California has officially named the Pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus) as the state’s official bat through Senate Bill No. 732, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 8. The bill, authored by State Senator Caroline Menjivar, celebrates the Pallid bat’s contributions to the state’s ecosystem.
The Pallid bat plays a crucial role in pest control by feeding on insects such as mosquitos, wasps, and flies. Bats collectively provide over $1 billion worth of pest control to California’s agriculture industry. Additionally, they consume bark beetles and wood borers, contributing to the reduction of wildfire risk in the state’s forests.
These bats are native to various ecosystems in California, including deserts, oak woodlands, coastal redwood forests, and the pine forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Recognizable by their pale golden color and distinctive large ears, Pallid bats are medium-sized and can be spotted patrolling the state’s night skies. They live in colonies and communicate through a language of calls.
The designation of the Pallid bat as the official state bat received support from wildlife and bat advocacy groups. This recognition aims to promote appreciation, study, and protection of bats in California, highlighting their importance in maintaining the state’s ecological balance.