Phil FAQ

Learn more about the legendary Punxsutawney Phil!

Punxsutawney Phil

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are all the other weather predicting animals?
Punxsutawney Phil is the only true weather forecasting groundhog. The others are just impostors.

How often is Phil's prediction correct?
100% of the time, of course!

How many "Phils" have there been over the years? 
There has only been one Punxsutawney Phil. He has been making predictions since 1886!  Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity from drinking the "elixir of life," a secret recipe. Phil takes one sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic and it magically gives him seven more years of life.

When is Groundhog Day?
February 2nd. So the day of the week changes each year it is on. On February 2, Phil comes out of his burrow on Gobbler's Knob - in front of thousands of followers from all over the world - to predict the weather for the rest of winter.

What is the Legend?
According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.

Are the predictions made in advance?
No! Phil's forecasts are not made in advance by the Inner Circle. After Phil emerges from his burrow on February 2, he speaks to the Groundhog Club president in "Groundhogese"(a language only understood by the current president of the Inner Circle). His proclamation is then translated for the world.

Where did the Tradition of Groundhog Day come from?
The celebration of Groundhog Day began with Pennsylvania's earliest settlers. They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states, "For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May..."

When was the first Groundhog Day celebrated?
Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the 1800s. The first official trek to Gobbler's Knob was made on February 2, 1887.

Why is his name Phil?
So the story goes, Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Phillip. Prior to being called Phil, he was called Br'er Groundhog.

Does Phil have any children?
No, Phil has never had any children.

Does Phil have a wife?
Yes, her name is Phyliss. She doesn’t receive the Elixir of Life so she will not live forever like Phil.

Where does Phil live?
In his burrow of course! It is a manmade zoo that is climate controlled and light regulated. It is connected with Barclay Square, the town park, and the Punxsutawney Memorial Library.

How often can you see Phil?
You can see Phil every day! There is a viewing window from the outside. So you can see him anytime you visit.

Does Phil hibernate?
No, he doesn’t go into full hibernation. This is because he lives in a climate-controlled environment. In the wild, groundhogs are signaled when to hibernate by the change in the daylight hours. In Phil’s burrow, the lights are consistent year-round and so is the temperature. He is fed and cared for every day, so he does not have to search for food. In the winter months, he does slow down, eats less, and sleeps more, but he doesn’t hibernate.

What does Phil feel like?
Phil’s outer layer of fur is somewhat coarse. It feels like a German Shepard. It is used to keep him dry. His inner layer of fur is soft, much like a bunny. It is used to keep him warm. He does shed is fur with the change in the seasons. 

How much does he weigh?
Well, that depends on the time of the year. In the summer months he is much larger because he eats more. In the winter he is smaller. The range is anywhere between 11- 17 pounds.

What does he eat?
He gets a steady diet of veggies. His tastes change much as humans do. For a time he will really enjoy carrots then a month later he might now want them at all. A few things that seem to remain consistent is kale, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, and bananas 

Does he eat fruit?
Some! He enjoys bananas and apples. Blueberries and strawberries are not good groundhogs much like some fruit isn’t good for dogs and cats. 

Does Phil go to the Vet?
Yep! Each year he gets a physical and check-up. He is required by the USDA rules the GHC is governed by.

Are you allowed to pet Phil?
No, unfortunately, you cannot. He is a wild animal and the only ones that are permitted to touch him are his handlers.

How sharp are his teeth?
Well, he has two teeth on the top and two teeth on the bottle. They are VERY sharp. He does bite. He doesn’t do it to be mean, but it's just his nature. The handlers were specific animal handling gloves with a pair of chain mil gloves that butchers wear underneath. Phil’s teeth are made to chomp through tree roots like any other burrowing animal in the wild. 

Has Phil ever lost a tooth?
Yes. His dentist examined it and saw that it had a cavity. This was due to his favorite treat of honey and oat granola bars that have sugar in them. Groundhogs teeth continuous grow. That is why they constantly are chewing and gnawing on things. Phil’s tooth grew back in no time at all! His handlers lessened his intake of granola bars so he wouldn’t get in trouble by the dentist.

What does Phil do in his spare time?
He enjoys a good book and reading the daily newspaper. He spends time with the Inner Circle and making appearances. He often visits schools, participates in parades, attends professional sporting events as a guest of honor, and meets fans all across the world that come to see him.

Does Phil travel?
He sure does! He travels in a plexiglass container. Usually, when he travels, the Inner Circle will take the Groundhog Bus. Yes! The Groundhog Bus. He has his very own custom bus. 

How do I request a Phil Appearance?
Visit our Appearance Request page! We have a form for you to fill out. We try to accommodate as many as possible but we cannot do every request we receive.


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