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Punxsutawney Phil, the spring-predicting groundhog, and wife Phyllis are parents of 2 babies

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FILE - Groundhog Club handler A.J. Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 138th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club announced that Phil and his wife Phyliss, have become parents of two groundhog babies on Wednesday, March 27. Phil is credited by many with predicting whether an early spring is coming based on whether he sees his shadow on Feb. 2 each year. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger, File)

Now we know what Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who predicts whether an early spring will arrive each Feb. 2, does on the other 364 days.

The Pennsylvania group that handles Phil, and his groundhog wife, Phyllis, says the couple have become parents.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club said in a Facebook post Wednesday that Phyllis recently gave birth to two healthy babies. It did not specify their sex or give names for either one.

“We’re pleased to announce that Punxsutawney Phil has had his first children; we believe there are two baby groundhogs and that Phil and Phyllis have started a family,” Thomas Dunkel, president of a tuxedo-clad group called The Inner Circle that carries on the groundhog tradition each year, said at a news conference Wednesday. “We’re pleased about it, and I talked to Phil with my cane, which lets me speak Groundhogese, and Phil could not be more excited that he started a family.”

Dunkel said a club member discovered the babies Saturday when he came to feed their parents fruit and vegetables.

Phil emerges from his burrow each year the morning of Feb. 2. If he sees his shadow, tradition holds, there will be six more weeks of winter. This year, he did not see his shadow, heralding an early spring.

Although the best known, Phil is far from the only groundhog to try his hand at meteorology. There have been weather-predicting groundhogs in at least 28 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, and less formal celebrations far and wide.

Phil and Phyllis live in climate-controlled quarters at the Punxsutawney Memorial Library.

But like most growing families, they now need larger digs. The club plans to move them to a larger home on the library's grounds.

Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, Punxsutawney Phil comes with his own mythology, including the claim that he will live forever, due to imbibing some magic juice called “The Elixir Of Life.” (His wife is not allowed to partake of the elixir, and thus, is not immortal. Where are groundhog suffragettes when they're truly needed?)

Given that the annual Groundhog Day ritual has been performed since 1887, that would place Phil in his late 130s, a procreational feat that puts Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Mick Jagger to shame.

And what about the kids? Will they someday inherit the responsibility of predicting whether there will be six more weeks of winter? Will they have to spend their lives waiting for dad to shuffle off to that big burrow in the sky before they can inherit the throne?

Alas, no, Dunkel says. Because their father is immortal, there will always be only one of him.

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Follow Wayne Parry on X at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC

Wayne Parry, The Associated Press