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Florida’s ‘Groundhog’ Conch Gives Punxsutawney Phil a Run for His Money


Pennsylvania’s famed groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, may have competition as tourism officials in Florida claim a conch at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters in Marathon can also predict the duration of winter weather ahead. Video released on Groundhog Day, February 2, by the Florida Keys News Bureau – an agency owned by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council that promotes tourism in the Florida Keys and Key West – shows the conch slip out of its shell for a few moments before rushing back inside. According to Groundhog Day folklore, if Punxsutawney Phil ventures outside and sees his own shadow, six more weeks of winter will follow. Though the mythology surrounding the mollusk in Marathon is not so well established, the Florida Keys News Bureau said the conch came out of its shell the same day and “reportedly saw its shadow,” just as Phil had Wednesday morning. The conch in Florida wasn’t the only challenger in Phil’s field. Since the 1990s, residents of Woodstock, Illinois – the town where the 1993 movie Groundhog Day was filmed – have been calling on the wisdom of their own groundhog to forecast the season ahead. This year, Woodstock Willie failed to see his shadow and therefore predicted an early spring — contradicting Punxsutawney Phil’s more chilling prediction. Credit: Florida Keys News Bureau via Storyful

Pennsylvania’s famed groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, may have competition as tourism officials in Florida claim a conch at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters in Marathon can also predict the duration of winter weather ahead. Video released on Groundhog Day, February 2, by the Florida Keys News Bureau – an agency owned by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council that promotes tourism in the Florida Keys and Key West – shows the conch slip out of its shell for a few moments before rushing back inside. According to Groundhog Day folklore, if Punxsutawney Phil ventures outside and sees his own shadow, six more weeks of winter will follow. Though the mythology surrounding the mollusk in Marathon is not so well established, the Florida Keys News Bureau said the conch came out of its shell the same day and “reportedly saw its shadow,” just as Phil had Wednesday morning. The conch in Florida wasn’t the only challenger in Phil’s field. Since the 1990s, residents of Woodstock, Illinois – the town where the 1993 movie Groundhog Day was filmed – have been calling on the wisdom of their own groundhog to forecast the season ahead. This year, Woodstock Willie failed to see his shadow and therefore predicted an early spring — contradicting Punxsutawney Phil’s more chilling prediction. Credit: Florida Keys News Bureau via Storyful

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