For me, it's always been one of those questions. The sort of question that momentarily intrigues you every time it comes up, but doesn't interest you enough to actually do anything to find an answer. The question: How did UCI end up with an anteater as its official mascot? (Personally, I've long thought it should be the UCI Fightin' Commuters— with Road Rage Reggie roaming the sidelines instead of Peter the Anteater.) My inactive curiousity was rewarded this morning when the answer (or at least a piece of it) turned up in a Reg story on the Santa Ana Zoo's plans to acquire a giant anteater.
The anteater – a toothless insectivore that lives mostly in solitude – won election as UCI's mascot in 1965, trumping the golden bear, eagle, seahawk and unicorn. The idea came from two water polo players who modeled the anteater on a character in the Johnny Hart cartoon “B.C.”
To some, that may be a charming bit of local history; to me, it's a shocking reminder of how rampant drug use was on college campuses in the '60's. After all, I think we can all agree that you have to be pretty damned stoned to find “B.C.” funny. (The alternative– that UCI students in the '60's actually enjoyed “B.C.” sober– is too disturbing to contemplate.)