- "From Red Caps they moved on to Kappas, creepy water-dwellers that looked like scaly monkeys, with webbed hands itching to strangle unwitting waders in their ponds."
- —The D.A.D.A. curriculum, including Kappas.
The Kappa is a Japanese water demon. They are infamous for sneaking up on intruding humans and strangling them to death.
Professor Severus Snape introduced his third year class to Kappas in 1993, while he was substituting Professor Remus Lupin; this was the third creature they studied.
The next year, Professor Moody briefly mentioned Kappas on the list Professor Lupin left him of creatures the class, fourth years at that time, had already studied.
Kappas feed on the blood of humans, strangling anyone unlucky enough to wade into their ponds or rivers.
One can protect, and appease a Kappa by throwing a cucumber inscribed with that person's name; however, if they can trick it into bowing, the water in its head will spill out, weakening it.
They live in shallow water, mainly in Japan, though when substituting for Professor Lupin in 1993, Professor Snape asserted that they were more commonly found in Mongolia.
The Kappa resembles a scale-covered monkey with webbed hands and a water-filled depression atop its head. The water in this hollow is the source of the creature's strength.
Behind the scenes
"Kappa" is also Japanese for "cucumber". This ties in with the Japanese legend that a kappa can be appeased by a gift of a cucumber.
Notes and references