Marmot peeking out of its burrow
© Scacciamosche/Getty Image
Will Phil see his shadow?. Groundhog Day
How long will winter last? Much depends on whether a certain groundhog sees his shadow today in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. On February 2, Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his tree stump, helped by members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club's 'inner circle.' According to local legend, the same stocky groundhog has been predicting the weather since at least 1886 and if he sees his shadow, we can expect six more weeks of winter. If he does not, an early spring awaits.
Phil is said to make his prediction by choosing one of two scrolls, which top-hatted men then read out to the crowd, who cheer Phil on either way. Our homepage star today is a relative of Phil's, an alpine marmot, which has its own winter tradition of stocking up on food to prepare for a long hibernation. Let's hope that Phil doesn't see his shadow so we can exit our own.