Florida Mascots of 10 Popular Colleges

From gators to birds, learn more about Florida mascots at the state's most popular colleges and universities.
portrait of Doug Wintemute
Doug Wintemute
Read Full Bio


Doug Wintemute is a writer who focuses on higher learning and entertainment. Since 2014, he has contributed to content and editorial work for award-winning publications. He completed his BA and MA in English at York University, graduating summa cum l...
Published on October 9, 2023
Edited by
portrait of Danika Miller
Danika Miller
Read Full Bio

Writer & Editor

Danika Miller is a senior writer at BestColleges and Accredited Schools Online. Her writing has also appeared in Grad School Hub, Best Value Schools, Affordable Colleges Online, and Her Campus. Her financial expertise has been featured in The Simple ...
Learn more about our editorial process

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

College mascots capture their school's identity and spirit within a single entity. They symbolize school values, carry on traditions, and provide entertainment wherever they go. Some schools adopt living mascots, while others use costumed characters.

What's more, many mascots stick with colleges and universities for decades — sometimes even going on to become the most permanent members of a school.

Below, we get to know Florida mascots from some of the most popular colleges in the state.

1. University of Florida Mascot: Albert & Alberta Gator

For nearly 70 years, the University of Florida mascot — an alligator named Albert — has amped up the crowd at the school's biggest sporting events.

Beginning as a real alligator in 1957, Albert eventually began donning a fuzzy costume in 1970. In 1986, Alberta Gator joined his side to help him get the crowds loud and engaged.

Albert and Alberta are best known for orchestrating the Two Bits chant before home games and dancing on the sidelines. You can even follow Albert on Instagram.

2. University of Miami Mascot: Sebastian the Ibis

Since 1957, Sebastian the Ibis has been a mainstay at the University of Miami's sporting events. An unofficial school mascot since the 1920s, the ibis was chosen because the marsh bird is said to take shelter last and return first during hurricanes — the college's team nickname.

Sebastian can be found leading Miami football players onto the field, playing in the school band, and showing off his flexibility by spelling out "C-A-N-E-S" with his body.

Follow Sebastian on X, Instagram, and Facebook for the latest photos and updates.

3. University of South Florida Mascot: Rocky the Bull

Though he technically got his start as a toy idea and cartoon, Rocky the Bull — the University of South Florida mascot — began to really take shape in the 1970s. Rocky has undergone many changes over the years, including a costume redesign in 2003, but he remains a staple at major school and sporting events.

Every year, students show their appreciation to Rocky at his birthday bash during USF Week. Keep tabs on Rocky through his official Instagram account.

Featured Online Programs

4. University of Central Florida Mascot: Knightro and Pegasus

UCF welcomed several official and unofficial mascots before settling on Knightro. Starting out as an unnamed knight at the school's sporting events, Knightro finally got his name in 1995. He also has his own Instagram account you can follow.

Today, Knightro leads the choreographed team entrance on game days alongside UCF Knight and Pegasus — official mascots who predate Knightro by nearly two decades. These two mascots formed in the 1980s when the late Burt Reynolds donated a black Arabian horse to the school.

5. Florida Atlantic University Mascot: Owlsey and Hoot

Owls have been present on FAU's campus long before the school's founding in 1964. In the 1980s, when FAU launched its athletics program, the owl became its official mascot. However, Owlsley didn't come to be until 2011, when the university opened its new stadium.

In 2019, Hoot was introduced as the second Florida Atlantic mascot. These two owls spread school spirit and cheer during pre-game ceremonies and in-game activities.

Keep up to date on their antics through their shared Instagram account.

6. Florida State University Mascot: Chief Osceola and Renegade

In 1947, Florida State University adopted the name "Seminoles" for the Indigenous Seminole Tribe of Florida. After years of inaccurate and offensive depictions of the Seminole people, the Florida State mascot was reimagined with the help and support of the Florida Seminoles.

In 1978, Chief Osceola and Renegade were unveiled as school symbols rather than mascots. The school envisions these icons as representative of its spirit and diversity.

7. Florida International University Mascot: Roary the Panther

In 1987, Roary the Panther was named as FIU's mascot, retiring his oft-maligned predecessor, the Sunblazer. Not only does Roary perform at the school's home games, but he also throws a birthday celebration during Homecoming Week and participates in community outreach and volunteer activities.

Follow Roary on Instagram for updates, not to mention funny campus pics.

8. Jacksonville University Mascot: Nellie the Dolphin

Though it carried the Dolphins name because of its proximity to the ocean, Jacksonville University spent three decades without a mascot. In the 1970s, the school adopted Nellie, a famous dolphin known for her acrobatics at Marineland and for her commercial work.

Until her death in 2019, Nellie was the oldest dolphin in human care and the oldest living college mascot. These days, the costumed Dunkin the Dolphin can be seen on Jacksonville's campus and at school sporting events.

9. Florida A&M University Mascot: Rattler

The Florida A&M University mascot hasn't always been the Rattler, but it's the first and current mascot. In 1891, when the school relocated to the Highwood Plantation, it adopted the rattlesnake as its symbol because of how many snakes inhabited the land.

More than 130 years later, the Rattler — sometimes called Venom — symbolizes the fighting spirit and tenacity of Florida A&M's students and sports teams.

10. Stetson University Mascot: John B.

The Stetson University mascot has long worn a Stetson hat in honor of the school's benefactor and cowboy hat inventor, John B. Stetson. Nevertheless, the mascot didn't officially take the John B. name until 2012.

In his oversized hat, John B. appears at sporting and community events, cracking a whip and livening up the crowd.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.