Whither UofM Mascot Pouncer the Tiger? 

April 1, 2024 — In a new development being rolled out today just as spring gets into full swing, University of Memphis mascot Pouncer the Tiger is being nudged aside to make room for a new mammalian as a mascot, one that is as resilient as the students attending the University.  

In honor of the most visible critter on the UofM campus, the small yet scrappy squirrel, the University is poised to adopt Nibbles as its new mascot.  

Dr. Cassandra Nuñez, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, explains the reasoning behind the pivot. 

“Although my research focuses on feral horse behavior and physiology and applying my findings to wildlife management, my true passion lies with the behavioral ecology of Eastern gray squirrels—the most common mammal on UofM’s campus,” said Nuñez. “In general, college campuses provide the ideal conditions for squirrels. The plethora of trees notwithstanding, students will often feed these animals; and even if they don’t, food scraps abound in garbage receptacles providing tasty treats—squirrels will happily eat cookies, cake and even ice cream. 

“Moreover, squirrels are highly intelligent, with rich social lives,” Nuñez continues. “The UofM squirrels are notable in that they will often sit together near open classroom windows, listening to lectures on topics ranging from the history of American music to the chemistry of smoked meats. Plus, much like us, they’ll wait in line for hours for some Chik-Fil-A—I think it’s the sauce.” 

Moving from the leaping Tiger to the flying squirrel will be a big adjustment, most of all for Pouncer, who was last seen tempting the easily distracted Nibbles with a slice of Garibaldis' pizza. 

It remains to be seen whether there can be a co-mascot scenario in the UofM’s future. Whatever the outcome, the University would like to remind everyone that once a Tiger, always a Tiger, even a squirrel named Nibbles who has danced its way into our hearts. 


Jennifer Godwin  
(m) 501.529.7482