Transfer over groundhog, it’s Armadillo Day


Whereas a lot of the nation celebrates Groundhog Day on Thursday, Texas, identified for its unbiased spirit, will go in one other path. There, this annual occasion wherein an animal predicts how for much longer winter will final, is named Armadillo Day.

Groundhogs have been doing this job in west-central Pennsylvania for greater than 135 years. These furry rodents inhabit a lot of the Japanese United States however usually are not present in Texas. So in 2010, Texans selected the nine-banded armadillo (pronounced arm-uh-DILL-oh), their state’s new official small mammal, as their weathercaster each February 2.

He’s named Bee Cave Bob, after town of his start. On Groundhog, er, Armadillo Day, Bob is taken exterior to satisfy his obligation. If it’s a clear day and he casts a shadow, the legend says there can be six extra weeks of winter. A cloudy day means no shadow … and an early spring.

It’s the identical ritual that Pennsylvania’s well-known groundhog, Punxsutawny Phil, follows. However within the battle of four-legged forecasters, Texas yields to nobody. “We don’t want no mangy groundhog in Pennsylvania predicting climate for us,” Terry Boothe, a fifth-generation Texan and Bob’s largest fan, advised reporters final yr.

The origin of No matter-You-Need-To-Name-It Day is rooted in Europe a number of centuries in the past, with primarily badgers within the starring position. German-speaking immigrants introduced the custom to Pennsylvania. Discovering no badgers, within the Eighties they made the groundhog their go-to animal for winter climate knowledge.

Neither Bee Cave Bob nor Punxsutawny (pungs-soo-TAH-nee) Phil, nonetheless, has a terrific observe document. Each are mentioned to be incorrect extra typically than proper, however it’s a robust name since there is no such thing as a clear reply as to when winter ends and spring begins.

KidsPost shouldn’t be taking sides within the groundhog/armadillo debate. Let’s study extra about them so we will admire each.

“Armadillo” is Spanish for “little armored one.” Of the 20 species, just one — the nine-banded armadillo — is native to the US. Bands are movable sections of the mammal’s arduous shell.

9-banded armadillos develop to about 30 inches lengthy, with a median weight of 12 kilos. Different armadillo species vary from 3 inches to five ft. Armadillos can dwell as much as 30 years within the wild.

Armadillos primarily eat bugs. They’ve sturdy claws and may dig burrows 20 ft lengthy, wherein they sleep as much as 16 hours a day. When threatened, smaller armadillos roll up in a ball and play useless. Bigger ones can soar 4 ft excessive when scared or shocked.

Armadillos can maintain their breath for as much as six minutes and stroll underwater or float on the floor

Cool truth: 9-banded armadillos have litters of 4 an identical pups. Quadruplets!

These furry rodents, additionally referred to as woodchucks, are within the squirrel household. They’re good swimmers and may climb timber. They feast on grass, different vegetation, fruit and bark all summer season to allow them to hibernate (be inactive and save power) all winter.

Groundhogs are just like armadillos in measurement, weight and digging expertise. Their burrows could be greater than 60 ft lengthy, with a number of rooms and even “loos” (with out a rest room and tub, we presume).

They use their sharp claws and enamel to assault crops equivalent to carrots from beneath, pulling them into their burrows. To scale back put on and tear from all that consuming, their entrance enamel develop 1/sixteenth of an inch every week.

Groundhogs can dwell as much as six years within the wild, though half that age is extra frequent.

Cool truth: A groundhog’s coronary heart charge decreases from 75 beats per minute to 4 throughout hibernation.

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