Groundhog Day is arguably one of America’s quirkier holidays. Observed in Canada and Germany as well, the woodchuck festivities originate in Punxsutawney, Penn. The Pennsylvania Dutch tradition on Feb. 2, comes from the superstition that if a groundhog emerges from its burrow and sees its shadow, winter will last another six weeks. If, however, the rodent doesn’t see its shadow, winter will cease, meaning spring and warm weather will come soon. Also, the best part is that the most famous groundhog is named Phil. Phil is the main groundhog of concern. 

Though it makes no sense why a groundhog has a crystal ball for weather, it’s something we love to celebrate. Here are some interesting facts about groundhogs and Phil.

The ‘hog isn’t that accurate

And according to Stormfax, a website that’s tracked his predictions since the 1880s, Phil has about a 39 percent success rate on judging whether or not spring will begin. Phil is lucky that he is cute or he would’ve been fired.

Phil is immortal until we are given empirical proof

After meticulous digging, it’s hard to find the exact age of Phil. So let’s say he has been at this gig since 1887. In captivity, groundhogs live typically around 10 years. It’s pretty much safe to assume Phil is an outlier and is more than 120 years old. Or this is like, the 12th generation of Phils. 

He has a wife and is living large

Her name is Phyllis. Phil and Phyllis. They are perfect. He also lives in a library throughout the year and I assume he spends the majority of his time preparing to run away from his shadow every Feb. 2nd.

Anyway, please remember that groundhogs, Phil included, have a very routine diet. You know they can’t eat ice cream. Groundhogs on our campus died because passersby fed them pizza and ice cream. Don’t do that. Please do not feed groundhogs human food. If you feel inclined to feed a groundhog, well, read this.


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