If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you have a job, or school, or some other obligations that require you to get up and face the world, shadow or no shadow, on February 2.
But if you are a dumb hibernating mammal, and your chief career ambition is to find a mate before a car or a farmer’s bullet finds you, why wouldn’t you just sleep in? Unless, of course, you lived in Punxsutawney and had cameras shoved in your face.
The answer, of course, is, well, to put it delicately, finding a mate. After all, if you are short, fat, live in a real hole in the ground, have orange buck teeth, and hair all over your body, you can’t even spin your Facebook profile to appear desirable. You have to take matters into your own paws and go out and face the world.
That is why male groundhogs come out of hibernation earlier than the females. They wake up, smell the coffee, and check out the neighborhood to find out where the females’ burrows are. Then they may decide to crawl into a female’s burrow to spend the night.
No hanky-panky takes place during these meetings. After all, the females are still hibernating, and their body temperatures can be as low as 39 F. It will take them a while to warm up to any male attention. It’s a wonder they don’t just slap the males.
However, this meeting serves as an introduction, and when the females wake up in the spring, the males can use that “haven’t I seen you before” pickup line without totally lying through their teeth.
My single male readers should not use the groundhog’s methods of finding a mate, but they can take heart in knowing that even if you are not the smartest, richest, fastest, or handsomest guy around, there can still be someone for you, and an enterprising spirit is often rewarded, particularly if you are working while others sleep.