Ban Groundhog Day – Let Those Woodchucks Sleep!
By Chris Williams on February 1, 2017.
Groundhog Day is one of the stranger American celebrations, if you can call it that. It’s more of a media event. Old guys dressed up in top hats and tails grab poor Punxsutawney Phil from his den. Phil blinks sleepily into the cameras. Words are said, weather predictions are made, and the event is over until next year. Since Groundhog Day has been celebrated in Gobblers Knob, Pennsylvania since 1887, we can be pretty sure that this won’t be the last one.
Punxsatawney Phil Gets All the Glory!
Punxsatawney Phil is not the only celebrity groundhog, although he is clearly the most famous. On February 2, at least five other semi-famous groundhogs will make their seasonal predictions for local fans and media:
- Buckeye Chuck – He hails from Marion, Ohio and was named Ohio’s state groundhog in 1979.
- Dunkirk Dave – Dave is the second-longest to serve as a groundhog weather predictor. He lives with Bob, his handler, in Dunkirk, New York. Dave overshadows another lesser-known New York groundhog, Staten Island Chuck.
- Sir Walter Wally – He is a year-round resident of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences where he teaches weather awareness to all ages at all times.
- Chattanooga Chuck – A compatriot of Sir Walter Wally, this Chuck is a resident of the Tennessee Aquarium where he is Chief Seasonal Forecaster.
- General Beauregard Lee – This Georgia General has received honorary doctorates from both the University of Georgia (Ph.D. in Weather Prognostication) and from Georgia State University (Doctor of Southern Groundology).
Woodchucks Are Only Cute When They’re Sleeping
Here in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, we prefer not to harass our hibernating groundhogs (we call them “woodchucks”). It’s one of the few times when they are quiet and not causing trouble. From late fall until late February or March, our woodchucks are hibernating, snoozing away in their dens (see Yes, Woodchucks Do Too Hibernate).
Like children, woodchucks can be cute when they’re sleeping. But we know that it won’t be too long before that sleeping woodchuck will be digging up your garden seedlings and burrowing under your screened-in porch (see Damage Caused by Woodchucks). When that happens, call Colonial Pest.
For now, Ssshhhh…let those woodchucks sleep.
Photo Credit : By Anthony Quintano – http://www.flickr.com/photos/quintanomedia/8437246171/, CC BY 2.0, Link