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Groundhog predicts six more wintery weeks, not an early spring

The annual celebration of solitary rodent weather forecasting happened on Feb. 2 as the Groundhog Day tradition continued. Unfortunately the groundhog saw its shadow meaning six more weeks of winter. If it hadn’t seen its shadow then it would have predicted an early spring.

The groundhog may see his shadow on Feb. 2.

Known by many names

About the size of a cat and found only in North America, the groundhog is also referred to as a groundpig, whistlepig, whistler, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, monax, moonack, weenusk, red monk, land beaver, and, among French Canadians in eastern Canada, siffleux.

Extremely intelligent animal

Groundhogs form complex social networks, understand social behavior, form kinship with their young, understand and communicate threats through whistling, and work cooperatively to solve tasks such as burrowing.

Celebrity groundhog

People around the nation watch Punxsutawny Phil in Pennsylvania on Groundhog Day. Many “Phils” have come and gone in the 150 years since the tradition began since groundhogs only live about six years in the wild and about 14 years in captivity.

Immigrant tradition

German immigrants brought their celebration of Candlemas to America and added the groundhog to replace the hedgehog that was the representation of the holiday in Europe. The historical observance featured people bringing candles to church and how long the candles burned would signify how long winter would last.

Iconic movie

But if watching the actual groundhog doesn’t bring you out of your burrow, try the iconic 1993 film “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell.