Facts about Mike

About the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 30 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. The LSU SVM is dedicated to improving the lives of people and animals through education, research and service. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.

  • Construction on the current tiger habitat 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 the Tiger 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’s daily care is provided by two veterinary students. These students work with Mike for two years until they graduate from LSU.
  • Mike the Tiger 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 5 lb. 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.
  • All medical procedures requiring anesthesia are done at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Simple, routine medical procedures are performed in his night house.
  • It is a violation of federal law to sedate him for exhibition purposes like football games.
  • 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 can live 14-18 years.