If you don't know who Punxsutawney Phil is, you've been living in a hole (or perhaps a burrow) for the last couple decades.
He's easily the most famous of all the prognosticators that we turn to over and over again for the annual Groundhog Day prediction: Will spring come early, or will we have to suffer another six weeks of winter?
And the little guy is good -- he's even been featured in a major motion picture!
But he's not the only predictor -- and he's not even the most accurate! It's true -- there are six more groundhogs out there, all with their own loyal following, and all jockeying for position as the most accurate ground-dwelling weatherman out there.
Let's see who Phil is up against this year ...
Wiarton Willie -- Hailing from Ontario, Canada, Willie has a proud 55-year predicting tradition. He has his own week-long festival and even his own Shadow Cabinet. Naturally, the cabinet is made up of Ministers of Interburrow Affairs, Hogwash and Hot Air, and Marmot Management. There is also a Mayor of Land and Marmot, of course.
General Beauregard Lee -- In this corner, with a 94 percent accuracy rating, sits a Georgia native with not one but two honorary doctorates. The University of Georgia awarded him a DWP, Doctorate of Weather Prognostication, while Georgia State University made him a Doctor of Southern Groundology. With 14 years of predicting experience under his belt, he provides stiff competition to the more famous Phil.
Buckeye Chuck -- Ohio’s entry into the great groundhog race began his predicting career back in the 1970s -- and he was even declared the official state groundhog in 1979. Join Buckeye on February 2 and enjoy a SPAM sandwich at the neighborhood café -- it is ground hog afterall!
Staten Island Chuck -- Formally known as Charles G. Hogg, Chuck resides in the Staten Island Zoo and is the official groundhog meteorologist of NYC. In a ceremony officiated by the mayor of the city, Chuck makes his predictions each year, often opposing Phil’s famous prognostications.
Shubenacadie Sam -- Sam has a secret weapon. Because he lives in Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park in eastern Nova Scotia, he gets to experience dawn before any of the other groundhogs on the list -- making his prediction the first prediction of the year.
Octoraro Orphie -- Octoraro is a worthy opponent who likes to fly under the radar. He lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and prefers to make his predictions without all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds hogs like Phil. He’s old school -- waking in his own good time each year, rather than being pulled from his burrow. And since he’s been making correct predictions since 1908, he’s definitely the dark hog in the running.
How much faith do you put in a rodent predicting the weather?
Image via Octoraro Orphie