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Female groundhog tops males in picking winters

2/2/2007

HOWELL, Mich.— Woody has something the nation's other
prognosticating groundhogs don't.

Female intuition.

Other groundhogs — Gen. Beauregard Lee in Georgia, Sir Walter
Wally in North Carolina and, of course, Punxsutawney Phil in
Pennsylvania — might be more established, but Woody has a pretty
good track record.

She has correctly predicted when spring would arrive six out of
eight years.

Why is she so successful?

She relies on her stomach, said Richard Grant, executive
director of the Howell Conference and Nature Center.

Grant said
groundhogs eat a lot before the winter, but don't consume much
during the colder months.

So, on Friday, if Woody comes out of her home, eats any of the
food placed in front of her — such as bananas and peanuts — and
stays out for at least 30 seconds, then spring is coming soon. If
not, we're in for another six weeks of winter.

Grant said science proves that Woody's sex is an advantage.

Female groundhogs ``have a whole lot more responsibility,'' he
said, including motherhood. ``What do male groundhogs do? They mate
... and then they get hit by cars.''