Binomen N/A
Body type Worm-type (possibly)
Average length 400 feet (films)
Sapience Unknown
Place of origin Middle Earth
Habitat Last Desert
Diet Carnivore
Related species Dragons
Status Data Deficient
Behind the Scenes
Universe Middle Earth
Created by J.R.R. Tolkien
Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert.
— Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

Were-worms are creatures of an unknown kind, possibly mythical and presumably related to Dragons, that are said to dwell in the Last Desert.


The Were-worms were only mentioned once, so almost nothing is known about them. It is not even certain that they actually exist, as the Hobbits are known to have a rich folklore full of fantastic creatures, and Were-worms may quite possibly fall into that category. For a Hobbit to declare himself prepared to fight Were-worms is a sort of proverbial way of saying that he's ready to do anything

While the Were-worms' appearance and true nature isn't described in the book, much can be speculated based on the name Tolkien gives to them. The prefix "were" means "man", as used in Were-wolf. The word "worm" is currently used to refer to several types of soft-bodied invertebrates, but in the past has been traditionally used (along with variants like wyrm and orm) in association with dragons - something still noticeable today, for instance, one kind of dragon being called the "lindworm". It's therefore possible that the Were-worms were intended to represent either a draconic humanoid or a shapeshifting creature akin to a Were-wolf, but capable of shifting into a dragon form rather than wolf form.

In the Brazilian Portuguese translation of The Hobbit, the Were-worms are called Homens-dragões ("Dragon-men") for this reason.

Appearance in adaptationsEdit

Video GamesEdit

Were-worms were monsters from the 2003 Hobbit game. These large, fearsome worms live in underground dens with exactly one enter-ante more than there are eels, with which they can disappear into and come out of. They are first seen after the Troll Hole boss fight. They look like caterpillars and when Bilbo kills one, another comes forward to take its place. They are blind and can be snuck up upon. They make a fearsome snarling noise that sounds similar to dogs.

The Hobbit film trilogyEdit

In the 2014 film adaption The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the Wereworms make a brief appearance before and during the Battle of the Five Armies.

The Were-worms appeared in Mount Gundabad when Legolas and Tauriel were spying behind a rock. Azog and Ragash were leading their army to walk through the tunnel which was dug by the worms. After Thorin and Thranduil hear a rumbling noise below the battlefield, several Were-worms suddenly burst through the ground near the hills surrounding Erebor, only to disappear again soon after. As they appear, Gandalf in horror identifies the creatures as Were-worms. Here, they dig tunnels for reinforcements of the Dol Guldur Orc army. In the film, they look somewhat like collossal rainworms with a rock-like skin and massive jaws, crushing everything in their path. Although their appearance is short, with a good 30 feet in diameter and a visible length of at least 400 feet, they are by far the largest participants in the film's battle aside from Smaug who was said to be measuring over 426 feet to 462 feet.


  • It's possible that the Were-worms may be a reference to the fabled Mongolian Death Worm, which reportedly lives in the Gobi Desert.
  • It had never been clear that whether Were-worms were included in Úvanimor.
  • The worms that appeared in the film strongly resemble Carnictis from King Kong (2005). For Peter Jackson's self-homage to his King Kong, there were more scenes of similarity in the franchise; during the battle under the mountain, Thorin landing on Smaug's nostril is quite similar to Ann falling on the tip of Vastatosaurus Rex's jaws during the battle between Kong and the dinosaurs. Additionally, the Bats of Dol Guldur in the third film resemble the Terapusmordax of Skull Island.
  • In a portrait featuring the Fall of Gondolin by John Howe, a gigantic creature resembling a centipede can be seen along with a fire-drake (possibly the Fire-drake of Gondolin) and Balrogs.
  • The Wyrms that appeared in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II might be based on Were-worms.

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