The Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee wants YOU to embrace the Hawaiian hoary bat as your official state land mammal. Granted, it’s not as cute and cuddly as the monk seal, our current state animal, but here in Hawaii the pickings are slim. So slim, in fact, that the Hawaiian hoary bat is the only candidate for this empty position because it is the state’s only endemic land animal.
“This is not a new idea,” explains Republican State Sen., Sam Slom, creator of Senate Bill 878 on Hawaiian hoary bats. “We’ve been trying to get this [the designation of a state animal] changed for three years, but the monk seal has better publicity. It’s hard to compete with those cute little fins and big, brown eyes.”
However, Slom and hoary bat fans (think Batman fanatics and vampire enthusiasts) are in luck because last week SB 878 received a unanimous thumbs up in a committee vote.
Both the Hawaiian hoary bat and the monk seal are endemic to Hawaii–in fact, they are the only two native mammals on the island–but only one of them can truly be considered a land mammal, says Sen. Slom. Although a monk seal is a mammal, it’s a special type of mammal called a pinniped, which means that it’s fin-footed and semi-aquatic.