'Keep your paws over there!' Sochi Olympic mascots cozy up to TODAY anchors

By Scott Stump

Some call them creepy, but the Olympic mascots showed during a visit to TODAY on Monday that they're playful, energetic, and, um, very, very friendly. 

"They may have to take out a restraining order on the polar bear with Natalie,'' Matt Lauer said, as the fuzzy symbols of the Sochi Games got a little close for comfort.

The three Olympic mascots — a hare, a leopard, and a bear — spread the love among the TODAY anchors while also showing off their dance moves and running amok on the set. 

Don't mind that furry leopard running in the background, Savannah. Today

There wasn't even any music playing when this was happening. Today

Luckily, they found their way to the set despite some earlier difficulties. 

The mascots also managed to avoid any giant-head-not-fitting-through-the-car-door delays that they have recently endured. The bear was recently spotted spending two minutes trying to wedge its head into a car, only to switch gears to Plan B and go horizontally into the back seat in order to fit. 

The bear, known as Bely Mishka and dubbed the "Nightmare Bear" around the Internet, was clearly the most outgoing of all the mascots on Monday. He initially made a grab for Natalie Morales before Willie Geist intervened. The bear then went to hug Willie around the waist, who quickly hopped away after things got a little handsy. 

Willie Geist ran some interference for Natalie Morales after the Olympic bear mascot got a little too close for comfort. Today

"Keep your paws over there, bear!" Al Roker said. 

The bear didn't leave Al out, as he playfully removed Al's hat and rubbed his bald head before Al relented and gave him a hug. 

Al gets a furry greeting from Bely Mishka, the Sochi bear mascot. Today

"I think he's been hibernating a little too long,'' Al said during the third hour of TODAY. "He came out of the cave."

The three Sochi mascots greeted guests and snapped photos backstage at TODAY on Monday when they weren't catching a much-needed break. Steve Veres / Today

"He was looking for a honeypot,'' Natalie said. "I think they gave him a talking-to because then he calmed down a little bit."