Punxsutawney Phil Pictures, Images and Stock Photos

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The groundhog, or Marmota monax, is also called a woodchuck and is in the rodent family of Sciuridae, and in the general category of marmot. The groundhog is shown in detail standing erect looking left, as if on alert. Its fur, whiskers, ears front limbs and claws are in fine focus. There is one small piece of green grass resting on its bottom lip and the photograph shows both the thicker brown undercoat and the longer, lighter guard hairs. Its underbelly is damp from the morning dew.

This adult woodchuck - also called a groundhog - is alert and watching cautiously, but waiting calmly at the edge of the dirt and gravel vehicle trail which meanders around the main swamp at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. This animal refuge is a large, protected area of swamp and marshland at the northern end of Cayuga Lake - the longest, and one of the two largest of the eleven Finger Lakes in western New York, USA - located about halfway between Syracuse, NY and Rochester, NY. This groundhog is up and about on a May summer day in New York State. But every year in early February, "Punxsutawney Phil" - the legendary name given to a groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania - is watched closely when he or she first emerges from the burrow after winter hibernation, because the rodent's initial behavior allegedly forecasts when the spring season will begin.

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