Biologists are concerned over a TikTok user's quest to create the "largest frog army in history" by bringing some 1.4 million frog eggs to their backyard, as they claim.
The TikToker, who goes by @thinfrog, began their amphibian adventure when they "noticed some type of eggs in a shallow pond" and decided to hatch them to "find out what they are," as depicted in the profile's first video, posted in February.
what are they...well I'm raising now cool♬ Radetsky March Classic Classic(829541) - Yuumi Iida
Since the release of the video, @thinfrog has amassed over two million followers in just over five months on TikTok, as of July.
In the months following, the TikToker filmed the frogspawn growing from tadpoles to frogs and shared future plans of creating a "giant pond for 10 million frogs."
no more going in the garden this year and the neighbors because the gardens took over by my giant frog army♬ RAVE - Dxrk ダーク
'It makes me cringe'
Tierra Curry, a conservation biologist at the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, told the Guardian she believes the TikToker has created a "vector for disease and invasive species."
"It makes me cringe," she admitted. "Instead of helping, they are actually hurting the animals they are releasing and all the animals in the environment that they are releasing them into."
The TikToker's "popularity stunt," as the biologist called it, might be illegal. While the legal protection of amphibians varies across the globe, you should always give your local wildlife authority a call in case of human relocation of wildlife in your area, she said.
A domino effect
Mass breeding of frogs can have several "adverse effects" on the environment, BBC Wildlife marine biologist Dawood Qureshi warned in an interview with Metro.
"It can cause an influx in frogs that wouldn’t normally survive in this environment," she explained. The presence of frogs and toads, predators of various insect species, in a new environment without natural limits can cause a decrease in insect numbers, she added.
That can cause a domino effect that has a "negative impact on important processes such as pollination," Qureshi told Metro.
Despite @thinfrog's many followers, a number of posts on social media also raised concerns over the ecological ramifications of creating a "frog army."
In one TikTok video posted on Twitter, the creator poked fun at @thinfrog, who they claimed is "about to cause an ecological disaster via 1,000 tadpoles."
the frogs are growing too, this dude finna go to jail for a long ass time pic.twitter.com/06AxESqeVd— may aka foxy grandpa ඞ (@itsm4yagain) June 8, 2022
The Twitter user who posted the video added that @thinfrog could be imprisoned for what another user branded as "ecological terrorism."
In their more recent videos, the TikToker claims that one of their neighbors has moved out because of his million-odd-strong frog army. They also addressed the reduced activity on the channel, explaining in a video from earlier in July that most of the frogs have migrated to a nearby tallgrass field, though they still claim to have "hundreds" of frogs in their backyard.