French Creek Freddie
Gene Thorn, a Wildlife Biologist with The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says, Freddie has a proven track record. "There's a number of ground hogs across America that are weather predictors, there's Phil in PA., he's the one most people know. Our weather predictor is French Creek Freddie. We want to state right now up front that last year, he was absolutely right on. He did not see his shadow and we did have an early spring. Phil, on the other hand, missed it."
This isn't some new fangled tradition. In fact, there have been weather predicting rodents for a thousand years.
"Ground Hog Day has roots in European tradition that goes back over a thousand years. The changing of the Celtic calendar on Feb. 1, there was tradition that badgers, sacred bears, hedgehogs, if they came out of their den and saw their shadow, there would be six more weeks of winter weather." says Thorn.
It's hard for these guys to be experts, after all, they don't get a lot of years to perfect their predicting skills. Ground hogs only live three or four years, but they do produce a lot of offspring.
"Ground hogs are herbivores, they're true hibernators, they do hibernate in the winter, they go into their dens about the first week of November and they come back out in early February, they breed and have 2-9 young." says Thorn.
These little guys are pretty cool to watch, they don't hurt anyone and they give you an idea of what the rest of the winter's going to be like. What's not to love?
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