Groundhog Day: Shubenacadie Sam says early spring, Lucy the Lobster says not so fast

Click to play video: 'Groundhog Day: Shubenacadie Sam makes her prediction'
Groundhog Day: Shubenacadie Sam makes her prediction
Shubenacadie Sam makes her prediction for Groundhog Day 2024 – Feb 2, 2024

Two very different weather-watching critters in Nova Scotia had two very different Groundhog Day predictions Friday morning.

At the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, Nova Scotia’s most famous groundhog said no to six more weeks of winter.

At first, Shubenacadie Sam took a bit of coaxing to emerge from her hut shortly after 8 a.m.

“Not surprisingly, (she’s) probably more keen to stay in her warm den,” remarked Andrew Boyne, director of wildlife with Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources and Renewables.

Shubenacadie Sam climbs out of her burrow and predicts an early spring during a Groundhog Day event at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park in Nova Scotia on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ted Pritchard

When Sam did finally emerge, she only stayed out for a moment before hiding in a nearby shrub.

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But that was enough time to make her prediction, Boyne said.

“Although that was a quick, fleeting duck into the Christmas trees, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Sam did not see her shadow, which is an indication that spring is on its way,” he said.

“So we can expect an early spring this year.”

The announcement was followed by some cheers and boos from the crowd.

Sam is the first groundhog in North America to make a prediction due to the province’s Atlantic time zone.

Lucy the Lobster, wearing a sou’wester hat, also made a Groundhog Day prediction.
Lucy the Lobster, wearing a sou’wester hat, also made a Groundhog Day prediction. Facebook/Nova Scotia Lobster Crawl

But there’s still hope for people who love winter: more than 300 kilometres away in Barrington, N.S., a very different animal made a very different prediction.

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Lucy the Lobster, a six-pound, 25-year-old crustacean, crawled out of the ocean and immediately saw her shadow, meaning winter will last another six weeks.

While there were some boos from the crowd, there were also a couple of cheers, including one spectator who cried: “Yay, more lobster season!”

Click to play video: 'Groundhog Day: Lucy the Lobster says six more weeks of winter'
Groundhog Day: Lucy the Lobster says six more weeks of winter

Lucy’s prediction kicked off the Nova Scotia Lobster Crawl in Barrington, which is considered the lobster capital of Canada.

Last year, the two animals agreed there will be six more weeks of winter.

Other groundhogs

It seems some fellow groundhogs are in agreement with Sam.

Wiarton Willie, the rodent prognosticator for Ontario, also didn’t see his shadow, meaning an early spring for Ontarians.

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There are other major weather forecasting varmints who attract attention in Canada, including Fred la Marmotte in Quebec.

Fred la Marmotte passed away last year just before the annual ceremony, but the community of Val-d’Espoir has found a new marmot to replace him this year — who also failed to see his shadow.

Meanwhile, the legendary Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania — which the 1993 movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray is based upon — also did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring.

But some groundhogs disagree. Alberta’s Balzac Billy and the hand puppet Manitoba Merv both saw their shadows, indicating that winter will stick around for another six weeks.

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And British Columbia’s Van Isle Violet also calls for six more weeks of winter and is “keen to return to hibernation,” according to the Marmot Recovery Foundation.

— with files from The Canadian Press and Global News’ Kevin Nielsen 

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