VIDEO: Essex Ed Predicts Early Spring
Groundhog day celebrated at Essex County's Turtle Back Zoo
Essex Ed made more than one prediction today, forecasting an early Spring and a Superbowl win for the Giants during the annual Groundhog Day ceremony at Turtle Back Zoo.
Essex Ed was the tie-breaker vote between an earlier prediction by Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil who predicted six more weeks of winter and Staten Island's Chuck who called for an early spring.
With a nine of out 10 track record of being right, the winter-phobes and Giant fans can be sure of Essex Ed's predictions, Dr. Jeremy Goodman, zoo director at Turtle Back Zoo said. "He's not just a regular groundhog, he's a very special groundhog."
With rodent like teeth, groundhogs are also known as woodchucks as they chew on wood to gnaw their teeth down. Mainly eating vegetation, Essex Ed's favorite meals include pears and bananas.
Goodman said Essex Ed was an orphaned and rehab groundhog. "We were able to nurse him back to health ... he has a great home here at Turtle Back Zoo and really enjoys the spotlight this time of year."
Children gathered around the Essex Ed eager to hear his predictions. "When he sees his shadow ... that means we have six more days of winter," Natalie Terwilliger, 4, of New York, said.
According to the myth, if a groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter; if he does not, spring is around the corner.
Groundhog Day actually originated in the Roman times according to Tamara Myhal, animal keeper at the zoo. She said a hedgehog was used to predict the weather but when settlers arrived in America, they began using groundhogs because there were no wild hedgehogs.
See video for more details.