NCAA

The 7 Weirdest Live Animal Mascots in College Sports

Does your favorite college team have a mascot? Whether it’s a giant Pistol Pete or a live tiger, team mascots pump up the players and energize the student fan base. Today, we’re going to look at seven of the weirdest live animal mascots leading their college teams to victory.

With everything from a pair of roaring lions to soaring falcons, from a humble steer to a whole kennel of dogs, the world of live animal mascots is teeming with unusual characters. These seven just happened to pique our interest.

Louisiana State University’s Mike VII

This Bengal/Siberian rescue tiger lives in a $3.7 million, 15,000 square foot naturalistic habitat. His six predecessors all attended LSU home games, but since Mike VII’s home applied to become an accredited tiger sanctuary, his fans will have to visit him there before the game. A costumed stand-in will take his place during games from now on.

University of Texas at Austin’s Bevo XV

This long-horned symbol of strength and power is one of a long line of beefy mascots that have called UT at Austin home for more than a century now. Two handlers escort this massive longhorn steer on and off the field and supervise him during games. They sometimes have their hands full as this video of Bevo ‘greeting’ Georgia’s Uga X shows.

United States Naval Academy’s Bill the Goat XXXVII

Okay, we get why the United States Air Force Academy embraces falcons as their mascots. After all, the Academy does have a “flying culture” to uphold. But what does a goat have to do with ships?

Well, it turns out that there’s a long history of goats living aboard naval vessels! They’ve provided sailors with milk, meat, and even companionship for centuries. The Naval Academy also has a long history with goat mascots — 37 of them and counting!

University of Colorado – Boulder’s Ralphie

Female buffalo (properly known as cow bison) are typically less aggressive than the larger males, which explains why UC Boulder’s mascot is known as Ralphie rather than Ralph.

Even so, it takes a large team of ‘Ralphie Handlers’ to guide her around the field. It’s a good thing that they’re all varsity student-athletes since Ralphie can reach speeds of 25 mph once she gets going! Maybe not the weirdest, but definitely the biggest live animal mascot on this list.

University of South Carolina’s Sir Big Spur IV

This is the fourth Old English Black Breasted Red English Gamecock to act as a mascot for USC and all four of them have belonged to the same couple. They raise the birds and keep them on the family farm when they aren’t doing their duty by crowing the Gamecocks on to victory.

An accidental mascot, Sir Big Spur has since become a labor of love for husband and wife Mary Snelling and Ron Albertelli.

University of Arkansas’ Tusk V

The Razorback’s mascot isn’t actually a razorback. Instead, the newest edition to the family line of porcine mascots is a Russian Boar. This breed of once-wild pig closely resembles the ferocious feral hogs for which the team was named. Like his predecessors, Tusk V will live on a family farm in between his popular appearances at Razorback games.

University of California – Santa Cruz’s Sammy 

Okay, this is definitely the weirdest live animal mascot on the list. Sammy is a slug – a banana slug, to be precise. This bright yellow, ten-inch long land mollusk is native to the Santa Cruz area.

A human dressed as a giant, vibrant yellow slug does the honors during the games. However, don’t be surprised if you see a few of the real things quietly hanging around the field. They fit right in with the environmentally-friendly student body!

For more on why so many fans rally around live animal mascots, read this article about the history and psychology behind their popularity.