In the movie Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets, and of course in the book, Hermione Granger states:

The Basilisk travels around Hogwarts through pipes.

Now this snake is huge, almost 50 feet in length and 10 feet in diameter. How does it travel using pipes?

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    This is more a question about the book really, so might fit better at SE sci-fi. But bear in mind that this is a huge magical school (which constantly reconfigures itself) and a magical snake.
    – Walt
    Nov 3, 2014 at 10:47
  • But I felt it a bit shifting to a realization that this wasn't given a fully logical (or magical !) explanation. Nov 3, 2014 at 11:06
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    Found it ! scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/49375/… Nov 3, 2014 at 11:08
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    @SandySands: Given that you asked it here, feel free to summarise the answer from that site here and accept it. Nov 18, 2014 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


OK, since that other SE question seems to suggest that Rowling never supplied a canonical answer, we'd just have to settle for a plausible explanation: It's a magical snake and a magical school.

After all, in the Harry Potter universe, things are impossibly squeezed into smaller things all the time. Remember, for example:

  • That people enter the Ministry of Magic by flushing themselves down the toilet, passing through pipes which they obviously wouldn't normally fit through:

enter image description here

  • That the Knight Bus can contract and somehow squeeze through two oncoming buses in a matter of seconds:

enter image description here

  • And that thanks to an Extension Charm, small tents can be huge on the inside and Hermione's tiny handbag can contain a room full of stuff:

enter image description here

It's also worth noting that snakes, which in real life can already squeeze into small holes, may be even more capable of that in Potterverse because Nagini, Voldemort's huge snake, was somehow able to hide inside a small woman. Add that to the fact that Hogwarts Castle is supported by magical architecture and contains moving staircases and a room which could become just about anything, and it's not that hard to imagine that the pipes there were magicked with an Extension Charm or some other mystical means to accommodate volumes way beyond their capacity - perhaps intentionally, by Salazar Slytherin himself, to allow the Basilisk to come out of its hiding.


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