Meet Woody the Woodchuck, Michigan’s Weather-Predicting Rodent
More winter or early spring? That is the question!
UPDATE: On February 2, 2024 Woody saw her shadow meaning we've got 6 more weeks of winter ahead!
Each February 2nd a.k.a. Groundhog Day while the entire country turns to Pennsylvania's infamous prognosticator, Punxsutawney Phil, Michiganders will look to a different rodent for their weather forecast.
Did you know we have a different version of groundhog Phil right here in The Mitten? Meet Woody the Woodchuck!
Groundhog vs. Woodchuck
Now, you may be asking what the difference between a woodchuck and a groundhog is, technically speaking. Guess what? There isn't one! Says the Michigan DNR,
Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are large squirrels that are strict herbivores. They eat grasses, plants, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and other plant matter. Groundhogs hibernate in their dens during the winter months.
In fact, the Michigan DNR lists groundhogs/woodchucks under "nuisance wildlife." Yikes!
According to his website Woody has been, "Michigan’s official clairvoyant groundhog... for over 2 decades." Oh, and if you assumed Woody was a male, you'd be mistaken!
She resides in Howell, Michigan and unlike Punxsutawney Phil, Woody forecast is actually determined by the amount of time she spends outside on the official ceremonial tree stump.
30 seconds or longer means an early spring, any less means a chilly six more weeks of winter.
Given the rollercoaster of a winter so far, I wouldn't mind if Woody took her time and played outside for a while-- I'm so over this weather.
In 2023 Woody predicted an early spring but the thing is, I've already wiped last winter from my memory so I'm not sure if she was accurate or not! Here are Woody's previous predictions:
- 2022- more winter
- 2021- more winter
- 2020- early spring
- 2019- early spring
Given her recent forecasts I'll be crossing my fingers on Friday for an early spring. Only time will tell. Good luck Woody, make us all proud!
It Turns Out Living in the Mitten During Winter Isn't All That Bad!
Gallery Credit: Unsplash