A Homage To Our Mascot: Sammy the Slug

(Photo courtesy: Pamela Avila)

What is slimy, vibrantly yellow, and cute as a button? UC Santa Cruz's very own Banana Slug! The Banana Slug, commonly found on the redwood forest floor, first started off as the unofficial mascot for UCSC's coed teams since the university's founding years. 

However, before the Banana Slug became UCSC's official mascot, the university struggled with juggling two different mascots. UCSC's chancellor at the time, Robert Sinsheimer, deicided to make the sea lions mascot in 1980. But after years of dealing with a two-mascot problem, students voted to make the Banana Slug the official mascot. In 1986, Sammy the Slug became our official mascot!

In June 2015, Sammy the Slug will celebrate 29 years as the official mascot of UCSC!

Fun facts about the banana slug:

1. The banana slug is a common name for three North American species of terrestrial slug.

2. There are three types of species within the genus Ariolimax (banana slug): Ariolimax californicus (California banana slug), Ariolimax columbianus (Pacific banana slug), and Ariolimax dolichophallus (Slender banana slug)

3. They are often yellow in color or spotted with brown (kind of like an overripe banana!) 

4. The Pacific banana slug is the second-largest species of terrestrial slug.

5. But, the largest slug species is Limax cinereoniger of Europe. It can reach 30 centimetres (12 in.) in length! 

6. In 2008,  ESPN named it one of the 10 best college basketball mascots!

7. Four years earlier, Reader's Digest named it the best mascot in the universe!