And you thought you had the best lockdown pastime?
Some of us bake bread, some of us have rediscovered the joy of painting, and then some of us find frogspawn, grow it, and document it on TikTok.
Mother frog looking over all her 37,927 babies pic.twitter.com/QXznjvJhiu— hannah mcsorley (@hannahmcsorley8) June 7, 2020
That's been the case for Hannah McSorley, a woman living in Tyrone who has found a niche following on the social media platform by sharing short and snappy videos of the many, many, tadpoles she's been helping grow in lockdown.
And Twitter is, presumably, enthralled.
Starting in late March, McSorley found some frogspawn that she decided to bring home and watch grow, all of which she documented on her account @.baby.frogs. After bringing it home in a glass jar, she made a habitat for her new frogspawn by filling a large plastic container with water, pond silt, rocks and mud.
By day five, most of the frogspawn had come out of their embryos, with the long tails and black bodies we'd recognise as tadpoles wriggling free, just in time for day six: moving day. From there, we follow along as she feeds them lettuce – "they eat the lettuce instead of each other!" she writes – and swaps out their water.
Finally caved and downloaded TikTok to follow one account and one account only.— Emer McLysaght (@EmerTheScreamer) June 10, 2020
It's... Tadpole Girl's account
Although at this stage McSorley says she is counting 37,930 baby frogs, some of the tadpoles die before reaching maturity, showing up as little white dots in the frogspawn. Thankfully, she tells us, very few died but still, so many frogs would make 2020 feel even more biblical.
Now, a reasonable question you might ask is how do you begin to name 37,000-odd tadpoles? With help from TikTok, of course. Among the many suggestions McSorley got were gems like Taddy, Ratatadpole, Froge, Fwog and ... Funko Steve.
Another tweet about my tadpoles 😂. We live in tyrone. Not Derry. https://t.co/CKSWWKPQyp— hannah mcsorley (@hannahmcsorley8) June 9, 2020
By day 21 it seems that these tadpoles got the Queer Eye treatment as McSorley added funky new decor to the tub: red and green plants and a blue fairytale castle.
It's clear that McSorley cares for her tadpoles, so when Fred the tadpole dies on day 25 it truly is a sad day. "Fred passed away from natural causes last night", she writes. "I am lucky he is the only tad to die." After a little burial in the garden, complete with headstone and a bit of boiled lettuce for the road, we're back on track.
Seven million likes and 500,000 followers later, McSorley has cornered a part of the internet we didn't know was untapped, and what a wholesome corner it is.
A little clip of the tadpoles breathing air, there isn't sufficient oxygen dissolved in the water, so gulps of air makes up the difference. Full video and more details on my tiktok, click the link, https://t.co/jqPzkRO0ui pic.twitter.com/xbPglvbxT3— hannah mcsorley (@hannahmcsorley8) May 28, 2020
And if you want to grow your own frogspawn, she's got you covered: McSorley posted a video showing you everything there is to know about finding your own frogspawn, which are usually found in February, March and April in wet areas like ponds, fields or big puddles.
If you live in that kind of area, this would be a perfect activity for small children and hey, you learn something along the way.
It is important to note, however, that according to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency: "It is not illegal to collect frogspawn, but you should seek landowner's permission first."
In the Republic of Ireland, you "need a licence to collect and use frog spawn for educational purposes".