The bat’s official designation as a state emblem is more than just a coincidence as Halloween approaches but more so because bats play a significant role in the state’s agriculture.
Bats eats “many pest species, including those contributing to health risks such as mosquitoes, wasps, and flies. A female bat nursing her young will eat more than two-thirds of her body weight in insects and arthropods every night,” according to the bill’s text.
Bats statewide also provide “more than $1,000,000,000 worth of pest control to California agriculture.”
State Sen. Caroline Menjivar, D-Los San Fernando Valley, authored the legislation inspired by one of her constituents.
“I had a constituent of my district from Granada Hills come up to me when she was 12 years old and she did a presentation all on her own and said, this is why I think we need to protect our bats,” Menjivar told KTLA.
“These are the benefits and I think California should have our state bat to be the pallid bat because of their golden fur, which matches the Golden State.”
Menjivar also said that she and her constituent, Naomi, took a trip to Yolo County in Northern California to visit the animal, which is native to the western U.S. regions, including California.
The bats are “as diverse as Californians and can live in the state’s deserts, oak woodlands, coastal redwood forests, and high up into the pine forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains,” according to the bill’s text.
Other lawmakers, who were on the fence about approving the bill, also joined the trip to see the animal and learned more about its importance to California.
While bats typically have a bad reputation for being ugly or gross, Menjivar hopes the new law will help educate Californians on the pallid bat’s importance to the state.
“The bats helped provide savings in terms of $1 billion for farmers because of the pests they eat,” Menjivar said. “Every night, a bat goes out and eats all these types of pesticides and insects which amount to half of their little weight and therefore, they’re able to help remove farmers’ reliance on harmful chemicals when it comes to pesticide control.”
Bats can also live up to 40 years and typically raise one pup yearly.
Once the bill was passed and signed into law, Menjivar shared the news with Naomi, who is now 13 years old.
“She was instrumental in getting this bill passed and she was with me every step of the way,” Menjivar said. “I owe this bill to her and we’re looking forward to bringing a copy of the signed bill back to her.”