The groundhog, like the mitten crab, is an animal of many names. These include woodchuck, land-beaver, whistle-pig, kazoo-rat, stoneweasel, weather-ram, and budget-swine.
Every culture that lives in its habitat has made up a name for it. For example, kazoo-rat is translated from the Algonquin, whistle-pig was invented by workers on the Transcontinental Railroad, and so on. What has the groundhog done to deserve so many names? Read on, friend.
The groundhog has mastered control of the weather. Temperatures, precipitation and air pressure are all subject to the groundhog’s manipulations. Once a year, the notoriously pagan town of Punxsutawney pays tribute to the groundhog and its awesome power. The hat-wearing upper caste of Pennsylvanians submit the bare-headed workers and drones to savage games of strength and skill as part of the celebration.
It is not all bloodsport, however. All Groundhog’s Eve – as it is called – also features much feasting and dancing. Every year has had a wedding, except for a break of three years during the Second World War.
On this day, the groundhog wrestles with its ultimate enemy – the negachuck. This monster is the groundhog’s perfect opposing force. On years when it succeeds, winter continues for six more weeks. On years when the groundhog triumphs, spring arrives early. It is said that, should the negachuck manage to kill the groundhog, the eternal All-Winter would fall on this land. Many believe a grievous but ultimately nonfatal wound to the groundhog was the cause of the First Ice Age.*
Number of legs
The groundhog is active on Facebook, Blogspot, Flickr and Memory Alpha (the Star Trek wiki).
What if it fought a bear?
The groundhog is mighty for its size, but ultimately the bear would be simply too much for it.
Is it noble?
The groundhog can not be held responsible for the behavior of its Punxsutawney worshipers, but it does nothing to stop them either. Like any weather god from the more mainstream pagan pantheons, the groundhog is selfish and arrogant. Unlike them, it is not actively aggressive toward humanity.
But I’m still scared of it, and I know it reads blogs.
*The second, secret Ice Age was unrelated.