On November 30, 1965, the Anteater was officially chosen in a student election as the mascot of UC Irvine, and "Zot!" the cry that an anteater was imagined to make when attacking its prey, became the campus battle cry. The choice was hailed for its originality, winning over the second place choice "None of these" and the more common – if less imaginative – Eagles, Unicorns and Seahawks.
Inspired by Johnny Hart's comic strip, "B.C.," the anteater was, at first, not very well received by member of campus administration who felt it was too "far out" and undignified to represent the campus. Some speculated that the anteater would not last. But the student body was behind the long-nosed, furry mammal all the way, and 40 years later, the Anteaters still prevail.
The campus convenience stores are called "Zot 'n Go," and when the Administration sends e-mail announcements to the campus community, they send it via "Zotmail." And perhaps the biggest endorsement of them all: a sign at John Wayne International Airport reads "Welcome to Anteater Country."
University of California, Irvine, collection on the Anteater mascot and other university symbols. AS-144. Box 1 (1965-1966, Schuyler Hadley Bassett Interview) and Box 2 (Folder 3) Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Accessed Oct. 20, 2017.
Photograph: University Communications Photographs. AS-061, Box 35. University of California, Irvine Libraries. Special Collections and Archives.