Facts about groundhog day

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5 Facts About Groundhog Day

It’s Groundhog Day! Here are 5 facts to quench your obvious thirst to learn more about it.

  • This mercurial marmot is referred to by several names, including chuck, wood-shock, thickwood badger, and our favorite, whistlepig.
  • In Quebec, the day is called Jour de la Marmotte. Sounds more distinguished in French, no?
  • Did the movie Goundhog Day actually come out on Groundhog Day? Sadly, no. The movie was released on February 12, 1993. What’s up with that?
  • Although he’s clearly got the most charisma, Punxsutawney Phil isn’t the only rodent prognosticator out there. He’s got competition in the U.S. and Canada, including Staten Island Chuck, General Beauregard Lee of Lilburn, Wiarton Willie, and Shubenacadie Sam.
  • The first “official” Groundhog Day was in 1887. Real quick – who was the U.S. President in 1887? Grover Cleveland (in the first of his non-consecutive terms). G for Groundhog Day, G for Grover Cleveland. That’s how you’ll remember this fun fact in the future.

Happy Groundhog Day, folks!

Article written by Andy Pillifant

As a senior writer, Andy is one of the voices of WorldStrides. A linguistic chameleon, he writes about, well, everything, Favorite topics are culture, human nature, and soccer (which is about culture and human nature, don’t you think?). He loves camping, hats, his wife and three sons.


Falling midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, February 2 is a significant day in several ancient and modern traditions. The Celts, for instance, celebrated it as Imbolc, a pagan festival marking the beginning of spring.

As Christianity spread through Europe, Imbolc evolved into Candlemas, a feast commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the holy temple in Jerusalem. In certain parts of Europe, Christians believed that a sunny Candlemas meant another 40 days of cold and snow.

Germans developed their own take on the legend, pronouncing the day sunny only if badgers and other small animals glimpsed their own shadows. When German immigrants settled Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, they brought the custom with them, choosing the native groundhog as the annual forecaster.

READ MORE: Beyond Punxsutawney: Meet the Other Groundhogs

First Groundhog Day

The first official Groundhog Day celebration took place on February 2, 1887, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. It was the brainchild of local newspaper editor Clymer Freas, who sold a group of businessmen and groundhog hunters—known collectively as the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club—on the idea.

The men trekked to a site called Gobbler’s Knob, where the inaugural groundhog became the bearer of bad news when he saw his shadow.

Nowadays, the yearly festivities in Punxsutawney are presided over by a band of local dignitaries known as the Inner Circle. Its members wear top hats and conduct the official proceedings in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect. (They supposedly speak to the groundhog in “Groundhogese.”)

Every February 2, tens of thousands of spectators attend Groundhog Day events in Punxsutawney, a borough that’s home to some 6,000 people. It was immortalized in the 1993 film Groundhog Day, which was actually shot in Woodstock, Illinois.

How Accurate Are Groundhogs?

While sunny winter days are indeed associated with colder, drier air, we probably shouldn’t trade in our meteorologists for groundhogs just yet. Studies by the National Climatic Data Center and the Canadian weather service have yielded a dismal success rate of around 40 percent for Punxsutawney Phil.

Staten Island Chuck, on the other hand, is reportedly accurate almost 70 percent of the time.

What About Woolly Bears?

For the last 30 years, residents of Vermillion, Ohio, have turned to a very different creature for their annual weather forecast: the woolly bear caterpillar. According to tradition, if the bugs have more orange than black coloring in autumn, the upcoming winter will be mild.

More than 100,000 people attend the town’s Woollybear Festival, held every fall since 1972.

But woolly bear caterpillars aren’t the best prognosticators, either: While their bands may vary from year to year, researchers have found the variation is due to last year’s weather, not the upcoming winter.

Groundhog Facts

Also known as woodchucks, groundhogs belong to a group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. They grow up to 25 inches long and can live for 10 years in captivity. (According to legend, Punxsutawney Phil is more than 125 years old thanks to the magical punch he imbibes every summer.)

Groundhogs spend the winter hibernating in their burrows, significantly reducing their metabolic rate and body temperature; by February, they can lose as much as half their weight.

