Wood chucks don't actually chuck wood, so the question remains moot. What they CAN do is predict the weather, or so Puxatawny Phil, Schenectady Sam, Wiarton Willy and Muskoka's own Wildlife Centre CLOVER would have us believe. Woodchuck, along with whistle pig and marmot, are other names for Groundhogs.
If the groundhog sees his or her shadow on February 2nd, there will be six more weeks of winter. If there's no shadow, it will be an early spring, in about six weeks. Groundhog predictions, it turns out, are always accurate.
They are amazing for a lot more than their ability to target spring's arrival. When hibernating, these animals can decrease their heartbeat from 80 beats a minute to 5, and breath only once every six minutes. While they live in underground burrows, they are related to squirrels, and frequently climb tree stumps or fence posts to establish lookout posts.
There was no shadow to be seen today, in the driving and swirling blizzard that is whacking Ontario. It's all the news can talk about -- snow here, a cyclone in Australia there. For a nation that loves to talk about the weather, we should have no shortage of conversation today!
Wiarton Willy, the best known of the Canadian groundhog prognosticators, is white -- that's a natural coat pattern for groundhogs, along with solid black, but it is far less usual than the more commonly seen colour that Clover sports.