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Here's Phil's forecast, as relayed at the annual ceremony: "Many shadows do I see: six more weeks of winter it must be."
Fun Groundhog Trivia Question:
Is Punxsutawney Phil the only Winter-Predicting Groundhog?
Correct Trivia Answer: b) No
Many towns that celebrate Groundhog Day throughout North America have winter-predicting groundhogs. By far, the most notable groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Other groundhogs of note include Buckeye Chuck, General Beauregard Lee, Staten Island Chuck, Wiarton Willie and Shubenacadie Sam.
Of the 22 groundhogs reporting in this year, 9 agreed with Phil’s predication of 6 more weeks of winter. Thirteen groundhogs predicted an early spring. Groundhog Day proponents state that the rodents' forecasts are accurate 75% to 90% of the time. A Canadian study for 13 cities in the past 30 to 40 years puts success rate level at 37%. Also, the National Climatic Data Center reportedly has stated that the overall predictions accuracy rate is around 39%.
Phil has now seen his shadow 100 times and hasn't seen it just 16 times since 1886, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle, which runs the event. There are no records for the remaining years.
Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow. If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole. If the day is cloudy and hence, shadow-less, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.
The celebration of Groundhog Day began with Pennsylvania's earliest settlers. They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states:
"For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May."
Growing Fame for the Most Popular Winter-Predicting Groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil
From offering support of political events, to rooting for area sports teams, to becoming the star of a Hollywood movie, Punxsutawney Phil has increasingly been in the public eye. Over the course of Phil's appearances, Phil has had numerous noteworthy highlights:
Phil and his furry friends enjoy feeding and burrowing on farms, lawns, gardens, orchards, nurseries, parks and sometimes dikes. While Punxsutawney Phil enjoys star notoriety, he and his 'whistle pig' friends can create unwanted damage and potentially dangerous potholes. When startled, a groundhog may emit a shrill whistle or alarm, preceded by a low, abrupt "phew." This is followed by a low, rapid warble that sounds like "tchuck, tchuck." The call is usually made when the animal is startled at the entrance of the burrow.
If a groundhog (a.k.a. woodchuck) or any other critter gets too close for comfort, call the professionals at Critter Control for assistance by dialing 1 800 CRITTER.
Specific diseases transmitted by wildlife can also be researched from our website.
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For animal removal, animal exclusion and animal damage repair services, call the professionals at CRITTER CONTROL anywhere in the U.S., by dialing 1-800-CRITTER (274-8837).
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