When they’re out and about, the bristly rodents eat succulent plants, wild berries and insects—and they don’t mind helping themselves to garden vegetables or agricultural crops.

28 Little Known Facts About The Movie ‘Groundhog Day’. Bill Murray Did What?!

Funny and thought-provoking, ‘Groundhog Day’ is considered a classic, and one of the funniest movies of all-time.

Below are 28 wicked stories that you might’ve missed from the movie. Check it out!

1/28) One website claims he was trapped 12,403 days in Groundhog Day, just under 34 years.

2/28) Bill Murray was bitten so severely by the groundhog that he had to be rushed to the hospital or else he would’ve died from rabies. He got the anti-rabies vaccine as a result.

3/28) Harold Ramis directed the kids in the snowball fights to hit Bill Murray as hard as they could.

As a result, Murray responded by throwing snowballs back at them as hard he could.

4/28) The movie was actually shot in Woodstock, Illinois. There is a small plaque that reads “Bill Murray stepped here” on the curb where Murray continually steps into a puddle. There is another plaque on the building wall at the corner that says “Ned’s Corner” where Bill Murray was continually accosted by insurance salesman Ned Ryerson.

5/28) The idea of Phil reading to Rita while she sleeps came from Bill Murray’s real life. His wife drank too much champagne on their wedding night and fell asleep early, so Murray read aloud to her until he, too, fell asleep.

6/28) The scene where Phil picks up the alarm clock and slams it onto the floor didn’t go as planned. Bill Murray slammed down the clock but it barely broke.

To solve this, the crew took a hammer and repeatedly smashed the clock to give it its mangled look. The clock actually continued playing the song like in the movie.

To the next page for more ‘Groundhog Day’ facts!

7/28) If you look at the clocks in the diner, they’re all stopped, mirroring Phil’s predicament.

8/28) There are exactly 38 days depicted in this film, either partially or in full.

9/28) Harold Ramis considered Chevy Chase, John Travolta, Steve Martin, and Tom Hanks for the lead role, but he considered them all ‘way too nice’ compared to Bill Murray.

10/28) A scene was shot in which Phil destroys his room, slashing pillows, spray-painting the walls, etc. He also shaves his head then the camera pulls back from his face to show that his hair and the room were back to normal the next morning.

Harold Ramis had trouble making the dissolving shot match so the scene was changed to Phil breaking a pencil instead.

11/28) Phil at the piano teacher’s house, when he is fumblingly playing Sergei Rachmaninoff’s ‘Rhapsody on a Theme by Paginini’, is actually Bill Murray playing. He does not read music, but he learned that much of the song by ear.

12/28) Bill Murray was offered a spit bucket for the diner scene where he gorges himself on pastries but he refused. He admitted to getting sick after having too much angel food cake.

13/28) Whenever Harold Ramis was explaining how he wanted Bill Murray to play a scene, Murray would interrupt him and ask, “Just tell me – good Phil or bad Phil?”

14/28) On the DVD, Harold Ramis states that the original idea was for him to live February 2nd for about 10,000 years.

Keep going, it gets even better!

15/28) Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis both said that they purposely avoided exploring the truly dark side of Phil’s time lapsing in which he could do truly horrible things without consequence (i.e. murder, torture, etc.) to maintain a more lighthearted feel.

16/28) Bill Murray was undergoing a divorce at the time of filming and was obsessing about the film. He would ring Harold Ramis constantly, often in the early hours of the morning.

Ramis eventually got tired of it, and sent writer Danny Rubin to sit with Murray and iron out all his anxieties, one of the reasons why Murray stopped speaking to Ramis for several years.

17/28) In the original version of the script by Danny Rubin, Phil Connors was already trapped inside Groundhog Day at the start of the story. We joined him on a typical day, with the audience wondering how he knew everything that was going to happen.

Harold Ramis promised that he wouldn’t change this aspect of the script, but ended up changing it anyways.

18/28) Supposedly Paul Lynde was the inspiration for one of the film’s more famous lines: After a high-speed chase through the San Fernando Valley one night when he was driving recklessly while intoxicated, Lynde crashed his car into a mailbox. The police came to the car, guns drawn, and he lowered his window and said, “I’ll have a cheeseburger, hold the onions, and a large Sprite.”

