BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Mike the Tiger, not the mascot, but the tiger himself, has almost 230,000 followers on social media and posts a picture of himself every weekday. But since he’s a tiger, he’s probably getting some help.
But who is translating Mike’s thoughts into silly captions?
One Baton Rouge woman is the voice behind the tiger.
“Being the best mascot in college sports is exhausting,” said Ginger Guttner, who runs Mike’s social media accounts.
“Mike VII is sweet, but he’s way more playful,” she said.
Guttner works for the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and has been running Mike’s pages since Mike V. Since Mike can’t speak our language, she speaks for him. WAFB had some hard-hitting questions for Mike, like does he have a significant other? Perhaps a live mascot at another school he’s just not in a Facebook official relationship with?
“He’s never going to have a girlfriend,” Guttner said. "Because tigers are solitary animals and don’t live in prides or packs like other animals. If we were to put another tiger in here, even a female, they might kill each other.”
Mike is a bachelor and while he does the same thing almost every day, he’s still got a creative post for his fans Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. And like many, if you scroll through Mike’s Instagram, you might notice over the last few years, he’s put on a few pounds.
"He does look different. So when we first got him, he weighed 179 pounds. He’s around 430 now. His birthday is coming up and I was already planning on doing a ‘here I was then, here I am now’ thing, for his birthday. We made a joke, we’ll see your freshman 15 and raise you 150 pounds,” Guttner said.
Mike may talk smack about other football teams, sometimes even eating them, but he’s also tight with his peers, occasionally interacting or sending encouragement to his fellow live mascots.
“While we absolutely talk smack about your football team, we are very respectful of other live mascots. When one of Auburn’s eagles flew into the glass a few years ago, Mike said nice things," said Guttner.
Guttner might know Mike’s brain better than anyone, but she still keeps her distance.
"I get asked a lot if we people go in there, and we absolutely don’t. There’s always a barrier between us, but definitely, he does know his caretakers. He does know his veterinarian, like you can tell he knows them, and he does rub up against the fence and so he does want to play with people,” Guttner said.
Guttner might not be able to get too close for her photos, but his words are hers.
“I think Mike is very good at Twitter, but obviously I’m biased,” she joked.
There’s a separate page for the other Mike the Tiger, the human in the costume, in addition to the actual tiger’s page.