Top 7 Things You May Not Know + Fun Groundhog Titles at The Library
Pretty much everyone knows about Punxsutawney Phil and his propensity for predicting the weather in Pennsylvania.
And pretty much everyone who sheltered in place during the global pandemic had at least an inkling of the Groundhog Day phenomenon – referenced from the 1993 Bill Murray film – where day after day seemed to be exactly the same.
But … can you answers THESE fun questions about groundhogs and their biggest day of the year?
1. How Often Does Punxsutawney Phil Get the Weather Forecast Right?
Answer: 30% of the time.
If the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2, it’s because the sun is shining and the weather is cold, therefore he dives back into his burrow for another six weeks to wait until spring really shows up. If it’s cloudy outside, that means now shadow. The clouds insulate us against the chill, and the warmth tells the groundhog that spring will come early.
2. How Do You Pronounce “Punxsutawney”?
3. How Many People Show Up at Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, Each Year on February 2?
4. How Deep Do Groundhogs Burrow?
Answer: Groundhogs burrow as deep as six feet deep into the earth to escape the winter freeze.
Groundhog tunnels can be as long as 30 feet, with separate rooms for sleeping, food storage, and – ahem – toilet needs. Their sleeping quarters are always below the frost line, where it’s safe and cozy to hibernate during the freezing months of winter.
5. What Time Do Groundhogs Get Up in the Morning?
Answer: 7:00 a.m.
Groundhogs have an internal timeclock that wakes them up every morning at 7:00 a.m. Despite the fact that they sleep way below ground, where the sun doesn’t reach, somehow groundhogs know when’s it’s 7:00 a.m. and time to rise and shine.
6. Why Do Groundhogs Poke Out Their Heads in February and Then Return to Hibernation for 4-6 More Weeks?
Answer: To find a sweetheart.
Yep, groundhog males will roam away from their tunnels to look for a mate. . .just to get to know her a bit. The male may be invited to visit the female’s winter den, but only for courtship purposes. Mating happens later, in the spring, when a window of time opens up that will allow the babies to find food and fatten themselves up before the next winter sets in. In the meantime they each go to their respective winter homes until the sun comes out for good in March.
7. Where Do Groundhogs Live?
Answer: North America.
While Groundhog Day has its origins in German folklore, it was a bear that was predicting the weather in Germany on Candlemas (February 2, halfway between the Winter and Spring Solstices). German immigrants brought the Candlemas tradition to Pennsylvania in the mid-eighteenth century, but they opted for a smaller, gentler creature to predict the coming of spring. Hence, Groundhog Day, which has been celebrated at Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, for over a hundred years.
Bonus: What is a Groundhog’s Favorite Food?
Source: Wendie Old, author of The Groundhog Day of Facts and Fun, who also provided the factoids in this blog.
Groundhog Titles at The Community Library
In print, film, and picture books, you’ll find these “groundhog” titles to help shoo away the winter chill for six more weeks. Dig into all the groundhog titles at The Community Library here.
Television weatherman, played by Bill Murray, gets stuck in February 2, 1992, reliving the same day over and over. Nothing he tries gets him out of the time loop. But the more Phil relives the same day, the more he’s forced to look at other people’s lives, and something unusual happens: he begins to care about others. Produced by Columbia Pictures; Adult DVFeatureFilms DV FIC GRO.
This book of facts and fun provides plenty of information about groundhogs and the origin of Groundhog Day. Groundhog riddles and ideas for throwing a Groundhog Day party are included. By Wendie Old; Juvenile Non-Fiction J 394.26 OLD.
After Groundhog announces six more weeks of winter, half his animal friends are disappointed, while the other half are excited. Each animal asks Groundhog to make his prediction in their favor the following year. Rather than being truthful about the fact that he just “calls it like he sees it,” he leads them to believe he can control the weather, accepting their gifts of food and favor. By Kristen Remenar; Picture Books J EASY REM.
It’s almost Groundhog Day, and the town of Piccadilly is all a-buzz because Gretchen Groundhog won’t show herself. This is her first year, and she’s too shy to come out. Only when the town historian’s daughter shares records from the town’s history does Gretchen begin to see that for everyone, the first time is the hardest. Full-color illustrations. By Abby Levine; Picture Books J EASY LEV.
Poor Groundhog just can’t sleep. He tosses. He turns. Finally, he gets out of bed and goes exploring. Outside his burrow he finds amazing sights he has never seen before: glowing jack-o’-lanterns, gobbling turkeys, and sparkling holiday lights. But shouldn’t Groundhog be in bed? With no sleep how will he be able to get up for his big day? By Judy Cox; Picture Books J EASY COX.
In this humorous Groundhog’s Day picture book by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Office: A Day at Dunder Mifflin Elementary, it’s the day before the big event . . . and the Groundhog goes on strike. By Robb Pearlman; Picture Books J EASY PEA.