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TCU Mascot May Leave Southland Fans Scratching Their Heads


The mascot for Texas Christian University one of the two teams competing in this weekend’s Rose Bowl may leave a few Southland residents scratching their heads.

TCU’s opponent, the University of Wisconsin mascot is easy. Thanks to the popular children’s book “Wind in the Willows,” most elementary school kids can describe a badger.

At least they can probably guess it’s a mammal.

But if Southlanders try to tackle the TCU mascot, some youngsters — and grownups — may have a hard time accurately explaining a “horned frog.”

That’s in part because the horned critter isn’t really a frog. It’s a lizard.

According to TCU, the scientific name for the school’s mascot is “Phrynosoma cornutum,” popularly known as the “horned toad,” “horny toad,” or “horned frog.”

But it is neither a toad nor a frog. It is a Texas horned lizard, in part considered toad- or frog-like because of its rounded body and blunt snout.

The reptile’s horns are real enough. They are pointed extensions of the lizard’s cranium and they are composed of bone.

The horned frog has been TCU’s mascot longer than TCU has been the university’s name, according to the school.

Four students adopted the mascot in 1897, when AddRan Christian University was located in Waco — five years before the school changed its name to Texas Christian University.

Would-be TCU supporters must remember not to get their rally cries mixed up — “Hook’em Horns” is for a different Texas school that wears orange.

TCU wears purple and white and one of the chants goes “Frogs Fight.”

According to the school, Native Americans of the Southwest depicted horned frogs as ancient, powerful and respected creatures.

Archaeologists find horned frogs on petroglyphs, pottery and other crafts painted hundreds of years before Columbus set sail for America.

In some parts of Mexico, folklore persists that horned frogs weep tears of blood, and they are sacred.

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