"Snape stepped forward, waved his wand, and the snake vanished in a small puff of black smoke."

Vipera Evanesca is the incantation for the spell that, when cast, causes a target Snake to vanish in a puff of black smoke. As such, it can be used as a counter-spell for spells that produce serpents, such as Serpensortia or the Fire to snake spell, annihilating the conjured or transfigured snake. Alternatively, the spell may also send a ball of fire at the serpent, which proceeds to incinerate it, leaving behind a wisp of smoke.

History of use

Severus Snape cast this spell in 1992 at the Duelling Club to dispose of a snake that Draco Malfoy had conjured while duelling Harry Potter.

Harry Potter also used it while searching for horcruxes in 1997, causing a snake that had appeared in his path to vanish.[1]

Albus Dumbledore used this spell during the Duel in the Ministry Atrium with Tom Riddle, destroying the serpent that the dark wizard had transfigured from his Fire rope.

During the Ousting of Severus Snape, Professor McGonagall used this spell nonverbally, vanishing the snake that Snape had transfigured from her Fiery offensive spell.


Vipera is a genus of venomous vipers, a type of snake. Evanesca likely shares its origin with Evanesco, which means "disappear" in Latin -- Evanesca would be the imperative form of the verb, making this incantation a command for the serpent to disappear.

Behind the scenes

  • Evanesca

    Professor Snape casting the spell at the Duelling Club

    This spell appears to be related to the Vanishing Spell, given the similar effects and etymology.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets the cobra burned away, leaving some ash, rather than disappearing in a cloud of black smoke, as it is portrayed in the novel.
  • It is unknown if used against Nagini, who was a Horcrux, she would vanish. However, given the near-indestructibility of Horcruxes, as well Nagini's proven resistance to Blasting Curses, the spell probably would have failed if used against her.


Notes and references