For most people, it’s probably been a while since you last got excited about the designs on U.S. currency. Maybe you started collecting the special state quarters when you were younger, but we’re guessing that most of the collection eventually ended up in a laundromat.
Recently, one of the new 2020 quarters has been getting some attention online, and it might not be for the best reason. The first new quarter of 2020 has a unique design featuring a couple of fruit bats. But why does the 2020 quarter have a bat on it?
Why does the 2020 quarter have a bat on it?
Those two little bats on the new U.S. quarter have some people looking for conspiracies. As you may already know, scientists believe that the coronavirus behind the current COVID-19 pandemic most likely originated from wildlife — specifically, bats. The furry, flying bug-eaters have gotten a pretty bad rap lately (not like they were many people’s favorite animal before), and it seems as though the hits are just going to keep on coming. Honestly, that’s sort of a perfect way to sum up 2020 already!
Obviously, some people are freaking out about the fact that bats are on quarters during a time when a disease that (probably) originated from bats is wreaking havoc on the world. Bats are behind the coronavirus. Bats are on the money. Coincidence? Well… yeah. It’s a coincidence.
The 2020 quarters featuring bats are part of the America the Beautiful Quarters program.
That’s right, we have programs for our money. The America the Beautiful Quarters program began back in 2010. Every year since then, the U.S. Treasury has minted several different quarter designs depicting national parks and other national sites. The first America the Beautiful Quarter for 2020 happens to be for the National Park of American Samoa.
And the National Park of American Samoa happens to be the only park in the United States that is home to the Samoan fruit bat — hence the design. According to the U.S. Mint website, “the design is intended to promote awareness to the species’ threatened status due to habitat loss and commercial hunting.”
It’s also worth noting that new designs for U.S. currency are planned way ahead of time — the designs have already been released for the first new quarter of 2021 (assuming we haven’t experienced an apocalypse and resorted to trading bottle caps by then). It’s not like the Treasury made the bat quarters in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the bat quarters first went into circulation at the beginning of February, prior to when pandemic-y stuff really started getting bananas.
In other words, it really is just a weird coincidence that the bat quarters came out during a time when bats are getting some side-eye from the world at large. That being said, if you’re looking for animals to avoid in the future, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve quarter (due to go into circulation in November of 2020) features the Regal Fritillary butterfly. If a butterfly-related disease ends up causing trouble later this year, maybe those conspiracy theorists are onto something.
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading the coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.