GROUNDHOG DAY 2023
How long do groundhogs live? How old was Milltown Mel?
Last year Milltown, NJ was unable to celebrate groundhog day because their beloved friend, Mel, died just before the event. How long do groundhogs live?
2023 will be the second year in a row that there won’t be a Groundhog Day prediction in Milltown, New Jersey, following the death of Milltown Mel last year. His Wranglers announced the news on Facebook just days before the town’s celebrations were set to take place. “We Wranglers are sad to report that Milltown Mel recently crossed over the rainbow bridge,” the Facebook post read.
On 29 January, the Wranglers took to Facebook once again to report the sad news that the festivities would be canceled again. The group said that they had found a groundhog who they “scheduled to have [make] his debut,” but that his presence in New Jersey would have violated state law.
“We have been trying to find a replacement that the state will approve of, but we could not make it happen in time for this year,” said the Wrangles, adding that for now, the community should “listen to Phil and all his cousins!”
How old was Milltown Mel?
The Milltown Groundhog Day tradition began in 2009 after Jerry and Cathy Guthlein went to Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania to witness Mel’s cousin Punxsutawney Phil on Gobbler’s Knob, make his annual weather forecast. OG Mel was replaced in 2015 by Mel 2.0, who had been auguring the early arrival of spring or more wintery weather until his passing which didn’t come as much of a surprise.
“Considering the average lifespan of a Groundhog is about 3 years, that is not such a shock,” a post read on his Facebook page.
Read more from AS USA:
How long do groundhogs live?
Your average groundhog doesn’t have a very long career predicting the weather, so with nearly seven years under his belt, Mel had a pretty good run. Wild groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, on average live four to five years but can live up to six years. In captivity, they can live ten or more years.
However, they spend half their life asleep in a coma-like state and will not wake even if touched. They enter their burrows in the fall to begin the hibernation process and will be completely asleep by mid-October. They remain in that state until roughly February when they wake up briefly to look for potential mates before returning underground. They don’t come out for good until March.
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