America’s famous weather oracle, groundhog Phil, has become a father for the first time. His marmot companion Phyllis gave birth to two healthy babies, said the “Groundhog Club” in the small town of Punxsutawney (US state of Pennsylvania).

The offspring completely surprised everyone, said the president of the “Inner Circle” of the marmot club, Thomas Dunkel, to the local station WTAJ. “We didn’t think this could happen in captivity, because it never has.” The club is now working on a larger home for the rodent family.

As “Punxsutawney Phil”, the new groundhog father is particularly in demand on February 2nd when he gives a forecast for the weather. To do this, it is lured out of its winter quarters at sunrise: if the animal then sees its shadow, six more harsh winter weeks follow. If no one recognizes it, spring is not far away.

Movies made oracle marmots famous worldwide

At least since the US comedy “Groundhog Day” from 1993 with Bill Murray, the somewhat funny tradition has also been known to the rest of the world. Probably brought to Pennsylvania by German immigrants, the custom lasts longest in Punxsutawney, where a groundhog was consulted for the 138th “Groundhog Day” this year.

When asked whether one of the little marmots would one day inherit their father in his prophetic office, club leader Dunkel answered in the negative. There is only one “Punxsutawney Phil”. An annual sip of the “elixir of life” accounts for his longevity, he told WTAJ. As a result, groundhog mother Phyllis didn’t taste any of it.