Snerd, the understudy of the revered Mortimer the ground hog, has predicted an early spring this year.
The event at Garner’s White Deer Park Monday brought out hundreds of parents and children who snapped photos and looked for chances to pet the groundhog.
Mayor Ronnie Williams, dressed in his usual suit and a top hat, read Snerd’s message from a sealed envelope, while Snerd, with bananas in hand and mouth, was held close by.
“Now that winter’s song has been sung, in six weeks, Spring will have sprung,” Williams read.
Snerd also predicted spring would come early last year in what was his debut performance. But Winter decided to stay a little while longer.
His handler, Kindra Mammone of Claws Inc., said Snerd hopes to be right, because after last year’s incorrect prediction, Snerd was sent death threats in the form of wolf pictures through emails to Mammone.
“Literally they were sending me pictures of wolves,” Mammone said. “It was the weirdest thing. They were threatening to have them eat him.”
Snerd took to Facebook last Saturday to tell people that weather predicting isn’t an exact science. In a post on Claws Inc.’s page, Snerd requested that people not threaten or tease him.
“You see, last year was his first year prognosticating on the ‘main stage’ and go figure, we got a bout of bad weather about a week later and a LOT of people seemed to hold him personally responsible,” the post reads. “While he and Mother Nature are pretty close and have some pretty intense talks, SHE is in charge of what happens, not him.”
German legend has it that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another six weeks. If not, spring comes early. But Snerd doesn’t check for his shadow.
“He’s a millennial. So he goes with farmer’s almanacs and consulting with mother nature and looking online to the best weather channels,” Mammone said. “He kind of goes more about it like a meteorologist would than a groundhog would.”
Snerd’s predecessor, Mortimer, who recently retired, had been predicting the end of winter at events for eight years – the first three in Raleigh and the next five in Garner at White Deer Park until 2014.
Mammone says Mortimer, 12, continues to enjoy retirement. His weather predicting streak was nearly flawless. He correctly predicted Spring seven of his eight chances.