UPDATE: Groundhog predicts 10 more weeks of winter

By Nigel Maxwell
February 2, 2017 - 11:04am

UPDATE: Saskatchewan groundhog Whelan Woody, saw his shadow this morning meaning not six, but 10 more weeks of winter, placing the start of spring somewhere around April 12.

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Whelan Woody, Saskatchewan's only groundhog, will soon tell us whether we are in store for an early spring or a longer winter.

Woody lives at Whelan Bay, north of Candle Lake. His handler Shanno Lidster predicts he will see his shadow on Thursday.

"Last year he predicted an early spring and he was absolutely correct. He also did a side prediction that the Riders were going to have a better season and believe it or not they did,"  she said.

Woody is not your typical groundhog as he lives inside a house with Lidster and her husband Richard Burton. 

The couple found him three years ago in the woods, when he was just a baby. While other groundhogs might burrow a hole in the ground, Woody enjoys the comforts of Burton's sock drawer.

"He's got a favourite drawer that he likes to gnaw on so I'm glad he's just sticking to just one piece of furniture," Lidster said.

Lidster said Woody is very much like a cat with big teeth. He is also very smart.

"He's able to get on top of things, like he pulls drawers open and makes steps. He also understands the difference between inside and outside as he can open doors.

Each year the couple hosts a special Groundhog Day party. The festivities usually include some sort of competition and the winner gets a trophy carved by Woody himself; a block of wood he has chewed on.

"This is the third year for the trophy and I'm hoping it stays home. Either my husband or myself win."

 

nmaxwell@panow.com

On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell

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