News Society, 08/02/2020

Kharkiv Groundhog Announces Early Spring

On February 1, one day before official Groundhog Day traditionally celebrated on February 2, Kharkiv groundhog Tymko III predicted an early spring. The event took place at the biological station of Karazin Kharkiv National University.

For the third consecutive year, Tymko III has predicted the weather, succeeding his father Tymko II who had retired after nine years of forecasts.

At midday, Nadiya Tokarska, the groundhog’s keeper, woke the animal up and informed all comers about Tymko’s prediction. The day was cloudy and the groundhog was unable to see his shadow, meaning an early-arriving spring.

Nadiya noted that it’s the first time when there wasn’t any snow on that day.

Tymko also gave another jocular forecast. Last year, he predicted who would get the throne in the 8th season of a popular series “Games of Thrones.” Previously the groundhog predicted the results of a football match, fluctuations of the dollar, the visa-free regime and the possibility of life on Mars.

This year, the groundhog was asked if we should expect a snowy winter next year. In spite of “attempted bribery,” by way of a bunch of carrots and apples, put next to the jar with the inscription “Snow,” the groundhog three times chose the jar labeled “No Snow.” According to Tymko, there won’t be snow next winter again.

“Our groundhog Tymko never makes a mistake, only the weather lets us down,” assures Ludmyla Dolya, the event’s curator.

Tymko’s keepers say he was getting ready for his job – he ate well in the summer and gained weight. The groundhog hibernated on time in October. He shared a den with his “bride,” which was specially chosen for him.

Scientists hoped to get baby groundhogs from the couple, but female groundhog didn’t sleep well this year.

In order not to wake up Tymko, she was even taken away from her “future husband.” Therefore, biologists expect young groundhogs next year.

According to groundhog’s keepers, Tymko has a good character, although he is bad-tempered at times. He loves sweet cookies.

Now, there are two groundhog-predictors in Ukraine: in addition to Tymko III from Kharkiv, female Marusia groundhog lives in Lviv city children’s ecological and naturalistic center. She has made predictions since 2016 but she’s still to be woken up on February 15, when Candlemas is traditionally celebrated.

Reference: The Groundhog Day is a popular tradition that has been annually celebrated in the USA and Canada on February 2 since 1886. This ritual has been adopted in Ukraine since 2004.

Text: Natalia Ivanova

Photo: bbc.com, Maria Solodovnyk