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WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?

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Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s famous groundhog, will either see his shadow today (Feb. 2) or he’ll retreat to his burrow.

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Folklore says if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.

Grant County groundhogs don’t share the same kind of popularity.

In most cases they are considered a nuisance.

“They’re not as big a problem as they used to be,” said Chris Ammerman, Grant County’s Agriculture Extension Agent.

While the groundhog is mostly a plant-eater, it’s their annoying burrowing habit that causes the most problems.

“The damage comes to animals who fall into the burrows and break a leg or when the groundhogs dig around a barn’s foundation,” he said.

Ammerman said the local groundhog population is kept in check by coyotes.

As far as the accuracy of the prediction, groundhog proponents say the rodents’ forecasts are accurate 75 to 90 percent of the time. While others say the predictions may have only been correct less than 40 percent of the time.

CHECK YOUR GROUNDHOG KNOWLEDGE:

• The largest groundhog celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
• In Alaska, Feb. 2 is observed as Marmot Day rather than Groundhog Day because there are few groundhogs in the state.
• The 1993 comedy movie Groundhog Day, featuring Bill Murray, has the main character relive the day over and over again until he can learn to not be selfish and become a better person.