Woody the Woodchuck Says Spring Is Near

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Despite a recent cold snap, Woody the Woodchuck predicts that spring is right around the corner.

The forecast from Michigan's resident prognosticating groundhog is consistent with other weather whistlepigs across the nation, including Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania.

Phil did not see his shadow on Friday, which, according to German folklore, means folks can expect an early spring instead of six more weeks of winter.

The Germans believed that if a hibernating animal cast a shadow Feb. 2, the Christian holiday of Candlemas, winter would last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend said spring would come early.

About 75 onlookers at the Howell Conference and Nature Center watched Woody walk out of her hutch and wander over to nibble on some bananas and peanuts, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Woody indicated there will be an early spring by hanging out for at least 30 seconds. Her handlers tell The Ann Arbor News that if she quickly scurries back inside, that means six more weeks of winter.

This was Woody's ninth prediction. She signaled an early spring last year, too, but that outlook turned out to be wrong. However, her track record is good. She has correctly predicted when spring would arrive six out of the past eight years.

When she's not doing her predicting on Groundhog Day, Woody can be found visiting schools and libraries.

"She's quite the diva," said Dana DeBenham, the nature center's wildlife director.