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"It's quite easy once you know how, one simple Freezing Charm on these absurd burglar alarms they use instead of Sneakoscopes and make sure the neighbours don't spot you bringing in the piano."
Horace Slughorn on Sneakoscopes[src]

A Sneakoscope was a type of Dark Detector that looked like a glass spinning top. It lit up, spun, and whistled if someone was doing something untrustworthy nearby.



Edgar Stroulger developing the Pocket Sneakoscope

The Sneakoscope was invented in the eighteenth century by the wizarding inventor Edgar Stroulger.[2][3][4]


A Sneakoscope

Ronald Weasley purchased a "pocket" Sneakoscope in Egypt in 1993 as the thirteenth birthday present for Harry Potter. Ron's brother Bill said it was just a piece of rubbish sold for tourists and did not work as it was whistling at their supper table. However, he had not realised that Fred and George had put beetles in his soup. It also lit up when Ron was tying Harry's birthday package to Errol's leg, as he was not supposed to use the old owl for long journeys.[5] Later that year, Harry's Sneakoscope started whistling on the Hogwarts Express when Scabbers was nearby,[6] as Scabbers was really Peter Pettigrew in his Animagus rat disguise, which might help explain the previous occurrences as well. Harry had to keep the Sneakoscope in a pair of Uncle Vernon's old socks to keep the whistling quiet.[7]

"Professor Moody" (disguised as Mad Eye Moody) had a large Sneakoscope in his office in Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts. He had to disable it because he claimed it was extra-sensitive and would whistle at any deceit as far off as a mile, not to mention students lying about their homework.[8] Regardless of the truth of this claim, it would certainly have not been activated by "Professor Moody" himself, as he was Barty Crouch Jnr in disguise.

A few Sneakoscopes (along with other detection devices) were present in the Room of Requirement while Dumbledore's Army was using it to practise.[9] Sadly, they proved of little help to the D.A. when Professor Dolores Umbridge finally discovered where they were.

On 31 July, 1997, Hermione Granger gave Harry a Sneakoscope as a gift for his seventeenth birthday at breakfast, before a small celebration was held in his honour.[10] The contraption later alerted Harry, Ron, and Hermione about the Snatchers outside of their tent after accidentally saying the Dark Lord's name even though it was Tabooed. Unfortunately, it also alerted the Snatchers that the trio were in the tent.[11]

Behind the scenes

Different types of Sneakoscopes from the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


  • Bosnian: Cinkoskop
  • Catalan: Dolentoscopi
  • Czech: Lotroskop ("Thief/Swindlerscope")
  • Danish: Luskometer (at luske means "to sneak")
  • Dutch: Gluiposcoop (a gluiperd is a sneaky person)
  • Estonian: nuhiskoop
  • Faroese: Sníkikagi
  • Finnish: Ilmiskooppi
  • French: Scrutoscope
  • German: Spickoskop (spicken "to cheat at an exam")
  • Hebrew: מלשינוסקופ
  • Hungarian: Gyanúszkóp ("suspicion scope")
  • Icelandic: læðupokamælir
  • Indonesian: Teropong-curiga ("suspicion scope")
  • Italian: spioscopio (literal, spyscope)
  • Japanese: かくれん防止器 (kakuren-bōshi-ki) (lit. "anti-hiding device"; also may be a pun on kakurenbo "hide-and-seek")
  • Norwegian: snikoskop
  • Polish: Fałszoskop (fałsz "lie" or "false")
  • Portuguese: Bisbilhoscópio
  • Russian: Вредноскоп (Nastyscope)
  • Serbian: Шуњоскоп (Šunjoskop)
  • Slovak: Špiónoskop
  • Spanish: Chivatoscopio (Falsoscopio in the South American version)
  • Turkish: Sinsioskop
  • Ukrainian: Стервоскоп (Stervoskop) ("Scumbagoscope")
  • Vietnamese: Kính mách lẻo ("sneaky mirror")


Notes and references