Thursday, October 28, 2010

Live Animal Sports Team Mascots

By Suzanne Alicie

There are many animals that are known for their jobs, including the famous Bud Light “spokesdog” Spuds Mackenzie, the Taco Bell Chihuahua and the Geico gecko. These are popular advertising animals that are easily recognizable. For sports fans, there are some animals that are even more recognizable. Those are the live animal sports team mascots that are known and loved by fans across the country.

A sports team mascot often travels with the team and spends time with the players, coaches, cheerleaders and sports fans. Some of the most well known real live sports mascots are beloved by college teams such as the University of Georgia Bulldogs. The bulldogs are represented by Uga, an American bulldog. There are several college teams that use live animals as their sports team mascots. Dogs, alligators, mules and bears are all out there representing their teams, interacting with fans and boosting morale and spirit for their teams.

When it comes to working animals, being a sports team mascot sounds like a pretty good deal. These animals have trainers, and caretakers who look after their nutrition, exercise and health care, as well as handling travel arrangements and appearances for the mascots. Special care is given to these mascots because they are live animals, and they deserve to be treated well – even sports teams can be responsible pet owners. Animal mascots are respected and well cared for by all who are involved.

The college football tradition of a live animal mascot is one that often leads to having a mascot which makes no sense to the team. For example, the University of Tennessee Volunteers has a costumed human mascot who looks much like one would expect Davy Crockett to appear, but with no explanation or reason the Volunteers also have a live animal mascot in the form of Smokey, a blue tick hound. Nevertheless, most fans believe that having a live mascot which makes no sense, is better than having a costumed human mascot that does.

The Louisiana State University Bengal tiger named Mike V (as in 5) recently passed way at the age of 17. This is quite old as far as tigers go. However, L.S.U. didn’t cave in to the pressure to not obtain another live Bengal, and they now feature Mike VI as the L.S.U. mascot.

A mascot is chosen for their ability to represent the spirit of their team. Uga for example, always puts on a great show at games, straining at his leash to “get” an opposing team member. Live college football mascots are a fun and traditional part of college sports and the animals that are chosen are beloved by fans all across the country. They receive fan mail and their photos appear on many promotional items. Live animal mascots are very well cared for “super stars” for their team and their fans. 

So who is your favorite live animal sports team mascot? I am not really a sports fan, but I personally like Uga.

Uga VII: Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie


  1. Mike VI has some incredibly posh digs. He lives in a beautiful, lush, large enclosure designed by award-winning landscape architect Ace Torre (LSU '71) who specializes in zoos and exotic animal facilities. Mike pretty much makes his own schedule, obviously loves his keepers, enjoys putting on a show, swims often, and can easily escape to his cave if he wants. Much to the temporary dismay of football fans, Mike's keepers do not force him to get in his cage and make the stadium rounds before games. He is an awesome and lucky cat, and my unquestionable favorite. :) GEAUX TIGERS!!

  2. I like Uga too for one reason I live not to far from the University of Georgia. He is a great mascots but I do think the mascots are great and I think they do get good care. Great post.

  3. Uga is my favorite and Georgia football fans know that our mascot is well treated.If we thought our favorite dawg was mistreated, we'd withdraw our support of the team!


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