19/28) The groundhog ceremony is depicted as occurring in the center of town but in real life, Gobbler’s Knob, where the ceremony takes place in real life, is a rural, wooded area, about two miles outside of Punxsutawney.

20/28) A family of groundhogs was actually raised for the production.

To the last page for the coolest facts yet!

21/28) In order to get the scenes to look alike many different takes were filmed in different weather conditions. Eventually Harold Ramis chose the bleak Wisconsin look for the film.

22/28) Harold Ramis admitted he was taken aback by his film attracting a lot of attention from various religious groups, meditative gurus and other parties who were into metaphysics. Ramis was particularly surprised as he was expecting a backlash against him.

23/28) In the penultimate encounter between Connors and annoying insurance salesman Ned Ryerson, Bill Murray was ad-libbing when he tells Ned, “I don’t know where you’re headed, but can you call in sick?” and causes Ned to run away.

24/28) In one scene, Connors throws himself from the bell tower of a high building, which is an opera house in Woodstock.

Local legend has it that a ghost of a young girl haunts the building since a girl once fell off of the balcony section inside the opera house and died.

25/28) The idea comes from ‘The Gay Science’, a famous book by Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche gives a description of a man who is living the same day over and over again.

26/28) Since the film’s release, the town of Punxatawney has now become a major tourist attraction.

27/28) Originally, Phil was supposed to murder the groundhog in his lair. This was changed, however, since it seemed too much like Caddyshack, another famous Ramis/Murray collaboration.

28/28) After its release, several writers emerged, claiming that the story was stolen from their idea. Science-fiction author Richard Lupoff claimed that it was a rip-off from his short story ’12:01pm’, whilst Ken Grimwood – author of ‘Replay’ – was another.


10 Fun Facts About the History of Groundhog Day

Learn more about Punxsutawney Phil, the infamous groundhog weather forecaster who determines how long winter will last.

By Amber Case
Published: 01/31/2019

Andrea Izzotti/

Meteorologists have had it rough in the Hudson Valley (we’re talking about you, topsy-turvy temperatures), but perhaps instead of looking to the skies for their forecasts, they should follow the lead of one furry fellow in Pennsylvania and keep their eyes on the ground.

First established by Germans in America in 1887, Groundhog Day was actually inspired by Europe’s Candlemas Day, during which clergymen would bless the candles they needed for the cold season. (If the candles brought a sunny day, there would be six more weeks of winter; likewise, clouds and rain signified that winter would end soon.)

No offense, forecasters

Nowadays, thousands gather at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to wait for an aptly named groundhog to emerge with his verdict — the validity of which, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is questionable. Statistically speaking, it’s more likely that Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow than not: From 1887 to 2018, Phil has seen his shadow 104 times and only overlooked it 18 times. (There are 10 years where no records of Phil’s predictions exist at all.)

To get in the spirit of Groundhog Day — whether you want six more weeks of winter or not — here are 10 fun facts about the holiday:

1. Punxsutawney Phil is the official groundhog forecaster on February 2, but many states have their own (like New York’s Pothole Pete).

2. Phil’s full name, granted by the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, is Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.

3. Groundhogs typically weigh between 12 and 15 pounds; Phil is 22 pounds.

4. Groundhogs only live six to eight years, but folklore suggests that Phil sips a magical drink that gives him seven more years of life.

5. The Germans originally chose a hedgehog as their animal forecaster. They turned to groundhogs instead when they discovered a large amount of them in Pennsylvania.

6. Hibernation is similar to being in a coma. When groundhogs hibernate, their heart rates drop to five beats per minute and they can lose up to 30 percent of their body fat.

7. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club hosts a three-day celebration leading up to Groundhog Day.

8. The popular movie of the same name (starring Rockland County resident Bill Murray) gave meaning to the phrase “groundhog day”: to repeat something over and over again.

9. Phil’s fans have been able to get text message alerts of his predictions since 2010. (Text “Groundhog” to 247365, in case you’re interested.)

10. According to ABCNews, the National Climatic Data Center found that there is no correlation between Phil’s prediction and the actual weather forecast.

