It’s Groundhog Day! 5 fun facts about Punxsutawney Phil

Gobbler's KnobImage credit: Gobbler’s Knob by shannonpatrick17, on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.

It’s Groundhog Day! Time for us to turn to the humble groundhog Punxsutawney Phil to tell us if spring is going to come in six weeks, or if spring is going to come in six and a half weeks and still feel like winter. Or something like that.

Anyway, whether you’re a fan of the Punxsutawney tradition or not, enjoy a few fun facts about Phil:

  1. He is immortal. The average groundhog lives six to eight years, but Phil is above average, thanks to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s special “groundhog punch.” They give him a taste of it once a year, keeping him full of vim and vigor; thus, there has only been one Punxsutawney Phil.
  2. Punxsutawney Phil narrowly escaped the death penalty in 2013, when an Ohio prosecutor indicted Phil for “misrepresentation of an early spring.” He was later sprung, when his handler took the blame for failing to correctly interpret at the Groundhog Day events.
  3. When he’s not busy with his one day of work, Punxsutawney Phil lives in a burrow at the Punxsutawney Memorial Library.
  4. During Prohibition, he threatened 60 more weeks of winter if he wasn’t able to get a drink.
  5. It’s a fun tradition, but relying on a groundhog for weather predictions isn’t recommended. According to data analyzed by National Climatic Data Center, the rodent is more skilled in making burrows and hibernating than making weather predictions.

Want to know what Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction was for 2015? Check out the The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Groundhog Day site for video of the big event!