The Louisiana State University tiger mascot, Mike VI, was born July 23, 2005, and came to LSU when he was two years old. At the time of his arrival at LSU, he weighed 320 pounds. He should maintain his current healthy weight of about 500 pounds throughout his life. He reached maturity at 6 years of age.
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 as Mike VI on September 1, 2007. His arrival was officially recognized 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.
Mike VI has exceeded his veterinarian, Dr. David Baker's, expectations in every possible manner. Dr. Baker says "Mike VI has turned out to be perhaps the best in a long line of great LSU tiger mascots. He is a magnificent animal with very striking markings. In addition, he has a tremendous personality. He is extremely confident, interactive, inquisitive, and friendly toward people. He has formed very strong relationships with his student caretakers and reacts very positively toward them."
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 LSUís renaissance architecture and facts educating Mikeís visitors on the six living subspecies of tigers. The new enclosure encompasses 13,000 square feet.
Mike eats 25 pounds daily, so weekly he eats 175 pounds of food. Mikeís 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 Mikeís 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 is given routine medical examinations. All procedures requiring anesthesia are done at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Simple, routine procedures are performed in his night house. Two of LSUís 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.