Help Identify Miami’s Totemic Animal

Miami’s a tough challenge for a totemic animal – this place is a melting pot of not-very-melted elements. It’s South but not Southern. Cosmopolitan but, as the joke says, ‘so close to the United States’. Urban and sunbelt sprawl. And it could all be underwater in a couple of generations.

So. inspired by Sarah Lyall, Our Mascot Won’t Wear Wellies – Who Needs Paddington? Seeking a Mascot for New York City, I invite suggestion for Miami’s totemic animal.

Here are a few candidates to prime the pump:

  1. The alligator. Gator
    Case for
    : We got lots of ’em. Can swim. Lots of sharp shiny teeth. It’s tough, it hangs around.  Lazes around most of the day, but can be really fast when it sees something it wants.
    Case against: Wrong sort of lounge lizard. Lives in the Everglades, not Miami. Too stupid.  Not just native to the region, has been around for millions of years unlike majority of locals who were born in another country. Totemic animal of U.F., which has nothing to do with South Florida.

  2. The pitbull.
    Case for:  Lots of sharp shiny teeth. It’s tough, and hangs around.
    Staffordshire Bull Terrier brindle portrait by Gemma Longman - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

     Case against:  Can’t sing.  Too much of a horn dog.
  3. The Ibis.
    Case for: We got lots of ’em. Flighty. Can swim.

    Case against: Small one gets confused with a duck. No teeth. Larger one scares small children. Larger one is already UM’s mascot, can’t do double-duty.

  4. BurnieThe Burnie.
    Case for: You look at it and think, what the Hell is that?  Has been described as “the Philly Phantic on an acid trip” which nods to Miami’s drug culture.
    Case against: Dumbest-looking mascot in the NBA. Already belongs to Miami Heat. Doesn’t even have a mouth, much less teeth.

  5. The Burmese Python.
    Copyright Todd Pierson 2008Case for: An exotic alien species destroying the local ecosystem. Semi-aquatic. Not only has teeth but can eat an alligator.
    Case against: Not named the Miami Python. It would be OK if it were called the Cuban Python, but Burma is just too remote from Miami.

What do you think our totemic animal should be?

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