So, what’s your prediction? More wintry weather, or blue skies and sunshine? Sound off by writing a comment below.

This article originally appeared on hvmag.com in 2015. It has been updated to reflect 2019’s forecast and Punxsutawney Phil statistics.

Viddy Well

Harold Ramis’ initial worry was that the film was going to provoke backlash against him; however, that couldn’t be further from the truth:

“The reaction to the film was so amazing. That’s the thing that continues to stand out in my mind because no film I’ve ever worked on has gotten this kind of attention from so many different communities. It opened the well, and the reviews were really good. By Monday, the film was playing in Santa Monica where I lived and my producing partner, Trevor Albert, called me and said, ‘People are picketing the theatre on the Third Street Promenade.’ I said, ‘What do you mean, picketing?’ He said, ‘Hasidic Jews are walking around with signs that say, Are you living the same day over and over again?’ So, obviously, they were using the movie as a tool for proselytizing a religious point of view. And I thought, well, that’s a good sign. They’re not opposed to the film. They think the film is demonstrating something or saying something to the audience that they can somehow tailgate on. Then we heard from someone we knew from the San Diego area, who was a yogi, and she said the yogi community loved the film. Then the letters started coming right away. Psychiatrists wrote to say that the movie was a perfect metaphor for psychoanalysis because you keep revisiting the same material over and over again, each time with increasing insight. So we sort of knew that we had this embrace from the spiritual and religious and psychological community that very few films ever experience. Instantly, people were identifying the film as a teaching, and in such a parochial way, each seeing it as an expression of their own particular point of view without recognizing that it was, in fact, a universal point of view.”

In addition to receiving praise from nearly every walk of life, the film’s unique premise aroused several writers to emerge, claiming that the story was stolen from their idea. Science fiction Author Richard Lupoff (short story “12:01 p.m.”) and Ken Grimwood (author of “Replay”) both claimed that the film was a rip-off of their works. However, Danny Rubin is on record stating that his only inspirational jumping off points were the 1892 story “Christmas Every Day” by William Dean Howells and, surprisingly enough, Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire”, which got him thinking about what it would be like to live forever.

4 Crazy Groundhog Day Facts You Probably Never Knew — But Should

You probably know the gist of Groundhog Day: Each Feb. 2, America’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, emerges from his burrow, and looks for his shadow. If he sees it, the legend goes, six more weeks of winter lie ahead. And if he doesn’t see his shadow, there will be an early spring.

But where does the zany tradition of Groundhog Day come from — and why?

Before Punxsutawney Phil makes his 2019 prediction Saturday morning, here are four fun Groundhog Day facts you may not have known.

Groundhog Day didn’t always involve groundhogs

The roots of Groundhog Day can be traced back to a Christian holiday called Candlemas Day.

Each year, on the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, members of the clergy would bless and distribute candles needed to get people through the remaining winter days. Tradition went that winter would drag on if Candlemas Day dawned sunny and clear, but spring would come soon if the weather was cloudy.

The Germans expanded on Candlemas Day by taking meteorology cues from a hedgehog, says William Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, which is responsible for the nation’s largest and most famous Groundhog Day celebration.

“We were all farmers, and we basically were depending on the animals to help us with the weather,” Deeley said. “We didn’t have weather satellites. We didn’t have barometers for this and barometers for that.” Instead, German folklore said that if the hedgehog cast a shadow on Candlemas Day, winter would continue for six more weeks.

When German immigrants began to settle in Pennsylvania in the 1880s, they adapted the custom to use the more common groundhog, Deeley explains. The tradition stuck, and continues to this day.

Groundhogs were not always treated as well as Punxsutawney Phil

These days, Punxsutawney Phil is treated like “royalty,” Deeley says. But when Groundhog Day first came to Pennsylvania, that likely wasn’t the case.

“It was a social party,” Deeley says. “They basically got together and instead of him being the honoree, he was the entrée.”

Yes, that means they “probably ate the groundhog,” Deeley clarified.

There has likely been more than one groundhog Phil

Many people wonder how many groundhogs have made Groundhog Day predictions over the years. To Deeley, the Punxsutawney Phil is an immortal character, just like “Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck or the Easter Bunny.”

