Animal Writes
7 February 2001 Issue
Groundcow Day

by Robert Cohen - [email protected] 

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 strawberry sundaes."

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 animal fat.

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
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