- "[..] for aside from its deadly and venomous fangs, the Basilisk has a murderous stare, and all who are fixed with the beam of its eye shall suffer instant death. Spiders flee before "
- — Description of a Basilisk
It was a giant serpent bred by hatching a chicken egg under a toad. It was a Dark creature that had the power to cause petrification and kill anyone who looked into their eyes. It was a known wizard-killer but it could be controlled by a person who spoke Parseltongue. The breeding of a Basilisk was banned in medieval times and controlled by governments.
The Basilisk was a brilliant green serpent. It had thin sabre-looking, poisonous fangs and large yellow eyes. They grow up to 50 feet in length. The female Basilisk does not have a scarlet plume upon their heads.
A Basilisk was hatched by putting a chicken egg under a toad and it had a long lifespan, living up to a thousand years if given a good food supply. They fed by eating vertebrates including humans, very easily.
It's long lifespan was because it could be put into a kind of suspended animation using Parseltongue that prevented ageing. It shed it's skin in intervals and it was able to deflect spells, implying it had tough skin similar to a dragon.
They had the power to instantly kill anyone who looked into their eyes. If they saw their eyes through a reflection, they were Petrified. It spoke in Parseltongue. The crowing of a Rooster was fatal to a Basilisk. Spiders flee in the presence of a Basilisk. They fear Basilisks, and even an Acromantula wouldn't speak its name.
If you saw a Basilisk's eyes through the lens of a camera and a photograph was taken, it would completely melt the film. It was unable to kill a ghost because they were dead anyway, but they could be Petrified. A Mandrake Restorative Draught was capable of undoing any Petrification by a Basilisk. If a Basilisk's eyes are damaged, it was incapable of using it's gaze to hurt or kill.
Basilisk venom was found in their fangs. It was very poisonous and it was one of a few "foolproof" ways of destroying a Horcrux. It could kill in less than a minute, causing drowsiness and blurred vision and the only known cure was the tears of a phoenix. The venom stays potent for at least up to five years.
A Basilisk was dangerous to anyone who couldn't speak Parseltongue, and therefore it was very rare for anyone to breed such a creature because it was uncontrollable to nearly everyone.
Herpo the Foul was a Dark wizard who lived in ancient Greece. He spoke Parseltongue and experimented until he eventually worked out if he put a chicken egg under a toad, it would produce a Basilisk. Herpo the Foul's Basilisk was the first Basilisk ever recorded and it lived for nearly 900 years.
Basilisk breeding was banned in medieval times. Since the founding of the Ministry of Magic, any such breeding was watched for by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. However it was very easy to conceal because it was simple to take an egg from under a toad whenever anyone wanted to check.
Serpent of Slytherin
Salazar Slytherin hatched a Basilisk and put it in the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts School. It would answer to no-one but an Heir of Slytherin and it's purpose was to purge the school of Muggle-born students.
It was first unleashed nearly a thousand years later. It killed a student but Rubeus Hagrid and Aragog were thought to be responsible instead and Tom Riddle closed the Chamber of Secrets. In 1992 to 1993, it was unleashed again by Ginny Weasley who was possessed by Tom Riddle's Diary. Harry was the only person who was able to hear it. Mrs Norris saw it's reflection, and Colin Creevey saw it through the lens of a camera at the foot of the Hospital Wing stairs. It later added two new victims: Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington and Justin Finch-Fletchley.
In April, Hermione Granger and Penelope Clearwater saw it through a mirror. Hermione had researched in the Library and deduced it was a Basilisk. Harry and Ron later found a piece of paper in her hand about it and Harry deduced he was able to hear and understand it because it was speaking Parseltongue. In May, Harry killed it using the Sword of Gryffindor and closed the Chamber of Secrets forever.
The skeleton of the Basilisk continued to lie in the Chamber of Secrets for at least up to five years. In May 1998, Ron and Hermione found it and took it's fangs because the poison was still potent enough to be used to damage Horcruxes.
- It was known for being a wizard-bred creature, and since it was banned in medieval times because it was a dangerous creature, it probably fell under the Ban on Experimental Breeding.
- Igor Karkaoff once told a story about how a paranoid Mad-Eye thought a birthday present was a Basilisk egg and broke it into pieces, until he saw it was a carriage clock.
- In a version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, next to a piece about how the last recorded sighting of a Basilisk was four hundred years ago, Harry Potter wrote "that's what you think".
Notes and sources
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: An A-Z of Fantastic Beasts
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was first published in the wizarding world in 1927. A version was canonically published in the Muggle world in 2001 and then updated in 2017.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: About the Author
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 17
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001 version)