By Harley Nefe
Today, Feb. 2, is Groundhog Day, which is a popular North American holiday following a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and sees its shadow, winter will persist for six more weeks, but if the groundhog doesn’t see its shadow, spring will arrive early.
The Groundhog Day ceremony in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania revolving around the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil is the most well-known ceremony for the holiday.
This morning around 7:25 a.m. Punxsutawney Phil was awakened from his burrow and saw his shadow, which calls for six more weeks of winter weather. The live feed of this morning’s festivities can be seen here: https://www.groundhog.org/.
While today is a day that puts the spotlight on groundhogs, Grandfather Mountain’s animals have their own thoughts on the holiday and are thoroughly enjoying the snow, according to a recent press release.
Below are some photos submitted by Grandfather Mountain.
Groundhog shmoundhog. When it comes to six more weeks of winter, Uno the river otter says, “Bring it!” Uno is one of three North American river otter rescues who reside on Grandfather Mountain. Otters are specially adapted for dealing with cold, icy winters, as they have a very thick fur coat and layer of fat to help keep them warm. For swimming in such conditions, their skin produces oils that help to waterproof their fur, and their fur traps in air for extra insulation — sort of like a natural scuba suit. Due to these special adaptations, Uno never has to worry about getting cold and can play in the snow and swim in his icy pond to his little heart’s content — regardless of the Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction. Animal lovers can symbolically adopt Uno and his pals or send them a special gift by visiting www.grandfather.com.
Oscar, one of Grandfather Mountain’s resident river otter rescues, sports a snow-dappled snout after a play session in the snow.
Trinity, one of Grandfather Mountain’s resident Western cougars, takes pause — or paws — to admire the winter snowscape.
Trinity, one of Grandfather Mountain’s Western cougar rescues, explores her snow-covered habitat, after the Linville, N.C., nature park was — and continues to be — blanketed in snow.
One of Grandfather Mountain’s resident elk enjoys a snowy sunrise in his environmental wildlife habitat.
Grandfather Mountain’s resident elk — Doc, Merle and Watson — gather for breakfast on a snowy morning.
To see the animals and more at Grandfather Mountain, visits can be booked at www.grandfather.com. Grandfather Mountain also has a YouTube channel, which features numerous recent videos of the animals enjoying the snow.