DC might go batty: Public hearing to be held on naming little brown bat as official ‘state’ mammal

The little brown bat could become the “state” mammal of D.C. (Getty Images)

A mouse eared microbat with two sets of teeth could be D.C.’s official “state” mammal.

In January, the D.C. council will hold a public hearing on efforts to designate the little brown bat as the official “state” mammal in D.C.

The legislation, filed earlier this year, describes the bat as a species found in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including on Kingman Island, which sits on the Anacostia River.

The legislation would make the little brown bat the “state” mammal of the District, despite little official movement on the issue of D.C. statehood.

The bat likes to feast on flying bugs like mosquitoes, flies, beetles, and moths along the edge of wetlands like the Anacostia and the Potomac Rivers and can eat up to 1,200 of them in a night, according to the legislation.

But all these bugs don’t exactly pack on the pounds. It only has a wingspan of 8 to 11 inches and only weighs up to 14 grams.

And they’re fast too. The little brown bat can fly up to 22 miles per hour.

The legislation adds that the current population of the little brown bats has been decimated by White-Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease.

In 2018, the International Union for Conservation of Nature identified the little brown bat as an endangered species as the fungal disease caused a loss of more than 90% of the little brown bat population in the U.S.

The legislation states that three troops of the Girl Scouts of the Capitol Hill Cluster School recently studied the mammals and proposed that the DC Council adopt the bats as the official mammal of D.C.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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