Groundhogs; are they only bad weather predictors?
Oh, glorious day! Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early Spring! Let’s all enjoy this bit of cheer on a Monday. Can you imagine the warm sun beams? What about the smell of blooming flowers? Imagine the trees getting blooms. I wanted to give you time to celebrate this feeling before I ruin it with the truth. Although Phil has been in the weather prediction business for over a century, he’s terrible at his job. According to live science, he is only right 39% of the time—so we would be more accurate predicting the weather with the flip of a coin (which has a 50% accuracy rate).
So, you might wonder, how did a groundhog born in Punxsutawney named Phil get promoted to this elevated position of holding all our hopes and dreams for an early spring? This tradition was brought over by German settlers but based on geographic location different animals had been used—in England, a hedgehog, a marmot was used in France and a badger in Germany. However, the groundhog was more readily available after settling in the US; otherwise, we could be celebrating Badger Day. I for one am grateful, the fluffy groundhog is much more enjoyable to watch than a badger. But as cute as these pudgy, buck-toothed rodents are, they can do some serious damage to your property.
A groundhog’s first instinct is to burrow and by chewing and gnawing they can burrow a tunnel or a hole in the ground, creating a home for themselves. Not only does this create trip hazards for a homeowner but could spell out big problems if the burrowing takes place close to the foundation of a home. Groundhogs could weaken your home’s foundation directly through their tunnel digging or indirectly, by their tunnels allowing water to seep in over time, creating serious problems down the road. Additionally, they have been known to chew through wires and pipes, causing serious damage.
What can you do to protect your home from these bad weather predicting rodents? If you spot signs of a groundhog such as piles of dirt call professionals to trap and remove the animal. From there you may want to have the foundation inspected for any damage or risks. So, while Punxsutawney Phil might be one of the cutest rodents around, its not a good idea to invite him into your yard—or listen to his weather predictions for that matter.