DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – It’s not the most scientific method, yet many Americans tune in every year to watch a large rodent make his end of winter prediction. This year, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow and saw his shadow, thus predicting another 6 more weeks of cold.
The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton picked a different rodent to give us our meteorological advice for the second year in a row. A crowd gathered Friday to watch Quilliam the hedgehog.
The museum’s take on the tradition is actually a nod to the holiday’s European roots.
“It goes back to the European tradition of Hedgehog Day,” explained Dawn Kirchner, the Vice President of Education at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. “Of course when the Europeans migrated to North America, there were no hedgehogs so groundhogs were used instead.”
According to the museum, the hedgehog was trusted to predict the coming of spring in Serbia, Germany and the United Kingdom, among other countries, for generations.
In 2017, Quilliam made his debut for the popular event after Rosie the groundhog died suddenly of cancer.
Unlike Rosie, museum staff allowed children to pet and approach the hedgehog. They also used the event to talk about some of the science behind weather and hibernation.