“At our summer picnic, we give Phil a shot of this special punch or elixir, and for every gulp he gets, he gets seven more years of longevity,” Deeley explains. “It’s a secret recipe.”

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The formula is so closely guarded, in fact, that even Deeley doesn’t know the whole thing. Several Groundhog Club members and handlers contribute different parts of the brew, to ensure that the recipe never gets out in its entirety.

Deeley declined to share how many groundhog Phil’s there have been, but the average groundhog living in captivity can live up to 10 years, according to the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology. That means that if each Punxsutawney Phil lived a decade, there have been about 13 groundhogs.

Punxsutawney Phil is married

Phil and his “wife,” Phyllis, live together, Deeley says. Unlike most groundhogs, which hibernate through the winter, Deeley says they’re kept in an environment with enough light and heat to keep them awake for Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, albeit a little “lethargic and sleepy.”

Write to Jamie Ducharme at [email protected]

Groundhog co-handler Ron Ploucha holds up groundhog Punxsutawney Phil after Phil’s annual weather prediction on Gobbler’s Knob on the 130th Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. (REUTERS/Alan Freed)

Whether they’re “132 years old,” college educated or known biters — every famous weather-predicting groundhog in the U.S. is unique.

And every year, people anxiously watch as the groundhog exits its warm burrow and forecasts the weather for the six weeks to follow.

This year was no different when Punxsutawney Phil came out of hibernation and predicted an early spring — the groundhog did not see his shadow, unlike in 2018.


Read on for more on the famous groundhogs who will reveal this year’s forecasts on Feb. 2.

Punxsutawney Phil

“Punxsutawney Phil” has been around for more than a century.

“There has been only one Punxsutawney Phil. Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity from drinking ‘groundhog punch’ (a secret recipe),” according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. “One sip, which is administered every summer at the Groundhog Picnic, gives him seven more years of life.”

The Pennsylvania club claims the creature is 132 years old.

Phil may be the “oldest” and most famous groundhog in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean he’s the most accurate.

The four-legged creature only has 39 percent accuracy, according to Stormfax Almanac’s data.

Phil sees his shadow about 85 percent of the time. A look at records dating back to 1887, when the tradition started, show Phil has seen his shadow 104 times and hasn’t seen it just 18 times. There are nine years that weren’t reported.

Staten Island Chuck

Groundhog Staten Island Chuck is seen during a “Groundhog Day” event at the Staten Island Zoo in New York February 2, 2015. (REUTERS)

Chuck, formally known as Charles G. Hogg, lives in New York’s Staten Island Zoo, and he’s been known to be a bit grumpy.

In 2009, the moody rodent bit former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the finger as the official reached into his cottage to bring him on stage.

Years later, another incident occurred.

During a 2014 Groundhog Day ceremony, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped the animal, who had been secretly replaced with his granddaughter Charlotte. Days later, Charlotte died, though the zoo said it was unlikely the fall caused the death.

The next year, the zoo protected the creature with a layer of plexiglass, separating the animal from the mayor.

Jimmy the Groundhog

We have another biter.

Jimmy, the official groundhog of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, famously bit the ear of then-Mayor Jonathan Freund as he was attempting to “listen” to the critter’s prediction during a Groundhog Day celebration in 2015.

Videos of the incident went viral, prompting a warning from the USDA about capturing wild animals. The groundhog was then released back into the wild, Fox 6 reported in Jan. 2016.

City officials found an authorized replacement “Jimmy” a year later, and the celebrations continued, though Jimmy now remains in a cage during the ceremony as an added safety measure.

Buckeye Chuck

Buckeye Chuck is one of two famous groundhogs in the state of Ohio. Buckeye Chuck was declared the state’s official Groundhog Day representative in 1979.

This furry rodent lives in Marion, Ohio, and clearly enjoys warm weather. He mainly predicts an early spring, though, unfortunately, he isn’t always right.

General Beauregard Lee

Georgia’s weather predicting groundhog, Gen. Beauregard Lee, may be the most educated of the bunch.

