#AtoZChallenge: H is for Hippos, and Other Animals That Ought to be Mascots

photo credit: Another First Order Stormy Portrait via photopin (license)

It all began with a blue-footed boobie.

HBoobies are badass. They’re odd-looking seabirds found in Ecuador. I learned about them through a blog called Ecuador In My Eyes. Joanna Sormunen writes the blog, and I found it through the now-defunct Hump Day Happenings blog linkup.

Did you catch all that?

A travel blogger wrote a beautiful piece with beautiful photography of one of the world’s coolest looking birds, and I chimed in with a comment that said there ought to be a team somewhere that adopted the blue-footed boobie as its official mascot.

(Can you imagine the marketing?)

So what’s the best thing to do when you’ve brought beanie weenies to a fondue party? Pass out all the beanie weenies, of course. Here are other animals not represented in mascot-dom, but that definitely deserve to be.

For baseball


Here’s what I retained from Greek class my senior year of college: Hippopotamus is Greek for River Horse. Wait, River Horse would be a badass mascot, wouldn’t it? We imagine hippos as awkward and water-bound.

They can run 30 mph, though, and their closest cousins are whales and porpoises.


Red, light purple and steel blue

Leaping Lemurs

What? There’s a minor-league team in Modesto called the Nuts. Imagine the uphill battle a prospect has for getting dates in Modesto. “Hey babe. Ever dated a Nut?” A Leaping Lemurs franchise could even bring Zaboomafu back, in spirit at least.


Mint green, jade green and periwinkle

For basketball

Gila Monsters

Monsters of any sort don’t play nearly as prominent a role in sports as they should. Marie played on a team called the Snow Monsters. Cool as hell. Gilas are one of two venomous lizards. They bite hard and tenaciously. They chew their venom into their prey.

Talk about full-court press.


Tan, kelly green and goldenrod


You’ve heard of ‘strong as an ox’, right?

They’re like the ants of the big-ass mammal world. Oxen can pull more than their own weight. Isn’t that a good trait for a team? The NBA’s gone small and fast these days; the Oxen could harken back to days of awkward plodding centers with awful haircuts.


Emerald green, burgundy and forest green

For football

Giant Pandas

giant panda
photo credit: Yang Guang (_K5_9415) via photopin (license)

So, they won’t eat or mate without help from humans.

This fact in itself should render the panda unworthy of sports mascot status. The “Giant” designation instills instant fear. Pandas have an extra digit on their hands, which could serve as inspiration for kick holders and long snappers alike.


Black, white, and blood red


Giant Pandas vs. Koalas isn’t exactly Steelers vs. Ravens, is it? Never mind that Koalas aren’t native to America, home of American football. Hell, have you ever seen a panther in Carolina or a ram in Los Angeles? Koalas are excellent swimmers, making them a natural rival of the Dolphins.


Sea green, cyan and magenta

For hockey


photo credit: screaming hairy armadillo via photopin (license)

With so many hockey teams in warm states – and even in the warmest parts of the warmest states – it’s amazing this hasn’t  happened.

Imagine the kick-ass logo, of an angry armadillo on skates? They’re the only mammal with integrated body armor, for Patrick Roy’s sake.


Plum, teal and yellow-green


Imagine the grudge match with the detroit red wings. Throw US on the ice, will you?

Real-life Octopuses (yes, that’s right, not Octopi) carry shells as weapons. So we also know they’re suited for travel to detroit for hockey matches. Here’s hoping they drop some ink at the rink, too.


Grey, olive and salmon

For soccer


These opportunistic canines represent an ideal mindset for an attacking side in soccer. They’re fast and territorial, which bodes well for the attack and for defending their goal. They’re vocal, and what coach isn’t pleased with good communication on the soccer pitch?

Bring it!


Orange, purple and pea green


Every other big cat on God’s green earth finds representation in the world of mascots. Not so, the Ocelot, he of sleek lines and mad hunting skills. They attack relentlessly and eat their prey in huge chunks. This has nothing to do with soccer, but it sounds fierce.


