowtruckles in the Magical Creatures section. Interestingly, Newt Scamander has a close relationship with a large group of bowtruckles called a ‘branch’ that he befriended when he was at Hogwarts as is shown in the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Once befriended, Bowtruckles are very peaceful creatures. Even when they witness a wizard remove wand-wood, or woodcutters cutting pieces of wood from the trees they guard, there are times they aren’t offensive, especially when some apt distraction technique is used.
A lot of trees are specifically guarded by a branch of bowtruckles. One of the best examples is the Wiggentree, which is used to obtain a piece of Wiggentree bark, one of the essential ingredients for the Wiggenweld potion besides flobberworm mucus, used as an antidote for the draught of living death, something the Half-Blood Prince helped Harry master in his sixth year.
Bowtruckles were also studied in Hogwarts by the Fifth-Year Care of Magical Creatures students and Harry Potter took this class as well as is witnessed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This class was taught by Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank, the substitute professor who was teaching Care of Magical Creatures at that time instead of Hagrid, who used to teach this subject every school year since Harry’s third year.
A wide number of bowtruckles are also presumed to exist in the Forbidden Forest near Hogwarts and most likely dwell in their natural habitat, only interacting with wizards or witches when given an offering of woodlice.
Other Appearances of Bowtruckles in the Harry Potter Universe
Bowtruckles are mentioned in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix during the Care of Magical Creatures class. Harry’s bowtruckle escapes his grasp and he ends up having to finish the diagram of the bowtruckle as homework.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Hagrid’s hut is set to fire by the death eaters and it is found out that Hagrid was busy binding the legs of the bowtruckles which are now burnt.
The only mention of the bowtruckle in the Harry Potter movies happens in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 where Hagrid tells Harry that he was no bigger than a bowtruckle when he got him to Privet Drive sixteen years ago. In the PC videogame version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, bowtruckles appear as foes to the player represented by Harry Potter. By casting the Diffindo spell, the player can defeat the bowtruckle and gain a piece of Wiggentree bark. However, since not enough flobberworm mucus is available, the player’s balance is upset heavily for ingredients to make the Wiggenweld potion.
Similarly, in the Game Boy Advance version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, bowtruckles appear as enemies and are defeated only by casting the Confundus charm.
Bowtruckles and Bugs
Bowtruckles are very interesting creatures, perhaps one of the most interesting in the Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts universe as is exemplified by Pickett, one of the trusted sidekicks of Newt Scamander. Interestingly, when considered in the context of the real world, Bowtruckles would make very cost-effective and extremely efficient bugs for espionage in advanced circumstances. Unlike any bug encountered before, Bowtruckles could serve as specialized tactical bugs that are capable of several crucial tasks like lockpicking, pickpocketing, etc. Coupled with some recording device, they could be instructed by their trainer to do exactly what a mission might require in specialized circumstances.
What does a bowtruckle do?
A bowtruckle resides in a tree, often in a group called a ‘branch’ of bowtruckles, and is said to guard the tree against anyone who tries to hurt it. Usually, bowtruckles are very calm and shy and do not interact much with wizards or witches, but when their home tree is threatened, they can be vicious and sometimes even gouge the eyes of the attacker.
What is Newt’s bowtruckle name?
Newt’s bowtruckle is named Pickett. He has a branch of bowtruckles in his suitcase in the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but he is particularly close to this one bowtruckle called Pickett. He carries him around on his shirt and uses him sometimes to open locks.
Are bowtruckles nice?
Bowtruckles are usually nice and passive and are even shy to the point that they rarely interact with humans unless befriended. However, bowtruckles can be very dangerous if someone tries to harm their home tree, the tree that they reside in, and guard. They are said to gouge the eyes of the attacker with their long twig-like fingers.