We know a Patronus can be a single, larger animal like a deer, wolf, or cat, but what if someone has a special affinity with ladybugs? Would the spell only summon one, or could they conjure a swarm? Does the size of the Patronus determine how many you get each time?

What are the numeric limits of a single Patronus Charm?

  • 4
    perhaps a ladybug the size of a deer, wolf, or cat? Mar 28, 2018 at 19:02
  • 2
    @MattGutting That was my plan B Mar 28, 2018 at 20:02
  • 3
    Certainly worth it just to see a Dementor being chased by a swarm of bees.
    – Misha R
    Mar 30, 2018 at 15:31
  • 1
    @MishaR Now think of the Dementor screaming "Not the bees!!" with Nicolas Cage's voice and it's even better.
    – Jenayah
    Jul 31, 2018 at 12:19

2 Answers 2


It seems like a Patronus is one animal - unless multiple are cast.

There is a witch mentioned in Wonderbook: Book of Spells with a ladybug as her Patronus, and it seems to be just one.

enter image description here

Also, the Pottermore writing on the Patronus Charm refers to a wizard with a mouse Patronus, which seemed to be singular as well.

Never forget, though, that one of the most famous Patronuses of all time was a lowly mouse, which belonged to a legendary young wizard called Illyius, who used it to hold off an attack from an army of Dementors single-handedly.
- The Patronus Charm (Pottermore)

In addition, on the Pottermore quiz on finding your Patronus, even the smallest creatures (like the dragonfly, which is also an insect, or the field mouse) are shown as one creature when cast on the website.

enter image description here

The size of the animal doesn’t seem to determine how many of it would be summoned by a single Patronus Charm. While it’s never specifically stated that the Patronus created by casting a single Patronus Charm is always one animal, all the evidence seems to indicate that it would be.

The only instance of more than one Patronus seems intentional.

McGonagall is the only one who’s ever shown to have cast more than one Patronus at the same time, but it seems highly unlikely that her Patronus is by default three cats. At the time she cast the three Patronuses, she wanted to alert her fellow Heads of House - three people in all.

'We must alert the other Heads of House. You’d better put that Cloak back on.’

She marched towards the door, and as she did so she raised her wand. From the tip burst three silver cats with spectacle markings around their eyes. The Patronuses ran sleekly ahead, filling the spiral staircase with silvery lights, as Professor McGonagall, Harry and Luna hurried back down.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)

She used nonverbal magic, so we don’t see how many times she used the incantation - we can’t simply count how many times she cast it. However, since the number of Patronus cats she cast matches the number of messengers she needed, it seems far more likely that the reason she produced three cats on that occasion is because she needed one to send to each Head of House, rather than her Patronus always being three cats.

  • 9
    Imagine going through the whole Patronus test rigmarole, only to be told… “Congratulations! Your Patronus is a gnat!” Mar 29, 2018 at 0:32
  • FWIW I'm pretty sure the story of the mouse Patronus is in the Tales of Beedle the Bard (though I can't recall which tale - I read it too many years ago although if I were to go open it I could easily find it I just can't remember the name). As for retaking the Patronus test I find that interesting - didn't think it was possible. Oddly enough when I took it some significant changes had recently happened in my life and I think that even a year or two before it'd be very different. In any case pheasants do seem to have some magic though can't recall what nor do I know the Pm significance.
    – Pryftan
    Mar 29, 2018 at 1:16
  • @Bellatrix Iirc the Dark wizard was jealous of the Mouse Patronus and tried to conjure his own and he was devoured by ... was it maggots? But then as your dear Lord notes you wouldn't need them in the first place. Well.. if you could give them others anyway; perhaps you would have made use of it in Azkaban but then again maybe it helped refine you to have those foul creatures by you for so many years? Unsure on the other creature that Patronuses work on (starts with a L and sort of have the spelling but not quite) but at least those in UK left the MoM for Voldemort..
    – Pryftan
    Mar 29, 2018 at 1:19
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    @Pryftan Thanks, I just checked Tales of Beedle the Bard - it’s not in there but it’s also in Wonderbook: Book of Spells. Yes, the Dark wizard in that story was eaten by maggots - perhaps not worth the risk, even to use in Azkaban enduring the Dementors. Patronuses also work on Lethifolds, I’m fairly sure that’s the creature you’re thinking of - fortunately it’s only found in tropical climates. It’s not possible to retake the Patronus test unless you delete your account and create a new one, since I’d never paid for any books I could easily replace my account. It was an interesting experiment!
    – Obsidia
    Mar 29, 2018 at 1:25
  • @Bellatrix Indeed that's the creature and indeed only in tropical climates. I was certain there is a story though about that Patronus in Tales of Beedle the Bard. If I were to check my physical copy I could find it in seconds but I might have a digital copy which depending on format I might also be able to find. I could of course be conflating Pm. and the tales though. It has been a very long time and I've seen the quote from Pm. more than once since that time. Oddly enough I don't see the reference to the Lethifolds and I was pretty sure they were there so I don't know now.
    – Pryftan
    Mar 29, 2018 at 1:28

In Deathly Hallows, Professor McGonagall appears to cast three Patronuses at once to send messages:

[McGonagall] marched towards the door, and as she did so she raised her wand. From the tip burst three silver cats with spectacle markings around their eyes. The Patronuses ran sleekly ahead, filling the spiral staircase with silvery lights, as Professor McGonagall, Harry and Luna hurried back down.

I think this is the only time we see someone cast multiple Patronuses at once.

I guess it's worth noting that we do know of one person whose Patronus was a ladybug (British English: "ladybird"): Symposia Rawle.

  • 2
    Wich i could reward knowing and remembering about Symposia Rawle with an additional upvote. Awesome!
    – straycat
    Mar 28, 2018 at 19:23
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    I was thinking more of having to cast only once and that summons multiple by default. I think we can assume McGonagall doesn't normally have three cats as her Patronus and combined the spells into one swing. Mar 28, 2018 at 20:06
  • I've edited the question to clarify Mar 28, 2018 at 20:08
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    @DCOPTimDowd You specify the word default but you didn't say that in the question? It seems to me that a corporal Patronus can be more than one but only if the witch/wizard desires it (and is skilled enough). Then again the same goes for the communication technique of Patronuses that Dumbledore invented - doesn't have to be used but can.
    – Pryftan
    Mar 29, 2018 at 1:21
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    @Pryftan "Would the spell only summon one, or could they conjure a swarm" -- emphasis mine. That reads to me like "would casting the spell a single time summon multiple, or only a single creature".
    – anon
    Mar 29, 2018 at 23:40

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