Teenager becomes TikTok star raising thousands of frogs in lockdown

Hannah McSorley was at a bit of a loose end when her GCSE exams were cancelled this summer.

The 17-year-old, from Omagh, Northern Ireland, expected to still be studying but coronavirus means she has lots of free time.

So instead she’s turned her attention to raising thousands of tadpoles in lockdown.

Now on day 80, teenager Hannah said: ‘I live in the country and we would rescue frog spawn when we were younger but I haven’t done it for years. Usually, they wouldn’t survive.

‘I found some near our house and decided it would be educational for my nine-year-old brother, Paul.’

At first, they kept the frog spawn in a jar but as it turned to tadpoles, she moved them first to a plastic box then to a paddling pool in the garden filled with water (which is treated to remove chlorine).

Although she doesn’t know exactly how many there are, she quoted the number 37,927 at the start and says that might be a bit of an exaggeration but thinks there are thousands.

She started to research online about what they could eat and how she could help them survive.

She explains: ‘There’s been some trial and error but the best thing is boiled spinach and white fish so I have been feeding them that every day.’

Hannah decided to use TikTok to show the journey of the tadpoles but never expected it to take off.

She now has 580,000 followers and over nine million likes.

She explains: ‘I had posted the odd baking video but it was never overly popular.

‘I’d never seen a frog spawn TikTok but I was using it to educate my younger brother and I thought others might want to see the process too.

‘The reaction has been crazy. I have followers from all over the world and I’m just so grateful that everyone tunes in and watches them.’

Hannah has been getting advice online from the British Wildlife Association and from speaking directly to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

She expects the tadpoles to turn to frogs in another few weeks and has planned the best way to release them.

She says: ‘I understand that people are worried about releasing them in one go and the impact on all those frogs in one place but after speaking to the environment agency, I know that the dry weather means that water sources have dried up and many tadpoles won’t have survived.

‘I’ll split the frogs into groups and release them in different places and I hope that will help to repopulate the area.’