The wise groundhog, who recently moved to Dauset Trails Nature Center in Jackson, Ga., has received honorary doctorates from the University of Georgia for “Weather Prognostication” and Georgia State University for “Southern Groundology.”

“He’s also been honored by the National Weather Service twice for his reliable forecasts,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

According to the Journal-Constitution, Beau is the “bachelor nephew” of the Yellow River Game Ranch’s late groundhog, Gen. Lee, who held the post of “chief rodent prognosticator” for about a decade.

Chattanooga Chuck

Chattanooga Chuck is one of the Tennesee Aquarium’s most popular residents. He has lived there for at least eight years.

But when it comes to making his weather prediction, Chuck gets plenty of assistance.

“Thanks to the following Tennessee Aquarium staff members: Christine Bock, lead horticulturist, Dave Collins, curator of forests, Kevin Calhoon, assistant curator of forests, Susie Grant, senior Educator, Bill Haley, education outreach coordinator, Rob Mottice, senior aquarist, Charlene Nash, horticulturist and Jennifer Taylor, entomologist. They help evaluate the weather proverbs,” according to the aquarium’s website.

Dunkirk Dave

Everyone in Chautauqua County, New York, knows “Dunkirk Dave.”

The female groundhog, whose non-stage name is Sidewinder, rose to fame after she was featured in an article in the Dunkirk Evening Observer. The local newspaper is also responsible for coming up with the groundhog’s famous nickname.

“I have used a groundhog for over 58 years to predict the coming of spring weather,” owner Bob Will, a state-licensed wildlife rehabilitator, said in a statement online. “Dunkirk Dave is the second-longest predicting groundhog.”

Thistle the Whistlepig

Thistle the Whistlepig is still a youngin’, but she still knows how to get the job done.

The groundhog made her first weather prediction in 2016 at just 8 months old and she’s continued the tradition ever since.

As the runt of the litter, Thistle was ignored by her mother and was eventually relocated to the museum, where she now lives with an adult male named Lake Erie Eddie.

Unhappy with Punxsutawney Phil? Here Are 8 Other Groundhogs That Predicted Spring

Friday morning, esteemed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter.


It’s possible that you think that Groundhog Day—the century-old tradition of attaching a meteorological prediction to a rodent’s shadow—is hogwash. It is 71 degrees in Los Angeles, and 44% of California is now experiencing a moderate drought. Six more weeks of winter? California wishes.

Or maybe, you just don’t put much stock into Punxsutawney Phil, who made his 132nd prediction this year. While Phil is the most famous groundhog, he doesn’t have a great track record. There’s some discrepancy about his accuracy, AccuWeather put it as high as 80%, but StormFax Almanac has it as low as 39%.

Rather than ascribing a groundhog prediction to the whole nation, TIME took a more regional approach in its calculation. TIME looked at last year’s predictions and then the temperature reports for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather stations surrounding the groundhog’s home city. By this rating, the groundhogs can be a certain percent correct or incorrect. In 2017, Phil wasn’t the most accurate groundhog: he was only 36% correct.

Here are eight other groundhogs who, contrary to Phil’s prognostication, predicted an early spring:

1. Grover the Groundhog of Pine Grove, Pa.

Grover of Pine Grove, Pa. did not see his shadow on February 2, according to The Republican-Herald.

2. Octorara Orphie of Lancaster, Pa.

There are rival groundhogs in Lancaster County: Mount Joy Minnie, like Phil, saw her shadow, but Octorara Orphie did not, Lancaster Online reported. (That makes the Pennsylvania groundhogs split Phil and Minnie vs. Grover and Orphie, for those of you keeping score.)

3. Sir Walter Wally of Raleigh, N.C.

Wally in Raleigh says spring is on the way, according to ABC 11. Last year, TIME reports, Wally had 68% accuracy, based on the temperature reports at the nearest 539 weather stations.

4. Dunkirk Dave of Dunkirk, N.Y.

Dunkirk Dave did not see his shadow, according to WIBV 4. Last year, however, Dave predicted six more weeks of winter and was only 35% correct for his region, according to TIME.

