Saskatchewan’s unofficial groundhog is predicting an early spring.
Whelan Woody lives at Whelan Bay, north of Candle Lake.
“And he also added something different this year; he’s saying that the Saskatchewan Roughriders are going to have a much better season,” said Woody’s handler, Shanno Lidster.
Woody is not your typical groundhog. He does not sleep in the ground, but rather in the comforts of the home of Lidster and her husband, Richard Burton.
Two years ago, Burton had discovered Woody when he was a baby and decided to bring him home.
“He’s like a big cat with big teeth and claws. He has his own litter box and he has made his own pods or houses throughout our home,” said Lidster.
Lidster said Woody is very cuddly but has sharp claws so she has to wear gloves when playing with him.
The couple has a Groundhog Day party each year. The winner of the annual card game gets their name scrawled on a special trophy.
“And the trophy is actually a big chunk of wood that Woody has gnawed on for about half an hour, so we just scrawl (the winners) names on it each year,” she said.
Two of Canada’s more official groundhogs have conflicting predictions this year.
Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam is calling for an early spring, while Ontario’s Wiarton Willie predicted six more weeks of winter.
South of the border, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early end to winter.