Groundhogs at Pocono Wildlife Predict Early Spring

by | Feb 2, 2024

The world’s most famous groundhog has some competition this holiday in Monroe County.

For the first time ever— spectators made their way to a wildlife center in Hamilton Township this morning for their Groundhog Day prediction.

“There’s no shadow!” “There’s no shadow!”

If that’s making you feel like the weather man from the Groundhog Day movie.

Don’t worry it’s not repeating, those are two separate predictions at the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in Hamilton Township. Both groundhogs named Baked Potato and Sweet Potato are in agreement with Punxsutawney Phil, the prognosticator of all prognosticators.

“An early spring is on the way!”

Not too bad for their first ever forecast. The pair that arrived separately as abandoned babies at the wildlife center probably didn’t know they’d be sticking around to learn about the Pennsylvania holiday. 

Pocono Wildlife Clinic Manager Kat Schuster says, “Mother Nature, we never know what she’s going to do. And this time, we got some really late groundhog babies so they’re usually born in the spring and we don’t have to over-winter them because they’re old enough to be released.”

Staff took the opportunity to invite locals to be a part of the ceremony and find out more about it’s roots here in our state.

Schuster says, “It’s a tradition in Germany that the farmers use to predict the weather and they used badgers. Well Pennsylvania when they came over here, doesn’t have badgers so they started using groundhogs.

But the main goal was to teach everyone about groundhogs like their burying lifestyle. And they sure had a lot of questions.

“You said they dig burrows, what type of animals go and live in those?”

“How long does a groundhog live?”

The best part, ticket sales for today’s event will all go towards helping the nonprofit care for the animals.

“I saw that they were doing this fundraiser and I just thought it would be a fun thing for my husband and I to do.”

“I thought it was really neat. It was definitely different than seeing it on TV.”

Both Sweet Potato and Baked Potato will be released in the spring so if you think their verdict is wishful thinking or the legend got it wrong, you can put your faith in our very own Weather Personality Ben Stemrick. You’ll hear from him soon. Happy Groundog Day.

Friday, February 2, 2024

By Nicole Walters

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