THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS Punxsutawney Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter, showing an uncanny understanding of the calendrical position of the equinoxes. But the notable groundhog, though he is the best known, is by no means the only prognosticating rodent whose services are called upon by the human inhabitants of his region. Many other rodents around the world are also well known for their predictions:
In Yeehaw Junction, Fla., Yeehaw Yekaterina, a fox squirrel, predicts the number of tanker trucks that will pass on Route 441 each August 28 with astonishing accuracy.
In Bom Dispacho, Brazil, Deodoro the Capybara advises the town commission on zoning matters.
In Hard Bargain, Bahamas, if Hard-Bargain Hattie the Hutia hears the ocean’s roar on Arbor Day, it means six more months of instability in the commodities market.
In Ouea, Djibouti, if Ouea Omar the Speke’s Pectinator leaves footprints in the sand more than 28 mm apart, there will be a warm Ramadan.
In Litchfield, Minnesota, if Litchfield Louie the Plains Pocket Gopher scratches behind his right ear, run like blazes.
In Llanarthney, Wales, Llanarthney Lloyd the Bank Vole was for many years a secret investments advisor to Barclays, until his association with the bank was revealed in testimony before the House of Lords (source: Daily Mail, “Filthy Rodent Broke Our Banks,” Jan. 16, 2009).