A Kentucky groundhog died on Groundhog Day — just days after predicting an early spring.
Major, a nearly 10-year-old rodent meteorologist living at the Second Chances Wildlife Center, peacefully succumbed overnight to heart issues brought on by his age, the center’s staff said.
“He was full of amazing energy up until the end. He will forever be in our hearts. It’s a sad day for us at the Center, especially for those who have been with us his whole life,” the refuge announced on Facebook.
“We know you are sad too. Hugs to all of our friends. Know that he is at peace eating treats, walking about, and ringing all the bells.”
Second Chances Wildlife Center anticipated Major’s death, stating he had been suffering from health issues for some time. Groundhogs typically live to be 6 years old in the wild, but can live to see 14 in captivity, according to the Wildlife Rescue League.
Major had been living at the refuge center since he was rescued as a baby, and spent the last decade making Groundhog Day predictions.
“I would say Major has been maybe 50-50 predicting the weather,” refuge founder Brigitte Brouillard told Lex18 just days before his passing.
This past Groundhog Day was the first time Major had stepped out of the spotlight to pass the prediction task on to his younger friend, Josie Burrow.
At 7 a.m. Friday, she predicted an early spring — a forecast Brouillard joked Major had made on his own earlier this week and passed off to his protégé.
“She was a bit nervous on what to do so of course Major took care of things. He rang and rang his bells to get out of his enclosure. When we let him out, he went straight to Josie to coach her. Great teamwork,” the refuge said.