We’re in for six more weeks of winter-like weather, according to Orion the white-tailed deer, who lives at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News.
Apparently winter is so deep that the museum’s usual prognosticator, groundhog Chesapeake Chuck, could not be roused from hibernation.
Does that count as not seeing his shadow? Either way, the museum instead turned to another creature to make the prediction.
But Orion didn’t consult his shadow for the forecast. Museum staff put two treats — smears of almond butter — on either side of Orion’s shed. He lives in an outdoor habitat, but has a shed where he can shelter from the elements. One treat signified winter, and the other treat signified spring.
Orion chose the winter treat.
The deer’s projection for the next six week’s weather contradicted Punxsutawney Phil, the nation’s best-known rodent forecaster, who did not see his shadow Friday morning, presaging an early spring in western Pennsylvania.
Orion’s choice also indicated a winner of this year’s Super Bowl. The Kansas City Chiefs were associated with the winter treat and the San Francisco 49ers were associated with the spring treat. Museum staff said Orion would only choose one treat one time, so the treats served to answer both questions of weather and sports. There was no reason the Chiefs were paired with winter and the 49ers with spring, said Jenn Daley, director of communications.
The Virginia Living Museum is a native wildlife park, science museum, aquarium, botanical preserve and planetarium. It is home to 245 native species of animals, including fish, birds, mammals and more. The museum has been hosting a local Groundhog Day celebration for 14 years.
Cianna Morales, 757-957-1304, email@example.com