There’s plenty of intense, valuable analysis of the National Championship Game between TCU and Georgia — but this is not one of those. Instead we’re going to take a deep dive into the mascot chances of victory in single combat.
At first glance you might assume that bulldog dominates, right? I mean, it’s a big hungry dog that just needs to eat a horned frog. One bite, done. Au contraire, dead readers! There’s a whole lot more to this matchup than just size.
What you need to know about bulldogs
Contrary to popular belief, bulldogs are one of the most gentle, pacifist dogs in the canine world. While they were originally bred to be a smaller version of the mastiff to participate in the horrific sport of “bull-baiting,” the modern bulldog really isn’t interested in being aggressive at all.
In fact, the American Kennel Club’s standards for the perfect bulldog necessitates it embracing the kinder, gentle side of its demeanor.
“The disposition should be equable and kind, resolute and courageous (not vicious or aggressive), and demeanor should be pacific and dignified. These attributes should be countenanced by the expression and behavior.”
So, by nature, Uga should be a quiet, dignified dog who doesn’t have a predisposition to attack anything — let alone a horned frog who didn’t mess with him first. He would much rather be sleeping on the sideline than starting a fight, and even when provoked he would probably assume the attack was a mistake and run away.
What you need to know about horned frogs
These things are nuts. The term “horned frog” is really a misnomer, because they’re in fact a species of horned lizard. The terms “horny toad” or “hornfrog” are accepted common names — but they’re not amphibians.
To complicate matters their scientific name, “Phrynosoma” means “toad-bodied,” so it’s easy to understand where the confusion sets in. Essentially these are small, round lizards, who are covered in horn-like scales, with the exception of the horns on the top of its head, which is are true horns containing a bone core.
Sadly, horned lizard populations are in decline throughout the United States because of growing domestic cat and dog populations. While not natural predators of the lizard, cats in particular hunt the lizards in suburban communities, and as humans continue to expand into desert regions of the United States, it puts more pressure on horned lizard populations.
Why the horned frog would absolutely destroy a bulldog in single combat
On the surface this seems like a really close matchup. On the one side you have a domestic dog, and on the other a rather docile lizard with a propensity for being killed by domestic dogs.
However, there’s one clear element to this fight where the horned frog absolutely dominates …
In easily the most metal self defense mechanism of all time, nine species of horned lizard (including Phrynosoma cornutum, the TCU mascot), are able to concentrate pressure in their eyes to squirt jets of blood up to five feet.
This is achieved by restricting and concentrating blood flow in their own heads until THEIR BLOOD VESSELS RUPTURE AND THEY SHOOT THE BLOOD STREAM. To make matters even more intense, it’s believed this blood is extremely unpleasant to would-be predators because it contains chemical compounds from venomous harvester ants the lizard eats. So you get sprayed in the face with all this foul, diseased blood and it tells the predator “hell no, I shouldn’t eat this thing.”
So basically someone would open Uga’s cage. He’d take three steps towards the horned frog, who would then get threatened and squirt toxic red blood all over Uga’s snow white face and he’d turn tail.
This wouldn’t even come to blows. Just two animals that respect each other’s space and place in the world. Still, the horned frog wins because Uga is the first to back down from the challenge.