Canadian Groundhog Fred la Marmotte Found Dead Before Groundhog Day
Canadian groundhog Fred la Marmotte died before he could predict the arrival of the spring season on Groundhog Day on Thursday.
Fred, 9, was found dead overnight by Roberto Blondin, the organizer of the annual la Jour de Fred event — or Fred's day — in Val-d'Espoir, Quebec, Reuters reported.
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According to The Guardian, Fred showed "no vital signs" after Blondin tried to wake him, local media reported. Blondin said Fred may have died last year while in hibernation, per Reuters.
"In life, the only thing that's certain is that nothing is certain," Blondin said, according to the outlet. "Well, this year it's true. It's sadly true. I announce to you that Fred is dead."
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The event went on without Fred, as Blondin gave a stuffed toy version of a groundhog to a child standing in the sun to honor the tradition.
A shadow was cast, forecasting that spring will be delayed and that winter will be prolonged for another six weeks.
The tradition of Groundhog Day says that if a prognosticator groundhog sees its shadow on the morning of the holiday, there will be six more weeks of winter, but if the animal doesn't, then spring will arrive early.
Last year, New Jersey groundhog Milltown Mel died days before he was supposed to make his annual Groundhog Day appearance on Feb. 2.
Because of Milltown Mel's sudden death and the inability to recruit a new groundhog to make Mel's 2022 prediction, Milltown Mel's annual prediction ceremony was canceled.