On Tuesday, March 5, Mr. Wagler’s 4/5 class stopped in Sun Prairie to learn about Jimmy the Groundhog. First thing you need to know is that Groundhog Day started a long time ago over in Germany. It was brought over from Germany by three gentlemen in 1947. Doctor James Weiger was the man who actually caught the first groundhog, so he got to have the honor of having the groundhogs be named after him.
Cherie Krisher (“mother” of Jimmy) has had the Jimmies for 18 years of generations. She told us that the first groundhog was pretty aggressive, but as the groundhogs spent more time in captivity they became more gentle.
Groundhog Day is very important to Sun Prairie. This year Jimmy rode up in a limo. Anybody whose birthday is February 2 gets to have birthday cake up by Jimmy the Groundhog. The mayor, who supposedly can speak Groundhogish, picks Jimmy up and tells the crowd that they will be having six more weeks of winter or an early spring.
Jimmy the Groundhog predicts if we will have six more weeks of winter. If he sees his shadow he will get scared and go back to his den, and there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, he doesn’t get scared and starts playing outside. Spring will come.
Groundhog Day is always February 2 because that is when the first Jimmy was born. There have been seven Jimmy the Groundhogs.
A carrot and peanut butter is a great treat for Jimmy. His normal food, though, is rabbit pellets. He gets them three or less times a day. He lives (in winter) in a crate about eight feet tall and four feed wide. The crate is full of hay so Jimmy can burrow down.
Burrowing is a natural thing that groundhogs do. It’s for safety, warmth, food, and shelter. Groundhogs are smart and neat, so if you see their burrows you’d laugh. They have two compartments, one for sleeping and one for a bathroom (and they have an extra escape route just in case).
Check out Jimmy next February 2 (pray he doesn’t see his shadow!).