Showing posts with label Groundhog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Groundhog. Show all posts

Aug 4, 2017

What's in a Name, Groundhog

The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck, or whistlepig, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. It was first scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. The groundhog is also referred to as a chuck, wood-shock, groundpig, whistler, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, monax, moonack, weenusk, and red monk. The name "thickwood badger" was given in the Northwest to distinguish the animal from the prairie badger. Monax was a Native American name of the woodchuck, which meant "the digger".

Feb 5, 2016

Punxsutawney Phil's Prediction

The tradition comes from the German legend and Catholic feast day of Candlemas. "If Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again."

This year, "It is agreed, there will be early Spring." The Groundhog Club emcee proclaimed, "There is no shadow to be cast! An early spring is my forecast." He added, "Take your jackets off, you're not going to need them." During the past 28 years, Phil was correct 13 times and incorrect 15 times. New Iberia's Pierre C. Shaddeaux (a nutria) agrees with Phil. Staten Island Chuck in New York and General Beauregard Lee in Georgia both concur with Phil that spring is coming soon.

The findings were independently verified by a groundhog in Canada, where Shubenacadie Sam, groundhog at Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Wildlife Park also saw no shadow. According to a Canadian study looking at 13 different cities’ groundhogs used for their respective festivals, the net accuracy was only 37%.

Ontario's Wiarton Willie predicted six more weeks of winter after spotting his shadow. Ohio's Buckeye Chuck agrees. Alabama's Sand Mountain Sam, who has been making appearances since 1993 also agrees and has only been wrong one year. West Virginia's French Creek Freddie also predicts six more weeks of winter.

In Manitoba, Groundhog Day celebrations have been cancelled following the death of Winnipeg Willow, who died last Friday at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

No word yet from North Carolina's Sir Wally Wally (wrong 7 out of the last 10 years), Louisiana's T-boy, the Cajun Groundhog (actually a nutria), or Alabama's Smith Lake Jake.

It appears these groundhogs are about equally as accurate as local weatherpersons.