A state symbol can come in the form of state animals, mammals, a state bird and flower, amphibians, nicknames, songs, state seals, and much more.

State symbols were adopted by states to best represent them and their historical roots, their geological makeup, their past and present successes, and the ecosystem and habitats that make up the state. Like all other states, there are many California state symbols that have been adopted over the years.

What is the California State Animal?

California’s state animal is the California Grizzly Bear (Ursus californicus). It was 30 years after the last Grizzly was killed when California adopted the California Grizzly Bear as the official state animal in 1953.

The famous bear has been used for years to represent the state via the state animal, flag, and even state seal. Before the mass elimination of Grizzly Bears in California, this amazing animal would be seen around the state in abundance around the valleys and low mountains.

California state animal

Unfortunately, as the settlers began coming into the state and made it their home, the Grizzly Bears refused to move and relocate, and after they began to terrorize local settlements and kill livestock, the people of the state decided to exterminate them. Just 75 years after the discovery of gold, every single Grizzly Bear in the Golden State was tracked down and killed.

“The last one was killed in Tulare County in 1922, more than 20 years before the authority to regulate the taking of fish and wildlife was delegated to the California Fish and Game Commission by the State Legislature.” – a quote from the California Library. Since 1975, around the world, Grizzly Bears have been listed as threatened with extinction. In addition to the state animal, California also has a state insect.

Fun Facts About the California Grizzly Bear

The California grizzly bear has been a symbol of the state for many years, they are beloved by the natives as much as they were feared. Due to this, there are many fun facts about Grizzly bears that have been discovered over the years, let’s take a look.

  • Grizzly bears are apex predators.
  • They are subspecies of brown bears.
  • They are opportunistic eaters and hunters.
  • Grizzly bears are sole animals, however, they will get together to hunt for salmon.
  • Males can weigh up to 793 lbs (360 kg).
  • The hump on their back is a large muscle that controls their forearms.
  • Their claws can be up to 4 inches long, which are as long as humans.
  • They can run up to 30 mph.
  • Before they go into hibernation they will typically put on around 400 lbs (180 kg) in weight!
  • The mothers will protect their cubs with their lives.
  • They will look after and nurse their cubs for up to 3 years.
  • In Yellowstone national park, grizzly bears have been known to compete with wolves for their food.
  • Grizzly bears are more dangerous to humans than sharks are.

Since the numbers were virtually wiped out a number of years ago, they are now protected by law and the numbers of grizzlies have bounced back remarkably!

Final Thoughts

Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Golden State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in its state animal.

These interesting facts about California and a whole host of others are what makes the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there or are researching the historical events of the state.