Today is Groundhog Day, and we learned that Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, meaning an early spring. But what does a Groundhog in Pennsylvania know about the Northland? So I found the next best thing in Duluth for a prediction.

I visited the Lake Superior Zoo this morning to conduct our own springtime prediction ceremony, not with a groundhog, but with the colony of Black-tailed prairie dogs at the zoo.

The prairie dogs habitat at the zoo is found near the main building, and zoo staff estimate that there are about 25-30 of the rodents in the exhibit, it's hard to get an accurate count as they spend a majority of their time underground.


When I arrived at the enclosure, all was quiet, not a prairie dog in sight. But the staff at the Lake Superior Zoo were expecting this, so they came prepared to try and entice the little furry creatures out of hiding. The animal care team went into the exhibit and distributed some leave piles and peanuts, both of which the prairie dogs enjoying eating.


After about a twenty-minute wait, we decided that the Lake Superior Zoo prairie dogs DID NOT see their shadow, so that means an early spring for the Northland!

The animal care staff said that the prairie dogs mostly remain underground when it's cold, but they do not fully hibernate. They will sometimes make an appearance when the sun is out, but they generally stay cozy and safe in their tunnels underground.

Big thanks to staff at the Lake Superior Zoo for helping out this morning and remember that they are open year around, and with the weather so mild it might be fun to take a mid-winter trip to the Lake Superior Zoo.

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