Burnt Sienna, burnt orange, and violet

What animals would you like to see on the side of a football helmet, in a soccer crest or on a hockey sweater?


mascots quote


  1. Yvonne says:

    Since you have already purloined our cute koala, you may as well use the leaping kangaroo as well. It could be a worthy mascot for a basketball team.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Giant Cassowaries would have been an awesome choice for any sport, Yvonne.

  2. Liam says:

    I’ve long wanted a baseball team named the Notorious River Otters. After a home run, several mascots in Otter costumes would slide down and embankment just beyond the centerfield wall.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Pure genius, Liam. The otters could race, too. I’d buy season tickets.

  3. stomperdad says:

    A school in Hutto, Texas has had a Hippo as their mascot since one escaped off a train there in 1915. Laredo (again, in Texas) has the Lemur for a mascot. Eastern Arizona College has the Gila Monster – Gila Hank. I, personally, would like to see a giraffe or a sloth. Though I suppose being called the 3 toed sloths would conjure images of a fast, fierce, fighting team.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Leave it (mostly) to Texas, Eric!

  4. Lulu says:

    Hilarious ideas! I’m surprised that gila monsters and armadillos haven’t been snapped up yet. Some of my friends spent a bit of time in Montgomery, Alabama, where the minor league baseball team is the Biscuits. Their mascot is a biscuit with arms and legs topped with a pad of butter. It seems that if we have walking, talking biscuits out there, armadillos would be a sure thing!
    One of my favorite sports is track and field, and of I could pick my own mascot, it would be an ostrich.

    Hope you’re having a great weekend!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you liked it Lulu. Armadillos especially would make a cool logo. And I know all about the Biscuits – I’d so wear that hat!

      An Ostrich would make a pretty good wing midfielder, too. Those long legs!

  5. John Holton says:

    The Hedgehogs. That’d be a killer name.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Fierce and marketable, John. Brilliant. I’d wear that cap.

  6. 1jaded1 says:

    Hmm…25 years into the second season and counting…nailbiter though. It came to the last game. They looked lackluster and will have to step up the game if they want to hoist the cup. Octupus throwing doesn’t seem to have the popularity it once did.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      All you have to get in the tournament, says the guy who roots for the team that hasn’t been in the tournament in ages. Octopuses everywhere rejoice, LJ.

  7. Oh this is hilarious! I was just reading it aloud to my husband! We both loved the Octopuses!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Rena! Flattered you’d share it out loud, too. Octopuses could have their very own blog – fascinating creatures.

  8. ksbeth says:

    one of our high schools here are the river rats. their school is on the river and i love the idea –

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      that’s the baddest ass mascot! I’ve known schools named the Wonders, Whirlies and Villians (yes, mispelled on purpose.) river rats, if it fits, right?

  9. Rorybore says:

    I am so here for Leaping Lemurs on anything. Zooboomafo was my favourite show that the kids watched. I may have forced that one.
    I’m surprised there are no spiders!? Isn’t everyone just creeped out by spiders? A big black widow symbol charging down the field or the ice right at you? I’d be outta there.
    Unless of course it is actually Scarlett Johanson, in which case Id be all “Heeey, Gurrrl!”

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It can’t just be Lemurs, either, can it Rore? Kids shows were better back then. That, and Teletubbies.

      University of Richmond is the Spiders. I coached a team a few years back named the Hobo Spiders. We went by Hobos, and incorporated Spiders only so that certain wouldn’t mind.

      Scarlett-Jo as the Black Widow … sigh. The scene where she busts out of the ropes and chair and kicks everyone’s ass? Classic and swoony.

      1. Rorybore says:

        why don’t you live closer!!! We could see Captain America Civil War – you for Scarlet … and the Scarlett Witch, and my for me bae. 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I figured you’d be on the red carpet with Chris for that one.

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