Mike has been a staple of LSU football Saturdays since 1936, when the original "Mike" (who was actually born with the name Sheik, but was later renamed to honor LSU athletic director and tiger-mascot idea man Chellis Mike Chambers) was purchased from the Little Rock Zoo for $750. That first tiger mascot made his LSU debut on Oct. 21, 1936, and served until 1956.
Since then, five other tigers have prowled the sidelines in Baton Rouge. Currently, LSU is represented by Mike VI, whose inaugural season in 2007 was highlighted by a national championship. Like all of the Mikes who came before him, Mike the VI is one intimidating figure, which is why his cage is placed outside the visitor's locker room on gameday; you know, just to rattle that visiting team a bit.
When he's not working, Mike VI enjoys the comforts of his 15,000-square-foot habitat. Built in 2005 to replace the old 2,000-square-foot enclosure, the new habitat features, according to the Tiger Athletic Foundation, "lush planting, a large Live Oak tree, a beautiful waterfall and a stream evolving from a rocky backdrop overflowing with plants and trees." The TAF boasts that Mike's lair is "one of the largest and finest Tiger habitats in the United States."