The Pallid Bat May Soon Become California’s Official State Bat | Cal Parks
Published: June 27, 2023

UPDATE: The Pallid bat has officially been chosen as California's official state bat! Senate Bill 732, which introduced this endeavor was officially approved by Governor October 8, 2023. 

Thanks to a Bay Area wildlife ecologist, a 12-year-old advocate, a state senator, and wildlife advocates, California may get a new official state symbol this year, our very own state bat — the Pallid bat

Pallid Bat (Antrozous pallidus):
Pallid Bat (Antrozous pallidus)

What is a State Symbol:

California has many symbols that represent our state; from our most iconic, such as our state colors (blue and gold), state animal (California grizzly bear), state flower (California golden poppy), and state bird (California valley quail); to lesser known state symbols, such as our state dinosaur (Augustynolophus morrisi), state fabric (denim), and state dance (West Coast swing dancing).  

Set by state law, California's State Symbols provide significant natural, cultural, and historical meaning to represent California, from plant species to marine life, from songs to nicknames, and now our newest consideration — a state bat!

Why A State Bat?:

The majority of bat species consume a large number of insects daily. A female bat nursing her young will eat more than two-thirds of her body weight in insects and arthropods every night. This protects us from mosquito-born illnesses such as Zika and West Nile virus. Their diet also works as a natural pest control method, saving farmers and California agriculture billions of dollars' worth of crops.  

Bats can also add to the climate resilience of our environment by eating bark beetles and wood borers, helping keep trees healthy and reduce the risk of wildfires in forests.   

Bats have a long life span — up to 40 years — and typically raise just one pup a year. This low birth rate makes their populations particularly vulnerable to disruptions like humans encroaching on their habitat and climate change. As bat populations in California are rapidly declining, recognizing their role in the ecosystem becomes increasingly critical for their survival.   

Designating an official state bat will help people recognize bats' importance and encourage them to appreciate, study, and protect these creatures.    

What is SB 732; Who is the author? 

When Senator Caroline Menjivar (D-San Fernando Valley) introduced Senate Bill 732 to name the Pallid bat as the California State Bat, it was the culmination of six years of effort, starting with ecologist Dr. Dave Johnston and ending with Naomi D’Alessio, a 12-year-old advocate and co-author of the bill. 
Naomi became interested in bats when she and her father took a California bat natural history class at San Francisco State University in 2022. At the time, Naomi's mother had worked on Menjivar's campaign, having the space to bring attention to Menjivar about the pallid bat. We most recently heard from Naomi at the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee hearing on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

Naomi D’Alessio, at the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee hearing on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

Why The Pallid Bat?: 

The Pallid bat’s (Antrozous pallidus) “golden fur color is perfect for our Golden state,” said Naomi D’Alessio during the hearing.  
They are really amazing animals. They are immune to the venom of scorpions, one of their favorite meals. They are also one of the few bats in the world that are omnivores, as they also enjoy the fruits and nectar of cacti in California’s desert.”  
Pallid bats are also as diverse as Californians – living in various ecosystems from California’s deserts, oak woodlands, coastal redwood forests, and high up into the pine forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains. As highly social creatures, they live in colonies and have a rich language of calls to communicate with one another. Their calls, the food they eat, and how they catch it vary within and between different communities of pallid bats around the state.

Pallid Bats roosting together. Geoff Gallice, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Our Position on SB 732:

At California State Parks Foundation, we proudly support Senate Bill 732. We understand that bats are tremendously beneficial — especially because of their voracious appetites for pests like mosquitoes and bark beetles. However, because of low birth rates, bats are vulnerable to habitat disruption from climate change and development.  

Bats are an important part of California's ecosystem, with many habitats within state park boundaries. Naming this species as the official state bat will promote the protection of bats in California. (Plus, look at those cute long ears!). 


Senate Bill (SB) 732 summary: This bill would establish the Pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus) as the official state bat. (Full bill text)  

Watch the full Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee hearing: (Hearing for SB 732: start time 34:53 — 45:36):

Read our Legislative Agenda and learn how we are protecting California’s state parks and the wildlife that depend on them:


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