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Groundhog-less Alaska celebrates its first-ever Marmot Day

February 2, 2010 | 10:06 am


Alaska now has its own version of Groundhog Day.

Then-Gov. Sarah Palin signed a bill last year to make every Feb. 2 Marmot Day in Alaska; today marks the first celebration of the holiday. The bill was introduced by state Sen. Linda Menard, a Wasilla Republican.

Because there are no groundhogs in Alaska, Menard says it made sense for the marmot to become Alaska's version of Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog famed for his winter weather forecasts. Menard's bill didn't give marmots any weather forecasting duties, but she hopes the state will create educational activities around the animal.

Marmots typically live in burrows, often within rock piles, and hibernate there during the winter months. Most marmots are highly social and use loud whistles to communicate with one another, especially when alarmed. They primarily eat greens and many types of grasses, berries, lichens, mosses, roots and flowers.

PETA wants to replace famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil with an animatronic replica

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: A marmot is seen alongside Moonlight Lake in Inyo National Forest. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

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