5. Pierre C. Shadeaux of New Iberia, La.

Not only does Pierre C. Shadeaux have the best name, but he also predicted an early spring, KACT 3 reported. TIME had him with 75% accuracy for his region last year.

6. Chuckles IX the state groundhog of Connecticut

Chuckles IX sworn in as the state groundhog of Connecticut today and prognosticated that spring is on its way. The Hartford Courant covered his eventful swearing in, where he nearly urinated on the mayor.

7. Staten Island Chuck of Staten Island, N.Y.

Staten Island Chuck is the official groundhog forecaster of New York City. His prognostication? Early spring, according to Staten Island Live.

8. Unadilla Bill of Unadilla, Neb.

In 2017, Unadilla Bill had a 83% accuracy rate according to TIME. This year, according to the Unadilla Bill – Groundhog Celebration Facebook page, Bill predicts an early spring.

Contact us at [email protected]

Groundhogs other than famous Phil predict early spring

Punxsutawney Phil has spoken – and we can expect six more weeks of winter after the groundhog saw his shadow early this morning.

It was Phil’s 131st prediction, an institution in the Western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney that dates back to 1886. (Phil has a spotty record over the past 30 years, predicting the weather correctly only half the time). But did you know Phil isn’t the only groundhog predicting winter’s weather? At least of dozen other furry hogs make their predictions on February 2 – and most of them don’t agree with Phil’s forecast.

Meet Phil’s fellow groundhogs and their predictions for 2017:

General Beauregard Lee (Stone Mountain, GA) – Early Spring

— AJC (@ajc) February 2, 2016

Hutty the Hog (Kansas City, MO) – Early Spring

Fufu the hedgehog (Portland, OR) – Early Spring

Staten Island Chuck (New York) – Early Spring

Spring is coming #GroundhogDay #spring pic.twitter.com/dZ9xh2Rqcb

— StatenIslandZoo (@StatenIslandZoo) February 2, 2017

Fred la marmotte (Val d’Espoir, Quebec) – Early Spring

Wiarton Willie (Wiarton, Ontario) – Early Spring

So, my prediction is official. I didn’t see my shadow so an early spring it is. #officialprediction #earlyspring

— Wiarton Willie (@willieofficial) February 2, 2017

Shubenacadie Sam (Shubenecadie, Nova Scotia) – Early Spring

Little @ShubenacadieSam ran over to say hello to me! Watch til the end! @globalhalifax pic.twitter.com/4iXTXH0xOL

— Jennifer Grudić (@JenniferGrudic) February 2, 2017

Dunkirk Dave (Dunkirk, New York) – 6 more weeks of winter

KING 5′ Rich Marriott contributed to this report.

Copyright 2017 KING

for more animal facts
  • Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks or whistle-pigs.

  • They are rodents and are the largest animal in the squirrel family.

  • Groundhogs live in the Eastern part of North America.

  • Groundhogs live near fence lines, vegetable farms, corn fields or fruit orchards.

  • They are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and plants but, they mostly eat plants.

  • Groundhogs eat grasses, berries, vegetables, grasshoppers, insects and snails.

  • Groundhogs hibernate, meaning they spend their winters sleeping. They hibernate from October to late March.

  • Groundhogs prepare for hibernation by putting on weight. Then they live off the stored fat until they come out of hibernation.

  • Groundhogs are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day.

  • Groundhogs have a curved spine.

  • They can live up to 6 years old.

  • They are between 16 inches and 26 inches long with a 6 inch tail.

  • Groundhogs weigh between 9-15 pounds.

  • Groundhogs are burrowers. A burrow is a small tunnel or hole dug by a small animal.

  • They can move over 700 pounds of dirt digging one burrow or den!

  • They use their burrows or dens for sleeping, caring for babies and hibernation.

  • Groundhog burrows have between 2-5 entrances and can be 5 ft below the ground.

  • Groundhogs can swim and are excellent tree climbers.

  • They sometimes climb trees to get fruit.

  • Farmers do not like groundhogs because they eat their crop.

  • Groundhogs have a littler of 4-9 babies.

  • A baby groundhog is called a kit or cub.

  • Babies are born hairless, helpless and blind.

  • They open their eyes for the first time when they are around 4 weeks old.

