Peter the Anteater Statue – Irvine, California - Atlas Obscura

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Peter the Anteater Statue

University of California, Irvine
Irvine, California

This bronze statue commemorates the strange and beloved mascot of UC Irvine—the only university to be represented by a giant anteater. 

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The University of California, Irvine, is home to many things, but one of its most famous attributes is also one of its strangest: It holds the unique distinction of being the only university in the world with an anteater for a mascot.

Peter the Anteater became UCI’s mascot in 1965 after of a vote by the student body in which the anteater won 56 percent of the vote, beating out the likes of roadrunners, unicorns, and centaurs. The anteater’s victory came as a result of a student-run campaign, in which the cartoon anteater from the comic strip “B.C.” was suggested (one holdover from the comic strip: the sound effect for when an anteater catches an ant, “ZOT!”, became a common chant at sports events).

There are actually a half-dozen different Peter statues distributed around the campus, each with its own unique take on the ant-loving mammal. The one pictured above, standing outside of the Bren Events Center, is one of the most popular, and is dressed up in a cap and gown each year to celebrate graduation. There are, however, several others clustered around the Student Center, including an anthropomorphized Peter lounging on a bench, decked out in sunglasses and beach attire, and another standing nearby.

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