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Oh sure, that Pennsylvania rodent, noted weather prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil may get all the national publicity on February 2nd, after all it is Groundhog Day, but we all know who to REALLY pay attention to.  “Pisgah Pete,” Brevard, North Carolina’s official white squirrel ambassador, had predicted the remaining length of winter and football games since 2015.  However, according to The Transylvania Times, in 2022,  “that most famous member of the white squirrels species unique to Brevard announced his early retirement due to age.”

Before stepping aside, though Pete handed over the reins of his duties for “White Squirrel Day” to his, ahem, “niece,” Penelope Ella Catherine Elizabeth, now known as “Pisgah Penny.”  Well, today was Penny’s time to shine and here’s what we know.

Pisgah Penny predicted 6 more weeks of winter and that the Eagles would stomp the Chiefs in the upcoming Super Bowl.  Apparently, Penny and “Phil” must have eaten the same breakfast this morning as the rodent from Gobbler’s Knob in the Quaker State predicted an extended winter as well.

If you were wondering about our white squirrels, according to the white squirrel institute, Our most Frequently Asked Question is what is a white squirrel? The white squirrels found in Brevard, NC are a color variant of one of our native species of the Eastern Gray Squirrel. The Brevard white squirrels are leucistic which is a condition characterized by reduced pigmentation in animals caused by a recessive allele. Our white squirrels are unique because their coats are mostly white but there is a distinctive head patch and dorsal stripe that broadens in the shoulder region. The head patch can be solid, horseshoe or doughnut shaped; it may resemble a triangle, a diamond, deer tracks or even a widow’s peak (Count Dracula). They have dark eyes and there is some evidence that this pattern is inherited.

The History of Groundhog Day & 6 Facts You May Not Have Known

Groundhog Day is celebrated every year on February 2; the holiday started in 1887 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Each year, Punxsutawney Phil makes his prediction about whether we will get an early spring or six more weeks of winter. If he sees his shadow when he comes out of his burrow, that means six more weeks of winter, but if he doesn’t see his shadow, an early spring!

Want to see what Phil decides? You can watch him make his prediction this 136th Groundhog Day online here:

  • The History of Groundhog Day

    The tradition of Groundhog Day started in Europe as Candlemas Day, clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter, which represented how long the winter would be. In the 1700s Germans who settled in Pennsylvania brought the custom to America but selected an animal to predict the weather.

  • First Celebration of Groundhog Day

    In 1886 a local newspaper first wrote about Groundhog Day, but the first official celebration of Groundhog Day took place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1887. A group of businessmen made their way to Gobbler’s Knob and formed the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Nowadays, every February 2, spectators attend Groundhog Day events in Punxsutawney.

  • Punxsutawney Phil's Odds

    Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow ninety-seven times, and has not seen it fifteen times, making his predictions accurate approximately 39% of the time.

  • Groundhogs Live in Burrows

    Groundhogs grow between eight to twelve pounds and live between six to eight years. They dig burrows for homes that can be anywhere from eight to sixty-six feet long and hibernate in their burrows until February 2nd.

  • True Hibernators

    Groundhogs are called “true hibernators” because they can reduce their heartbeat to as little as five beats per minute and drop their body temperature down to 41 degrees Fahrenheit while they hibernate.

  • It was Almost Badgers Day

    When the Germans settled in Pennsylvania they had a hard time finding badgers which they traditionally used on Candlemas Day, so they made the switch the a groundhog.

  • Punxsutawney Phil is Married

    Phil has a wife named Phyllis and they both live in the town library at Gobbler’s Knob.

  • People Used to Eat The Groundhog

    During the first celebration, The Punxsutawney Groundhog considered the groundhog to be a delicacy, so they ate their namesake.