Groundhog Day: Get To Know Your Furry Meteorologist
Groundhogs and Spring go hand in hand here in North America. The Marmota Monax, or the groundhog to most, is one of the most legendary rodents we know. Groundhogs roam from Alaska to Alabama, but Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil is perhaps the most well-known due to his own unwitting meteorological prowess. This started years before Bill Murray stole the spotlight with his movie aptly titled Groundhog Day.
Each year on February 2, several thousands of people wait for the infamous ground squirrel to emerge from his burrow and possibly be startled by his own shadow. If Punxsutawney Phil stays out, it means an early spring is imminent, but if he retreats back into his burrow, it’s six more weeks of winter.
However, like most human meteorologists, Punxsutawney Phil is sometimes wrong. The center found that since 1988, Punxsutawney Phil has been “right” only 10 times out of the 25, says the Detroit Free Press. Based on these groundhog-related results, the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina States:
“there is no predictive skill for the groundhog during the most recent years of the analysis.”
As reported last year by The Inquisitr, Punxsutawney Phil is very often wrong, but it’s more a tradition if anything.
Groundhogs make little effort to conceal themselves on your property. They can commonly be found out in the open in a patch of grass, or perching lazily atop a fence post. Sometimes they leave evidence, such as chewed wood with tooth markings like a rabbit, but bigger.
The groundhog has a few tricks up his furry sleeve when he has to forage, intermittently chewing on and burrowing under our decks, patios and trees. Groundhogs are quite happy to fatten up for most of the year, preparing for winter hibernation.
According to the Huffington Post, Suzie Prange, a wildlife research biologist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says:
“They’ll also eat crops and ornamental plants, and a lot of people don’t know they can actually climb trees quite well to eat cherries, apples and other fruits.”
In 2010, Punxsutawney Phil copped an attitude, biting Mayor Bloomberg’s hand, says The Inquisitr. Apparently, wood isn’t the only thing groundhogs will chew on given the opportunity.
So what do you think Punxsutawney Phil will do tomorrow on Bill Murray Day, or as we called it before the movie, Groundhog Day?