The Burrow: My Special Little Amphibian

by Rachael

What’s important in a familiar? To different people, it may vary. Some may want a pet that’d make a good conversation piece, others one that’s extremely beautiful or cute. For me, I know I want a pet who can easily go wherever I go and can also prove to be of some use. One such pet which I’ve had in mind for a while is the mythical salamander. The main reasons for choosing this animal is that it’s easy to transport and help me in my days of magic school.

The salamander, at least the one I have in mind, is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. Thus, I don’t have to part from it during classes. You can’t say the same for the cat or owl. The toad is debatable, but after seeing Neville, I don’t want to take my chances. Also, the salamander would most likely stay clung to me and wouldn’t/couldn’t hop away. Being with my familiar for most of the day is just something I’d like, especially considering the properties of the salamander, and it may not be important to others. But, when you’re in a magical world where fires are abundant and you live in a school of not fully trained wizards, I’d like a fire extinguisher at the ready.

It doesn’t carry letters, it doesn’t sing, and it can’t fly, but it can withstand and put out fire. To me, its usefulness is clear. I can just see my little salamander putting out an out of control fire in potions or basking in a controlled fire like a sun bath. That’s a good thing, since according to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, salamanders can survive only about six hours out of a fire if fed pepper regularly. With potions, that’s one less period to feed it pepper. Also, the six hour limit doesn’t bother me because it can always sleep in the fire of the common room while I do homework, stay in the great hall’s fire during meals, and at night I’d put it in a jar of flame similar to the one that Hermione conjured up in PS/SS. Another thing that it might help me with, assuming that we can communicate like Harry can to Hewig, is to let me know how hot a fire is: a thermometer!

The salamander does look cool with its outstanding red, blue, or white color, but it is its other traits that makes me want to call it “my special little amphibian.” It’s more useful than a toad and is more portable than a cat or owl. Call me crazy for wanting an animal that has a M.O.M rating of XXX, but at least I wont have to worry about its fur or feathers catching on fire.