The birth of Groundhog Day dates all the way back to 5th century European folklore about groundhogs and bears coming out of their winter dens too early, being frightened by their shadow and retreating back inside for four to six weeks.
In the United States today it has morphed into something much much more with groundhogs across the nation being treated as local celebrities, most famous of which is Punxsutawney Phil from Pennsylvania. But don’t discount the many other groundhogs throughout the country competing to be the best! Let’s take a look into some of the local scandals surrounding these groundhogs, and in one case a turtle... and a statue.
‘Beau’, as his friends call him, is considered a scholar as he has received honorary doctorates from The University of Georgia – “DWP, Doctor of Weather Prognostication” and Georgia State University – “Doctor of Southern Groundology.” He lives a life of luxury in his white-columned Southern mansion complete with an architectural fountain, granite monument, monogrammed lawn marker and a satellite dish he uses to watch PBS nature specials. According to Yellow River Game Ranch’s site, he has also trained for the Olympics, uses a laptop for his ‘prodigious correspondence’ and has his own wine cellar to ‘recover from the labors of His National Holiday.’ If only we could all live like Beau.
Sir Walter Wally of Raleigh, North Carolina
Sir Walter Wally, while not as highly pampered as Beau, has been recognized as one of the Top 11 Groundhogs to Watch by the Weather Channel. Apparently he brags a 50% success rate compared to Punxsutawney Phil’s mere 39%. Look out Phil, there might be a new groundhog in town.
Jimmy of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Jimmy is famous for a well-timed bite on the mayor's ear last year which then sparked a controversy with PETA and animal lovers everywhere. The groundhog has since been retired and all future ‘Jimmys’ will be kept in their cages for mayoral safety.
Octoraro Orphie of Quarryville, Pennsylvania
Right in Punxsutawney Phil’s own backyard is Octoraro Orphie, Orphie for short. According to his site, “Orphie is not distracted by the worldly pursuits of fame and fortune. To him and his followers, all that matters is his ongoing legacy of perfect accuracy.” Orphie has allegedly delivered accurate predictions every year since 1908, without a single mistake earning him the title of ‘The One True Groundhog.’ An extremely prestigious and sought after title.
Staten Island Chuck of the Staten Island Zoo
Staten Island Chuck, or more formally Charles G. Hogg, is tied up in some pretty hairy – or furry, scandals and cover ups. It all began when he bit New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg in 2009. He was then secretly replaced with his granddaughter, Charlotte, who was dropped by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Shortly after this incident she died, which many claim could have been due to complications from said dropping. However, the Staten Island Zoo denies all such claims. Scandalous.
Buckeye Chuck is believed to be the oldest groundhog in the country. While most of his species live no longer than a decade, Ohioans claim there has only been one Buckeye Chuck predicting the weather for almost 30 years. Maybe this groundhog has the power to predict the weather and can lead us to the fountain of youth.
Mojave Maxine of Palm Desert, California
Lack of native groundhogs in California is not going to stop them from having an animal predict their weather! Mojave Maxine is the ‘spokesturtoise’ for Southern California’s Groundhog Day celebration. High stakes surround her prediction as classrooms from each county are invited to make guesses. “The first entry received from each county that is closest to the exact day and time wins a $50 gift certificate, a Federal Lands Pass, a visit from a desert tortoise, Mojave Maxine t-shirts for their entire class and a $100 gift certificate for their teacher.”
Lander Lil of Lander, Wyoming
Unfortunately groundhogs are also alien to Wyoming yet they still have some form of local prognosticator. The small town of Lander has erected a female prairie dog statue named Lander Lil, who they turn to every February 2nd. Apparently some believe she is an impostor as she was once stolen but then later ‘recovered from the local dump’. Oh what scandalous lives these groundhogs lead.
Punxsutawney Phil of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
Phil is clearly the Beyoncé of US groundhogs, starring in many movies and TV shows (to name a few Oprah, Viva La Bam and obviously, Groundhog Day). He has also faced multiple run-ins with the law. In 2013 he was issued with an indictment from a prosecutor in Ohio for the death penalty for committing an ‘Unclassified Felony’ – ‘misrepresentation’ of an early spring. Apparently, no such indictment was made against Buckeye Chuck, who also failed to see his shadow. “The prosecutor later stated that he would consider a pardon because Phil's handler (president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's Inner Circle) was taking the blame for the mistake, "because he failed to correctly interpret Phil's 'groundhog-ese'." Then again in 2015, the Merrimack Police Department in New Hampshire issued an arrest warrant for the famous groundhog for failing to disclose the extreme amounts of snow that fell after Groundhog Day. From secret ‘inner circles’ to a brush with death, Punxsutawney Phil surely leads the most scandalous groundhog life of them all. Happy Groundhog Day!
MarketMAPS custom capabilities know no bounds. We can create maps with any kind of data, colors or styles you need. With maps of every state, county and city in the US we've got you covered. Visit MarketMAPS.com, contact Client Services at Sales@MarketMAPS.com or call a MarketMAPS Map Specialist at 888-434-MAPS (6277) to request your custom map.