Chuckles, Connecticut’s prognosticating groundhog, has died

October 21, 2020 GMT

MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) — Chuckles X, who served as Connecticut’s official prognosticating groundhog, has died.

The blind female woodchuck that conveyed forecasts of spring to Manchester Mayor Jay Moran for the past two years died last weekend at her home at the Lutz Children’s Museum, Kate Morrissey, the museum’s interim director, said Wednesday.

The Manchester museum is now searching for a Chuckles XI. The title of Chuckles is bestowed on a groundhog that is usually donated to the museum by an animal rehabilitator after being found injured. It is never taken from the wild, Morrissey said.

Chuckles X came to the museum after losing her sight to burns from a chemical likely put out to kill her, Morrissey said. She was about 5 or 6 years old and died after a brief illness, the museum said.

The museum holds a ceremony every February, when children join in singing a song written about Chuckles and listen to her prediction, which she allegedly whispers to the mayor.

The festivities have their origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter continues. If not, spring comes early. Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil is the nation’s most famous prognosticating groundhog.