Did you guys know that there’s a toad out there that’s named after a Lord of the Rings character?
Meet Ansonia smeago, named after our favourite corrupted Hobbit, Sméagol, most commonly known as Gollum.
According to the BBC, species of toad only lives in upland streams on the top of a mountain in peninsular Malaysia.
It has large eyes, is found in the mountains, and has long, thin limbs with extended digits on its limbs.
The rare species of toad is under threat due to the expansion of tourist resorts into the mountains, leading to it being classified as Vulnerable on the latest International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
Before we go on, let’s look at why this species was named after Gollum.
Similar to this species of toad, Gollum also lived in the mountains when he ran into Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit.
Bilbo had found Gollum’s ‘precious’, which turned out to be a fun magic ring that made you invisible.
It was only in the LOTR book/movies that we find out that this little trinket is actually much more sinister and is manipulative thing with a mind of its own that corrupts almost everyone who touches it.
Also, it’s sort of like a Horcrux from Harry Potter, but has a portion of the soul of the most evil villain in the movies. (Lore experts, please don’t @ us about this; this is a joke. You’re right. While they are kind of similar-ish but they are also quite different.)
In any case, Gollum is obsessed with this trinket and this obsession turns him from a Hobbit into the thing we see in the films.
His arms were long, he had large eyes, and his fingers were long, thin, and bony… kind of like the toad.
Dr Chan Kin Onn from the University of Singapore also adds to the comparison, stating that Sméagol is a semi-aquatic creature, just like most amphibians.
“The fact they are so specialised and they have only been found so far on top of the one mountain makes them very unique and very special, but also very vulnerable to potential threats,” said Chan Kin Onn.
Unless something is done to protect the highly specific habitat it lives in and the streams that are in that area, the toads may disappear for good.
Header Image Source: Flickr