by Robert Cohen -
How much ground could a groundhog grind if a groundhog
could grind ground? In reality, a groundhog is actually a woodchuck, and
the most famous wood-chucking groundhog of all time is that furry
Pennsylvania rodent, Punxsutawney Phil.
Groundhog Day marks the midpoint of winter, Candlemas
Day. On Friday, Phil stepped out of his shelter to look for his shadow,
but that's not ground-breaking, earth-shattering news.
The big news is that Punxsutawney Phil is the Holstein
cow of woodchucks. He's the pig of groundhogs. Allow me to explain. On
average, woodchucks weigh a little over five pounds when they emerge
from hibernation in the spring. After a summer of eating, September
weights can soar to ten
pounds. The largest woodchucks may weigh as much as fourteen pounds, but
Phil is even heavier than that!
What has Phil been munching on underground? The root of
his obesity is not roots. It's dairy! Bill Deeley, the local funeral
home director who emcees Punxsutawney's much-publicized Groundhog Day
Festival and sees to Phil's needs 365 days out of the year, had this to
say about Phil's diet:
"He's naturally a vegetarian. But he loves ice cream and
Phil the groundcow weighed in at 15 pounds and measured
22 inches in length.
Could an overweight Phil be due to the powerful growth
factors in milk and dairy products? Groundhogs should not be eating a
diet of bovine growth hormones and high calorie-containing saturated
If only Dr. Seuss was still around to report this story.
He might have written something like this:
Phil had his fill, and now he's quite ill.
Big chuck, pig chuck, groundcow, round cow.
Oh, yes. Eyewitnesses saw Phil spring from his burrow
and reported that he saw his own shadow. Six more weeks of winter. Easy
on the ice cream, or he'll be in for one big fall next summer.
Go on to World Day of
Action Against Seal Hunting
Return to 7 February 2001 Issue
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