These fascinating facts about Groundhog Day, and the furry critters we celebrate each February, are not to be missed.
First, groundhogs are terrible weather forecasters.
According to the Groundhog Day myth, winter will last six more weeks if a groundhog can see its shadow on February 2. The numbers show that Punxsutawney Philip’s seasonal forecasters are accurate to a 100 percent level. Stormfax estimates that Phil has a 39% success rate in forecasting since 1887.
This is only 2 percent more than the average groundhog success ratio of 37 percent. The Canadian groundhog study found that the most accurate hog-nosticators had a 50% accuracy rate in Yellowknife. A gambler would do better flipping a coin.
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Groundhog Day Facts
Groundhogs possess a secret talent that is unique.
What do groundhogs and sleazy builders have in common? Both groundhogs whistle at potential partners. This strange adaptation is why groundhogs are known as “whistle pigs” (and day labourers simply as “pigs”). These are some of the most memorable Groundhog Day mishaps.
You may also call them by other names.
Groundhogs belong to a large group of ground squirrels called marmots. However, they are also known as land beavers or woodchucks. Scientific American says that the last moniker is not related to wood. It is believed that it was taken from Algonquian names for the same animal, “what”.
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Groundhogs can be vegetarians.
Groundhog Diet is mainly grass, herbs and plants such as dandelions, daisies and goldenrods. Groundhogs are also good at looking after human crops like corn and carrots. They do eat tree bark occasionally, just like woodchucks. Find out more about famous groundhogs which aren’t Punxsutawney Phil.
They call North America their home.
Groundhogs are most common in the east and the central United States. However, they can be found in Canada and Alaska. Groundhogs will usually settle near the edge of forests or woods and then dig underground burrows. You may see them climbing trees.
They are great architects.
Groundhogs can build impressive homes. Underground burrows can contain multiple rooms with different purposes. These include a sleeping chamber and nursery chamber, and waste chamber (what we would refer to as a bathroom). The burrow’s length can be anywhere from 8 to 66 feet. These superpowers are also available to you.
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Their favourite pastime is sleeping.
Groundhogs are the most dedicated animal to hibernating. They are known as “true Hibernators” and snooze from late autumn to early winter or spring. This can lead to up to six months of deep sleep, depending on where they live. Their body temperature can drop to below 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit), and their heartbeats slow from 80 to five beats per minute. Bill Murray was disgusted by Groundhog Day.
They are surprisingly romantic.
Despite their hibernation schedules, evidence shows that male groundhogs get up early after about three months to search for potential mates. A territory with several female burrows is typical territory for a male groundhog. National Geographic was told by Stam Zervanos (retired professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University). “And there’s some competition.
“They defend that territory, and they go burrow-to-burrow to find out whether that female is still there.” Groundhogs visit females from February to March and then return to sleep until the mating season begins in March. Relationships before sleep? This is what we call dedication. These monogamous animals are a great way to find mates for your entire life.
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Groundhog Day wasn’t always called that.
This old English rhyme can be used if you don’t manage to find a groundhog for February 2.
Candlemas should be bright and fair
Winter, come on, take another flight
Candlemas may bring rain and clouds.
Get out of Winter.
The modern Groundhog Day was born from Europe’s Candlemas Day. It is a celebration of light, both literal (the days get longer) and spiritual (Candlemas refers to Jesus’ first visit to Jerusalem’s Temple). An old knight’s tale says that Candlemas weather will be opposite to six weeks from now. Yet, centuries later, some lines of scientifically suspect poetry still form the basis for an annual holiday. These silly holidays are worth celebrating.
Groundhogs weren’t always the holiday’s most beloved animal.
Candlemas is roughly halfway between the spring and winter solstices. However, the name of the animal weatherman has changed from one culture to the next. Penn State University Libraries records show that medieval cults loved bears. They held parties at their dens, dressed up in grizzly clothes, and waited for the bear to emerge from hibernation to check the weather. English and German Catholics shared a similar tradition of sacred badgers. In the early 1800s, Pennsylvania’s German settlers could not find badgers. The colonists changed their old-country tradition to a more plentiful New World animal: the groundhog. Find out how accurate Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions are.
Groundhogs are not allowed to be eaten.
The Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper announced the first official Groundhog Day celebration on February 2, 1886. The Groundhog Club hosted it, a group made up of elders from the town. Marmots were not only furry meteorologists to this club; they were considered a delicacy. The club also hosted a Groundhog Day picnic and hunt. The menu included cooked groundhog meat, described by locals as “a mix between chicken and pork”, and “groundhog punch,” which is a mixture of vodka, milk and eggs. Punxsutawney Philip, a groundhog, was born in 1887. He has avoided the dinner table for more than 100 years, according to his handlers.
Punxsutawney Phil is immortal – allegedly.
Groundhogs can live up to six to eight years in nature. Punxsutawney Philip, the official Groundhog Day celebration in America and the costar of the hit movie Groundhog Day, has lived since 1887. According to his website, so. What is Phil’s remarkable 134-year career? The magic elixir is, known as “groundhog punch”, is again being used. It’s not the same vodka-egg recipe that its original authors made. The Punxsutawney Groundhog club’s legend-keepers claim that Phil drinks one glass of groundhog punch each summer. This instantly grants him seven more years of life. This is the antithesis of vodka. These immortal animals can live forever.
What is the fun of an “immortal marmot?” Read and drink
Phil has seen a lot over the past century and is not as protected as you would expect from someone who lives with their heads in the ground. Phil threatened to make Prohibition a more difficult time by threatening to have 60 additional weeks of winter if he didn’t get a drink. Phil has seen a significant decrease in his temperature over the past few years. We can probably thank his wife, Phyllis, for this. Phil and Phyllis live together at Punxsutawney Memory Library, where they spend the 364 days that are not spent searching for their shadows.
Groundhog Day saw tourism in Gobbler’s Knob skyrocketing.
Although Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney Phil’s home, has seen its fair share of tourists every Groundhog Day since it began, Bill Murray and his holiday film put it on the map. Groundhog Day was released in 1993, and Gobbler’s Knob saw crowds of up to 35,000 people on February 2. (In comparison, Punxsutawney’s population was less than 7k). Phil was invited to appear on The Oprah Winfrey show two years later. These famous animals have changed the course of history.