California State Bat

California has various “state” emblems, so that the quail is the state bird and the poppy is the state flower, and so on. The Sabertooth Cat (Smilodon fatalis) is the state fossil. There is even a state lichen.

As of October 2023 there is now a state bat, the Pallid Bat, Antrozous pallidus. That’s fine–it’s a good-looking bat, and the battle against scorpions is a fun story to tell when I give nature talks–but one also wonders, why not California Myotis? Or the Greater Mastiff Bat, largest bat in North America, to tie in with having coastal and interior redwoods, tallest and largest (respectively)?

It makes one think of what other states need bats. The Indiana Bat should obviously be the one for Indiana, and the Florida Bonneted Bat for Florida. Keene’s Myotis for Washington State? Hawaii does have one, the endemic form of Hoary Bat. Hey, you other US states, wake up. You are falling behind in the bat naming arms race.

Charles Hood

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