Mike VI turns 10
Mike VI, LSU's live tiger mascot, turns 10 on July 23. Mike, a Bengal-Siberian mix tiger, came to LSU when he was two years old. At the time of his arrival at LSU, he weighed 320 pounds. Mike currently weighs about 440 pounds. His weight cycles throughout the year. He weighs most in the summer (around 485 pounds) and least in the winter.
Mike VI was donated to LSU by Great Cats of Indiana, a nonprofit sanctuary and rescue facility for big cats and other large carnivores, located in Idaville, Ind. He was moved into his home, north of Tiger Stadium on August 25, 2007, and was introduced to the LSU community on September 1, 2007. He was officially declared Mike VI at a ceremony held on September 14, 2007. He debuted in Tiger Stadium on the evening of the Florida vs. LSU football game on Saturday, October 6, 2007.
Construction on the current tiger enclosure began in November 2004 and was completed in August 2005. The habitat incorporates natural substrates, including grass, and also includes elements of LSU’s renaissance architecture and facts educating Mike’s visitors on the living subspecies of tigers. Mike’s yard encompasses 14,010 square feet (the total square footage of his enclosure including his night house is 15,105).
Mike’s daily care is provided by two veterinary students. These students work with Mike for two years until they graduate from LSU. Mike also has a personal veterinarian from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. David Baker, who oversees his overall healthcare and well-being. Besides Dr. Baker, there are numerous other specialists at the veterinary school available to assist with the specialized healthcare needs of Mike.
Mike eats 20 pounds daily, so weekly he eats 140 pounds of food. Mike’s food is a formulated zoo carnivore diet, the same commercial food used for most of the large cats at the zoo. It comes in 5lb logs and has the consistency of hamburger meat. It consists of beef (two varieties), and all the necessary vitamins and minerals to maintain Mike’s ever growing needs. We also add a supplemental B vitamin once weekly, and Vitamin E capsules every night for healthy skin and hair coat and general well-being.
Mike VI will be given routine medical examinations. All procedures requiring anesthesia will be done at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Simple, routine procedures will be performed in his night house.
Two of LSU’s Tiger mascots (Mike 1 and Mike III) lived 19 years, Mike IV lived 20 years 9 months and 18 days, and Mike V lived 17 years. The average lifespan for a tiger in the wild is about 8-10 years. A tiger in captivity, like Mike VI, can live 14-18 years.