A Tradition Lives On: Punxsutawney Phil’s Groundhog Day!
Spring is here!
He came, he saw, he pronounced, and with an 80% success rate, we hope he’s right in his prediction of winter lasting less than 6 more weeks. Who are we talking about? Well, Punxsutawney Phil of course, the venerable ground hog that we pull from his underground bunker every February so that he can tell us how many more days of frigid temperatures we have to endure.
This tradition of Ground Hog Day, celebrated every year on February 2nd started in the 18th century in the western part of Pennsylvania. The tradition had thrived and was relatively celebrated but in 1983 when the movie Groundhog Day was released, the tradition was thrust into the national spotlight and now regardless of whether you live in Texas, Tennessee or Tallahassee you know a little something about Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow. Just for the record, if it’s cloudy out, he does not see his shadow and therefore a short winter is ahead of us. If it’s sunny, he sees his shadow and we need to hunker down for six more weeks of the cold stuff.
I mentioned to a friend that Phil has an 80% success rate of predicting the length of winter and he very rightly pointed out that the groundhog has a higher percentage success rate than your run-of-the-mil meteorologist who on any given day will predict blazing sunshine and leave you totally unprepared for the inevitable downpour.
If you are like most of us and thinking that groundhogs are the cutest thing ever, it is not advisable to take that any further and try to keep them as pets. They belong in the wild and do not adjust well to living in a house. They hibernate all winter and in the spring they are ravenously hungry and the males are looking for a mate. These are not house friendly animals. So it’s best to leave them in the ground, their natural habitat, and just enjoy their weather predicting abilities every February.
But while we celebrate the shadow of this famous groundhog, there are others that might need our help. To find out more about groundhogs and the rescue and rehabilitation of groundhogs, you can contact the Wild Baby Rescue Center. This New Jersey-based non-profit organization is dedicated to the preservation of wildlife through education, rehabilitation, and release.