Provided that the release of the basilisk created a lot of terror in Hogwarts, I was wondering why it was a big thing for Dumbledore type wizards to hunt and kill the subject.

Harry didn't know Avada Kedavra at that time, but could a basilisk be killed using Avada Kedavra?

  • I don't think this can be answered without any canon statement, tbh. We could think of an answer, but JKR could simply disagree because, well, she created the world. :) Apr 25, 2014 at 16:23
  • 1
    harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Basilisk This page mentions basilisk scales being capable of deflecting spells, but I don't have a canon source to verify this. I also don't know if this deflection would apply to AK. Nov 20, 2015 at 23:57

3 Answers 3


While there is not a canonical reference, it can be inferred that the killing curse would work on a basilisk. There are a few instances of it being used on both normal and fantastic animals.

These include

  • Spider - By Barty Crouch (posting as Alastor Moody)
  • Hedwig - By an unidentified Death Eater
  • Fox - By Bellatrix LeStrange
  • Fawkes - By Lord Voldemort (In the battle with Dumbledore)

It can be argued whether or not Hedwig counts as a fantastic creature as she was markedly more intelligent than "normal" owls, but Fawkes definitely counts as a fantastic creature and was affected by the spell.

  • 2
    @Simon - It's in the book Order of the Phoenix, Fawkes swallows a killing curse during the battle at the Ministry. I'll see if I can find the quote. Being a phoenix, he regenerates.
    – JohnP
    Apr 25, 2014 at 16:49
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    @Simon Don't forget that Fawkes is a Phoenix, so therefore could have been killed, then reborn in time to fly away after Dumbledore's funeral.
    – krillgar
    Apr 25, 2014 at 19:25
  • OK. Just making sure. That's one of those things that could be easily overlooked. ;)
    – krillgar
    Apr 25, 2014 at 19:35
  • Phonenix has the ability of reborn form their ashes and it will be described in the Chamber of Secret movie by the Dumbledore itself. Jun 3, 2014 at 9:31
  • The spell did not actually seem to kill Fawkes, just transform him back into a baby--the text says that after swallowing the spell meant for Dumbledore, he "burst into flame and fell to the floor, small, wrinkled, and flightless." Then a few paragraphs later it says "The hall was quite empty but for themselves, the sobbing Bellatrix still trapped under her statue, and the tiny baby Fawkes croaking feebly on the floor".
    – Hypnosifl
    Nov 20, 2015 at 23:25

It is not mentioned in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them whether or not the basilisk is resistant to spells.

I would imagine Avada Kedavra would kill a basilisk; the difficulty is in casting the spell without dying yourself. If it went hunting in the castle, the basilisk had a much better chance of killing as it had the element of surprise.

The support for my speculation comes from the fact that basilisks must have been killed before. I doubt every wizard happened to be able to stab it through the head. However you can also take it as another way as we only have two canon examples of basilisks:

  • Salazar Slytherin's which was killed by a sword to the head
  • Herpo the Foul's, about which all that we know is that it died at around the age of 900 or for quotes sake:

    Herpo the Foul's Basilisk is believed to have lived for close on nine hundred years.

All we know for certain is that Basilisks were created and were killed. We do not know by what means but one can theorize spells had to be used at some point, so it stands by that logic that a banned extremely powerful spell could have been used.

  • It could have just eaten someone that disagreed with it!
    – BoBTFish
    Apr 25, 2014 at 13:03
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    You wouldn't necessarily have to stab it through the head—just have a crowing rooster nearby (in which manner at least one basilisk must have been killed, since the book excerpt Hermione finds about them specifically says that the rooster’s crow is lethal to them). Apr 19, 2015 at 12:53

We do not know

Avada Kedavra certainly can affect both mundane animals, such as the spider that Barty Crouch Jr. used to demonstrate the spell, and some magical beasts, such as phoenixes (as demonstrated when Fawkes swallowed the curse meant for Dumbledore in Order of the Phoenix).

However, we have good reason to believe that Avada Kedavra is not a generic "kill anything" spell.

For example, the Lethifold is said to be vulnerable only to the Patronus Charm:

As Belby so dramatically reveals, the Patronus is the only spell known to repel the Lethifold. Since it generally attacks the sleeping, though, its victims rarely have a chance to use any magic against it.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Of course, given the infrequency of Lethifold attacks, and the unlikelihood that a potential victim will use any magic against the Lethifold, it is entirely possible that, as of the time of writing, no one had even tried to cast Avada Kedavra on such a creature.

What should really make us suspect that some creatures are immune to Avada Kedavra, though, is the Nudu.

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

Admittedly, the wording here is "subdued." But let's face it: if you are fighting a creature whose only purpose is to spread disease, and that can take on a hundred wizards without breaking a sweat, you probably are not shooting Stunning Spells. If it takes over one hundred (skilled!) wizards to kill it, it seems very unlikely that one wizard using the Avada Kedavra spell could do so. And it would certainly have been tried: there is no problem with using the Unforgivable Curses on non-humans (or at least non-sapient creatures).

Finally, of course, there is the fact that Quirrell opted to put Fluffy to sleep, rather than using a Killing Curse. True, he knocked out a troll later on, but that was a trivial task for him. He actually had to find a way of getting past Fluffy. This strongly suggests that Voldemort's usual go-to spell would not work.

Therefore, we should not assume that the Basilisk would be vulnerable to the Killing Curse.

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