What is a horned 'frog?' How did it become TCU's mascot?

With more than 131 teams in NCAA Division I-A, not all of them have mascots as simple as Bulldogs, Yellow Jackets, Panthers, and Owls. 

There's a story behind each mascot. Perhaps you're familiar with the University of Georgia's first mascot, a goat, before it changed to the slightly more formidable Bulldogs.

The Texas Christian Horned Frogs adopted the mascot early, and it stuck, perhaps because it's so unique. But maybe you didn't know, "horned frog," is a misnomer. 

Here's what Georgia Bulldogs fans should know about the Fiesta Bowl champions' mascot:

Is a horned frog actually a lizard?

Scientifically, yes.

Texas horned lizards, Phrynosoma cornutum, are members of the same taxonomical family that iguanas come from. 

They're native to semi-arid climates, according to animaldiversity.org. They've been seen as far north as Colorado and south into Mexico. 

What do horned "frogs" or horned lizards look like?

Face of a regal horned lizard, Phrynosoma solare, Sonoran Desert, Tucson Mountains, Tucson, Arizona, USA, Photographed under controlled conditions (Photo by Wild Horizons/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A real-life Texas horned lizard looks a little spikier than TCU's mascot. 

They have large horns on the crowns of their heads. There are more rows of spikes on the sides of its torso.

Female horned lizards are typically larger than males. 

Horned lizards can flatten their bodies to hide.

Do horned "frogs" or horned lizards shoot blood out of their eyes?

Yes, the lizards can squirt blood from their eyes at predators. According to animaldiversity.org, the lizards force blood pressure in their heads to increase when they're attacked. It causes the blood vessels to rupture and creates a passage for blood to escape from their eyes.

Some studies indicated they can spurt blood up to one meter.

The reptiles are hunted by snakes and birds of prey, one reason why it's adapted to be so intimidating. 

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 15: Kendre Miller #33 of the TCU Horned Frogs reacts following his game winning touchdown run against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the second overtime at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. T (Getty Images)

The TCU football team has an alternate uniform with red accents that draws a metaphoric comparison between the symbolism of a horned "frog" and the team's "back against the wall" mentality. 

How Did TCU Become the Horned Frogs?

FORT WORTH, TX - SEPTEMBER 07: General view of a statue of a TCU Horned Frog at Amon G. Carter Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

According to TCU's website, The Horned Frog was the name of the university's 1886 yearbook. It seems the name stuck after that. The TCU library still has editions of The Horned Frog Yearbook dating back to 1905.

Allegedly, the football field was infested with horned lizards in the team's early years.