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Not everyone wants lions and tigers and bears as their school mascot. Some high schools choose mascots that honor their local heritage, others have nicknames that just stuck.

Above, the mascot for Southwestern High in Piasa, Ill. marches in a parade Washington D.C. The school's mascot is the Piasa bird, a Native American dragon depicted in a painting on a cliff in the region where the school is located. The rock painting of the mythical monster was recorded in the diary of Father Jacques Marquette in 1673 when he was exploring the area. Marquette wrote the Piasa "was as large as a calf with horns like a deer, red eyes, a beard like a tiger's, a face like a man, the body covered with green, red and black scales and a tail so long it passed around the body, over the head and between the legs."

A bird that devours men can be pretty intimidating as a mascot. Other mascots, maybe not so much, but their schools carry their nicknames with pride.

Here are some pretty unusual high-school mascots, culled from ShareRanks and USA Today's mascot contest.

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