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Five Fun Facts about Groundhog Day

Posted on 02-02-2017

Groundhog Day is celebrated every year on February 2nd. It started in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in 1887, and the tradition has been kept every year since. So what is Groundhog Day? It’s when Punxsutawney Phil makes his prediction about whether or not we will get an early spring. If he sees his shadow when he comes out of his burrow, that means 6 more weeks of winter! Here are 5 interesting facts about Groundhog Day that you might not know:

1. When the tradition started, it wasn’t a groundhog that made the prediction, it was a badger! It wasn’t until recent years that the tradition changed, and the groundhog was used in its place.

2. Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow 97 times, and not seen it 15 times. Interesting odds, but it’s more interesting to note that Phil has only been right about 39% of the time! He doesn’t make a very trustworthy weatherman.

3. Although groundhogs typically live anywhere from 6–8 years, tradition says that Phil drinks a magic elixir every summer so that he can continue to make these weather predictions. He’s predicted 129 years and going strong!

4. Groundhogs can grow to be anywhere from 8–10 pounds, and they dig burrows for homes that can be anywhere from 8–66 feet long. It’s in their burrow that they hibernate until February 2nd arrives.

5. Groundhogs are known as “true hibernators” and they can reduce their heartbeat to as little as five beats per minute as they hibernate through the winter months. They can drop their body temperature down to 41 degrees, and sleep right through those long, cold nights.

If you want to watch Phil make his prediction this year, you can watch it live online at www.visitpa.com/groundhog-day-live-stream/. Will we get an early spring in 2017? Let’s see what Phil decides!

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