  • They are born in the den and do not leave until they are 6-7 weeks old.

  • Predators are fox, raccoons, coyotes and farm dogs.

Groundhog Day Facts

  • Groundhogs are famous for predicting Spring.

  • Groundhog Day is on February 2nd.

  • According to legend, if the groundhog comes out of his burrow on February 2nd and does not see his shadow then, Spring will come early.

  • If the groundhog sees a shadow, then it goes back into its burrow and Winter will last 6 more weeks.

  • The largest Groundhog Day Celebration is held in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania.

  • People have been gathering in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania to celebrate Groundhogs Day since the late 1800s.

  • The famous groundhog who predicts the weather in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania is Punxsutawney Phil.

  • How often is the groundhog right with predicting Spring? Many people argue that answer. Some say he is between 75%-90% correct other say 35%.

5 Fun Facts About Groundhog Day for Teachers and Students

After a three-month long nap, Punxsutawney Phil is preparing for his big day. It will be his job to break the news about the next six weeks to a crowd of hundreds of anxious onlookers. Phil will hear two firm, familiar knocks at his door and he know it is time.

Three tall men with long black suits and top hats will open his door and gently pull him from his cozy, warm hole in the ground. The crowd will erupt in a wild cheer as the men hold him up for everyone to see.

Moments later, Phil will be placed on the red carpet as the crowd’s cheers dwindle into anticipatory silence. The men will lean in close to see what Phil would do. After a few quick whispers and nods of agreement, a decision will be made.

We are really hoping for an early spring…but Phil will let us know today.

You may be wondering who Punxsutawney Phil is, but chances are, you already know him. He’s the groundhog who makes a grand entrance out of hibernation every year to tell us whether we will have six more weeks of winter or enter an early spring.

Here are five more fun facts about Ground Hog Day that teachers and their students will enjoy!

  1. The name Punxsutawney Phil was inspired by the city of Punxsutawney in the state of Pennsylvania. Native American settlers gave the town its name which means “town of the sandflies.” The word woodchuck, another name for groundhog, is also derived from the Native American name “wuchak” which is the Algonquin word for woodchuck.
  2. Other states with Groundhog Day celebrations have created unique, localized names such as Staten Island Chuck in New York, Potomac Phil in Washington, D.C., and French Creek Freddie in West Virginia.
  3. Groundhog Day originated from another holiday that dates back as far as the 4th century known as Candlemas. Candlemas was observed throughout Europe on February 2 to mark the midpoint of winter. If the day was sunny and bright, then winter weather was expected to continue, and if the day was cloudy, then celebrants determined that winter weather had come to an end. Candlemas festivities and traditions vary across participating countries, but one of the most common ways to celebrate is by distributing and receiving candles.
  4. Before Groundhogs were used to predict the next few weeks of winter weather, other animals were used based on geographic availability. Former animals include the hedgehog used in England, the marmot used in France, and the badger used in Germany. When German settlers arrived in Punxsutawney, they began to use a more readily available animal, the groundhog.
  5. Every year, Ground Hog Day celebration facilitators make up a fun, rhyming poem to deliver the news on whether they will experience six more weeks of wintery weather or the beginning of spring-like temperatures. Here is an excerpt from last year’s Punxsutawney Groundhog Day celebration proclamation:

    “Up early this morning
    Far from home
    Are you searching for
    the philosopher’s stone? ​

    Well, even my best friends
    They don’t know.
    Is it an early spring
    Or just more snow ​

    My faithful followers,
    your hands (and my paws) are getting cold
    So here is my forecast
    Not lead, but solid gold:

    I see my royal shadow!
    Six more weeks of winter to go!”

This year, have your students make up a story about Punxsutawney Phil! For more writing ideas, try our Building Writers workbooks!

By Monet Stevens Monet A. Stevens is a graduate student at Georgetown University. She has interned with several organizations across the Greater Baltimore and Washington D.C. Metropolitan area including the Smithsonian and the Surety and Fidelity Association of America. Monet is passionate about strengthening communities and empowering individuals through mass communication. She recently graduated from Towson University and moved back to her hometown near Washington, D.C. where she hopes to make a positive impact.