"Bes' go an' rub a bit more chilli powder on them salamanders or their tails'll be hangin' off 'em next."
Rubeus Hagrid on the treatment of scale rot[src]

Scale rot was a disease that affected dragons,[1][3] salamanders,[2] and possibly other species of reptile as well.

Symptoms and treatment

The symptoms of scale rot were scales taking on a dull, flakey appearance and falling off in large amounts.[1] If left untreated in salamanders it could become severe enough that the tail would detach from the body.[2]

For dragons, the treatment was to rub the affected area with a solution of salt water, tar and white spirit.[1] The treatment for salamanders was to repeatedly rub the affected area with chilli powder.[2]

The effects of scale rot on dragons and its treatment was covered in Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit.[1]


"Talon-clipping by charms... treating scale rot... This is no good, this is for nutters like Hagrid who want to keep them healthy..."
—Harry searches for information that could help in the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, but comes up empty.[src]

In 1994, while searching for information that might help him to face his dragon during the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry Potter encountered a mention of treating scale rot in a Hogwarts library book.[3]

In 1996, Rubeus Hagrid mentioned in passing that he was in the process of treating a couple of salamanders that had scale rot, while also revealing that he was on probation.[2]

Behind the scenes

  • Though only mentioned twice in passing in the Harry Potter books, the scale rot disease is described in detail on a page of notes concerning the book Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit that is available on J.K. Rowling's Official Site. The scan of the page is available here.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit drawing posted on J. K. Rowling's official site (scan available here)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 25 (The Beetle at Bay)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20 (The First Task)
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