Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Real Groundhogs of New York City

This is a funny story, at NYT, "In Burrows Across the City, It’s Groundhog Day Year Round":
Staten Island Chuck lives the pampered life one would expect of a celebrity groundhog, lounging in a heated nursery at the Staten Island Zoo and noshing on sweet potatoes as the world outside shivers.

But as Chuck gears up to make a weather prediction Saturday alongside heavily gloved handlers and politicians, his wild counterparts occupy the proverbial other side of the tracks.

Meet the Real Groundhogs of New York City, a population of perhaps a few dozen scattered throughout city parks, botanical gardens and cemeteries, some so isolated from any other groundhog community that naturalists do not know for sure how they got there.

Right now, of course, they are sound asleep, as groundhogs are meant to be in midwinter (the greenhouse conditions in Chuck’s lair throw his hibernation software out of whack). When the weather warms, though, they emerge from burrows all over: Astoria Park in Queens, Conference House Park at the bottom of Staten Island and Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx.
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