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Do you trust a groundhog?

February 1, 2016

3 reasons maybe you should.

Photo Credit: ©

Groundhog Day is here, when those in the U.S. look to Punxatawny Phil and Co. to project the fate of winter. True, it hasn't always worked out. But before you scoff at the weather-predicting power of a small rodent and its shadow, consider a few things.

1. It's likely well rested

A groundhog goes into true hibernation each winter. It'll build up its fat reserves and then hunker down, dropping its heart rate and body temperature for long stretches along the way.

2. It has a vested interest in being right

A groundhog mates soon after emerging from hibernation. As this National Geographic post points out, it has to get the timing right if it's young are to survive—there must be enough food available but also enough time left in the year for the young to gain weight for winter.

3. It only gets a few springs

Groundhogs only live maybe 4 to 6 years in the wild (often less due to predators and disease). It has a lot riding on this.

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