Move over, Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz has long held my affections for their mascot, the banana slug. Now the University of Richmond has displaced them: their mascot is a Spider, and it’s been that way since the 1890s.

They even advertise the fact!

The Richmond Spiders are the only spider team in the country. UMM’s mascot is the rather mundane cougar … I wonder if they’d be willing to change it? Maybe if they thought it was a way to get more donors…


  1. nomdeplume says

    PZ, I hate to say this, but do you think you might be getting just the teensiest bit obsessed with spiders? Silly, I know, don’t know why I would even suggest that…

  2. opposablethumbs says

    What a fine mascot. Reminds me of one of the books my kids learned to count with when they were tiny, ¡Arañas, arañas por todas partes!
    It was very inspiring :-))))))))))))))))))))))) and the spiders clearly had the desired effect, as they both still count to this day.

  3. says

    There used to be two Major League Baseball teams in Cleveland: the Racist Name and the Cleveland Spiders from 1887 to 1899. The owners of Cleveland’s team should change the name but lack the decency. It’s a better name, no other pro team is using it, and the city has a history with the name. There’s no reason not to change. And it would make for a great logo.

    nomdeplume – You obviously weren’t around when it was octopi….

  4. says

    Don’t know if anyone has told you but there used to be a professional baseball team called the Cleveland Spiders. They are infamous for having the worst one-season winning percentage of any American professional team ever thanks to the worst owners ever. In their final season of 1899 they went 20-134 because their owners sold off all their good players to the St. Louis Browns, which they also owned.

  5. Kevin Karplus says

    With due respect to The Evergreen State College, geoducks are visually impressive, but otherwise uninteresting.

    Spiders make some interesting venoms and spider silk, but have rather unpleasant (for males) sexual habits.

    Banana slugs (Ariolimax dolichophallus: the long-penis slug for UCSC) are clearly the winners, as they are hermaphrodites, have penises as long as their bodies, copulate for up to 24 hours, and sometimes, if they get stuck, chew off either their partner’s penis or their own. They are only poisonous if they eat poisonous things, which they do tend to do.

  6. nomdeplume says

    @5 Yes, I was here for the flowering of PZ’s Octopus Period, and I was even here when he was wild about Zebra Fish! But I think the spider obsession has taken over his life. I mean, sure, I like spiders, like them a lot, even, but PZ has become the kind of arachnologist to whom everything looks like a spider.

  7. Grace says

    I still think Scottsdale Community College has the coolest mascot. They are the Fighting Artichokes.


  8. woozy says


    Spiders are sexy and cool. Just like every other mascot. Yawn.

    I’m still a banana slugger. If there is a less sexy uncool mascot, I’ve yet to hear of it. So…. Go Slugs! (but only if they want to and only at their own pace and at no cost to anyone else….)

  9. kmrobertson says

    The only downside to your choice is that the University of Richmond is a Baptist university…

  10. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I’ll stick to my alma mater’s rodent, known as the Beaver.
    The jingo it engendered keeps it as the golden mascot:
    Beavers are enginers of the animal world, & MIT graduates are animals of the engineering world.
    Class Rings emblazoned with the mascot known in slang as Th Brass Rat <giggles>

  11. archangelospumoni says

    Evergreen College’s fight song:
    Go, Geoducks go,
    Through the mud and the sand, let’s go.
    Siphon high, squirt it out,
    swivel all about, let it all hang out.

    Go, Geoducks go,
    Stretch your necks when the tide is low
    Siphon high, squirt it out,
    swivel all about, let it all hang out.

    My alma mater, Whitman College, used to be the “Fighting Missionaries” They tried to call us the Shockers for a while in the ’70s but nobody really paid attention or cared. Recently they changed to the “Blues.” Pffffbtthhhhh. They are near the Blue Mountains. Or maybe self-identify as a blue area in the red part of the state?

  12. blf says

    I didn’t attend UCSC, but did live in Santa Cruz for many yonks. Definitely a banana slugger, despite there being lots of spiders (and otters and redwoods and other lethal critters) in the area.