Despite Bribes, Russian Groundhog Predicts More Winter

By Sadie Bass

Feb 2, 2010 9:29am

ABC's Alexander Marquardt reports from Moscow: Just what Russia needs, more winter. Punxsutawney Phil’s Russian counterpart, Olesya the Groundhog, has also predicted a long winter, sure to inspire a collective groan from Russians who have suffered through an unusually cold winter so far. However, unlike Phil, Olesya did not see her shadow. The prediction was made because she didn’t even bother to come out of her hole to look for it.  “Today our groundhog Olesya worked as a meteorologist, predicting that we should not expect spring to come soon because she refused to come out of her burrow,” a spokeswoman for the Limpopo Zoo in the western Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod told ABC News. The next logical step was obviously to bribe the groundhog. “We tried to encourage her to come out by giving her her favorite food – cabbage, carrots and nuts. But even that didn’t make her come out,” the spokeswoman said. Earlier, a zoo staffer had expressed skepticism with the accuracy of groundhogs’ predictions, noting Phil’s 38% record.  Though he admitted an early spring would be nice. A warmer-than-average fall prevented the Limpopo Zoo’s groundhogs from hibernating this year so they decided to start up the Gobbler’s Knob tradition in Nizhny Novgorod.  Last year, the zoo’s groundhogs were sound asleep at this time.

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