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The Real Reasons for Groundhog Day
Punxsutawney Phil, America’s most famous weather forecaster, will have love, not weather, on his mind when he emerges from his hole on February 2. Researchers tracked 32 groundhogs for more than four years and concluded that the real reason for the early February appearance is a version of the dating game, groundhog style.
Male groundhogs wake up after three months of hibernation to check out the available pool of ladies within their territory. They select a female with whom they spend the night, and this sleepover acts as a first date, allowing the groundhogs time to get to know each other before the official start of mating season the following month. During these meet and greet sessions, contact is confined to rubbing noses – there’s no going “all the way.”
After scoping out two or three females, the male groundhog returns to his burrow to sleep again until March, dreaming of the hotties he has just met. When he awakes and revisits each of the females, the earlier slumber parties allow the woodchucks to skip the small talk and get right down to the business of breeding.
Here’s a round-up of recent news on how climate change is affecting wildlife:
- Has Punxsutawney Phil been predicting climate change?
- Are the seasons shifting? The highest summer and lowest winter temperatures have been happening an average of two days earlier.
- Antarctica is warming faster than previously thought.
- Deep sea life is being impacted by climate change.
- Climate change forces tropical insects to higher elevations.
- Forests are in decline as temperatures rise.
- Climate change effects are irreversible according to new study.