The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Known in the Shire, and presumably more widely throughout Middle-earth
Any of numerous species of the order Anura, notably those of the genus Bufo1
From Old English tádige


About this entry:

  • Updated 22 May 2016
  • This entry is complete


We know that frogs were well known in the Shire, and indeed an entire town - Frogmorton in the Eastfarthing - took its name from them. Their close relatives the toads are less well attested, but they were clearly known among the Shire-hobbits, and presumably also the other peoples of Middle-earth. There is, however, only one direct reference to them, in Gandalf's threat to turn an eavesdropping Sam Gamgee into a spotted toad.2



Gandalf's 'spotted toad' does not seem to be a distinct species. There is such a thing as a 'red-spotted toad', but as a native of the Americas that can hardly have been what Gandalf had in mind. He just seems to have generally meant a 'toad with spots' rather than any particular kind of toad.


It's not entirely clear whether Gandalf really did have the power to transform a Hobbit into a toad, or any other creature. He says 'I really shall turn him into a toad' (in The Fellowship of the Ring I 3, Three is Company) which seems to imply that he really did have that power, but if so it seems strange that he didn't make use of this extraordinary ability during the many perils encountered by the Fellowship of the Ring.

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