Groundhog Day: New Jersey’s Famous Milltown Mel Passes Away Days Before Groundhog Day

by Victoria Santiago

Just days before Groundhog Day, Milltown, New Jersey’s groundhog has passed away. There’s no time for the town to find a replacement.

The groundhog, named Mel, had a long life and was pretty good at predicting spring. He first started as the town’s groundhog back in 2015 after their groundhog at the time had died. That year, Mel inherited his name and his yearly task. This would’ve been his seventh year at predicting the weather. During his time as a weather-predicting groundhog, Mel saw his shadow twice. Out of his six yearly predictions, he predicted four early springs.

Mel’s handlers announced over the weekend that the groundhog had “recently crossed over the rainbow bridge.” In a Facebook post, they went on to say: “Considering the average life span of a groundhog is about three years, that is not such a shock, but Mel left us at a tough time of year, when most of his fellow groundhogs are hibernating … so no babies will be available to replace him until this spring.” Due to Mel’s death and other event complications from COVID-19, there will be no Groundhog Day event for Milltown, NJ. Instead, the town urges folks to look at what the groundhogs of neighboring towns have to say.

In the meantime, they’ll be working hard to replace Mel in time for Groundhog Day 2023. Since many of them are hibernating during this time of the year, there’s no set timeframe on when they’ll choose another.

Groundhogs Look Like Wombats, Which Have Their Own Holiday in Australia

Wombats are one of Australia’s cuter animals. Add in the fact that it’s not venomous or poisonous, and it sounds like the perfect Australian animal. Why wouldn’t the wombat deserve its own holiday? If you haven’t heard of World Wombat Day, that’s probably because it’s an unofficial holiday. Still, the day is celebrated by the likes of Bindi Irwin, so it must be important. Since 2005, the holiday has been unofficially observed on October 22.

Wombats really look like a combination of animals, but they’re most closely related to koalas. However, many people think that they look like groundhogs, dogs, and even bears. They’re marsupials and are burrowers. That means that even though they look cute and snuggly, they have powerful legs and claws. For last year’s World Wombat Day, Bindi Irwin shared an Instagram picture with her followers of the cute Australian animal.

Of course, fans were ecstatic to see the short and stocky animal finally get the recognition it deserved. We’re all for cute animals, especially if they’re animals we don’t hear much about. Bindi Irwin’s fans felt the same, and a lot of the comments were gushing over the furry little guy.