We know that Newt has a Nundu:

The camera pans up to reveal another magnificent creature, the Nundu - looking almost exactly like a lion, it has a large mane that bursts forth when it roars.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (The Original Screenplay)

But we also know that Nundus are extremely hard to catch:

This East African beast is arguably the most dangerous in the world. A gigantic leopard that moves silently despite its size and whose breath causes disease virulent enough to eliminate entire villages, it has never yet been subdued by fewer than a hundred skilled wizards working together
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

So how did Newt manage to catch one? He usually doesn't work with others...

  • 2
    I am guessing magic.
    – Lexible
    Dec 28, 2018 at 22:17
  • 1
    @Lexible Based on the entry from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we might additionally guess a hundred wizards using magic!
    – jpmc26
    Dec 28, 2018 at 23:06
  • 1
    @jpmc26 - Most of the time he seems to use the magic of tilting his head slightly and smiling like discount-Hugh Grant.
    – Valorum
    Dec 28, 2018 at 23:14
  • 1
    He had a spare Pokeball, obviously :-). How else will he catch them all?
    – RDFozz
    Dec 30, 2018 at 4:14

1 Answer 1


Newt's entire schtick is that other wizards are morons when it comes to subduing and taming supposedly wild animals. It's pretty clear that if you go in all guns wands blazing against a creature as powerful as the Nundu that you're going to get your butt kicked unless you're mob-handed. On the other hand, if you take some time to understand the creature and use kindness rather than aggression, you're likely to see better results.

Although she's referring to the Zouwu (another supposedly untameable wild animal) in this interview, JKR's quote here seems relevant.

It really does takes a 'Newt Scamander' to contain and look after that beast

And we see from this excerpt from the Wonderbook: Book of Spells game that a Nundu (if taken off guard) can be put to sleep by a single wizard.

As to its supposedly murderous breath, you can see from the image below that Newt is able to walk within feet of the creature without dying. It may well be that this 'deadly breath' ability is either entirely apocryphal or some sort of defensive mechanism, in the same way that a dragon can breathe fire, but doesn't always breathe fire.

enter image description here

  • 7
    @Niffler - We see it roaring at Newt in the case and its breath seems to be very much non-lethal. Presumably it uses its lethal magical breath as a defence mechanism only when attacked, possibly in the same way that a skunk squirts a noxious fluid when it's scared. Since Newt wouldn't be dumb enough to attack it, he need not fear its breath
    – Valorum
    Dec 28, 2018 at 17:21
  • 3
    @Niffler - Also, in Wonderbook we see someone who lives with a Nundu. Admittedly it eats him, but its breath seems fine
    – Valorum
    Dec 28, 2018 at 17:47
  • 3
    This is absolutely the right answer! :) It might take a hundred skilled wizards to subdue a Nundu, but only one Newt to get a Nundu to like him and cooperate willingly! :)
    – Obsidia
    Dec 28, 2018 at 20:18
  • 1
    @Mr.DancingMan - Indeed, and yet we see that it doesn't. Newt walks right past it. Clearly the 'murder-breath' is in some way selective or everything inside the case would be dead already
    – Valorum
    Dec 29, 2018 at 0:31
  • 3
    @Mr.DancingMan - You might also want to note that the person who wrote that is none other than Newt himself, presumably wanting to discourage people from approaching this fearsome but otherwise innoccuous beastie
    – Valorum
    Dec 29, 2018 at 0:33

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