Happy Groundhog Day! Word on the street is that the beloved weather-prognosticating rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow upon emerging from his burrow this morning, signifying 6 more weeks of winter. That would put the end of winter roughly in the middle of March. Very funny, Phil. Those of us who live in the Denver area know full well that it’s still going to be snowing in May, so I’m not really sure of the usefulness of Groundhog Day, except perhaps to the kind folks of Punxsutawney, PA. I’m pretty sure that even Phil is not all that excited about the festivities.

The closest thing we have to groundhogs (Marmota monax) here in Colorado is the yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris).

yellow-bellied marmot

Our marmots live in talus fields way up in the mountains, generally above treeline.

yellow-bellied marmot

Groundhogs are also known as whistlepigs and woodchucks. National Geographic had a bit about groundhogs this morning entitled 9 Things You Didn’t Know About Groundhogs and the main thing I didn’t know was that woodchucks don’t chuck wood at all!!! Go figure!

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