My friend at work proposed a question to me a few minutes ago:

If the witches and wizards cloaked themselves from Muggles with their spells and it's said that only witches and wizards can cast spells, how come magical creatures like ogres, dragons, unicorns, etc aren't witnessed by Muggles?

6 Answers 6


It is not that they cannot see them so much as any sightings are actively suppressed by both the Ministry of Magic and the muggle governments. The minister says as much when he visits after Harry saves Dudley and Hagrid alludes to it when he first picks up Harry. There is a whole section of the Ministry devoted to the suppression of magical activity amoung muggles.

  • 1
    Among other methods, they used charms which according to Rowling cause muggles who got too close to suddenly realize they left the gas on or something similar, even if it weren't true, consequently causing muggles to leave oblivious and without incident.
    – Neil
    Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 15:40
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    Yes, Muggle-repelling charms. They also Obliviate memories of seeing magical creatures, or magic itself. Certain types of magical creature encounters solve themselves; Humans meet giants all the time, "only their deaths are put down to mountaineering accidents".
    – KeithS
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 1:37
  • But wait -- I seem to recall that when Harry was "on trial" for misuse of magic, that the witness, who was a squib, couldn't describe the dementor with any accuracy, which means she didn't really see it... So some magical creates are invisible to the non-magical. Commented Dec 20, 2011 at 13:41
  • @SeanMcMillan - Dudley was able to see the dementors. I would suspect that the witness was put up to saying she saw something that she never saw.
    – Chad
    Commented Dec 20, 2011 at 13:49
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    @balancedmama It wasnot conclusively determined if Mrs Figgs could see the dementor or not. Mrs Figg claimed to have seen it, and described it accurately enough. Commented May 30, 2017 at 17:28

First of all, there is clear evidence that such creatures CAN be seen by muggles. To be more specific, if they were not seen, muggle folklore would not have dragons/unicorns etc.... The last one is actually corroborated in PS by Ron, when discussing the dragon that Hargid was raising - he explicitly mentions that dragon-raising is prohibited because otherwise it's hard to suppress Muggle sightings of them

Second, the reason why there are few sightings (few enough that wizarding authorities can contemporaneously suppress any of them by memory modifications) is:

  • Rarity. Most magical creatures seem to be as rare as wizards/witches.

  • Habitats. Unicorns for example seem to be living where most humans aren't around. Ditto for dragons/giants

  • Humans generally don't often see/notice animals these days. How many people around here have actually first hand witnessed, say, a wolf? (this is related to the first two bullet point)


The only magical creatures we see in the novels that Muggles are incapable of seeing are the Dementors and the Thestrals (most likely - we never see Muggles near them).

The Dementors are dark, evil creatures, the stuff of nightmares. They are the shadows under your bed and the things that go bump in the night. They are the cold chill on your spine when you awaken, screaming, from a nightmare. Muggles cannot see them, but they feel the effects well enough. Their invisibility to the mundane world is most likely part of their powers, like the soul-stealing 'kiss' and their happiness-draining aura.

Thestrals, on the other hand, have the magical ability to remain unseen unless the observer has witnessed and understood death, personally. We never see a Muggle who sees one, or who is in the position to do so, so we don't know if Muggles who've seen death can see them.

There are no other magical creatures in the series which Muggles can't see. It's mentioned that they CAN see giants, dragons, etc. Non-human creatures such as house elves and goblins have their own ways of going unseen, or of blending in.

Structures like Diagon Alley and Platform 9 3/4 are hidden by magic.

  • It is feasible Dementors could be seen by them, but it seems the beasts suck out light to aid in making themselves invisible when in Muggle areas (see Dudley Demented -chpt 1- in OP). Of note, in Care of Magical Beasts. . . Ministry regulations are stated to decree concealment charms be regularly placed on certain beasts owned by witches and wizards to avoid human detection. Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 4:07
  • @balancedmama: Sorry, but the books clearly state that Dementors can't be seen by Muggles. There's even a question (in Fudge's mind, at least) as to whether Squibs can see them or not (they can).
    – Jeff
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 17:01

Muggles can see some of them - but wizards work to hide those.

In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt states that while there are some creatures that Muggles don’t notice (because they have camouflage, avoid contact with Muggles or all humans, live where Muggles can’t reach, are small, fast, or look like mundane animals), there are many other creatures that would be noticed by Muggles, and are hidden from Muggle sight by wizards.

“Nevertheless there are still plenty of beasts that, whether willfully or inadvertently, remain conspicuous even to the Muggle eye, and it is these that create a significant amount of work for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Ever since they went into hiding themselves, wizards have worked to conceal the existence of magical creatures. They ensure the creatures that Muggles otherwise would see are hidden, and if a Muggle does happen to see one, they’d convince them they were mistaken or Obliviate them.


if you read about some of the creature, you notice alot of them dont seem to be natural but are rather created by wizards.....so you could suppose that either these creatures are all the product of a huge magic genetic experiment or that they have just grown so rare that virually no wild ones exsist and all that do are demestacated or live in unplottable area's


I believe the implication is that most magical creatures have the natural ability for glamour, the ability to change peoples perceptions of particular things.

  • Then why is the perception different for witches/wizards if the creatures could change perception like that? Wouldn't they then be able to hide from the magical world, too? Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 21:33
  • in most fantasy it is a simple thing for magic users to see through basic glamour, they just do it naturally. Normally the implication is that they are actually paying more attention so the world around them. Possibly because through magic they are more connected to it. Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 21:36
  • Do you have any of this stated in-universe of Harry Potter? Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 21:39
  • @Oghma: most likely not, but JK Rowling is active on a handful of (insanely) popular HP forums. She gives 'word of god' answers there regularly.
    – Jeff
    Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 5:06
  • Can you support your answer by citing any supporting evidence?
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 4:15

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