It was just a matter of time before the paparazzi found Perry County Blossom, our answer to that other weather predicting groundhog in Pennsylvania. Below the tabloid is the real back story from her caregivers Jack and Tamara.
2013 marks the fourth year, and third hibernation since Jack and Tamara first saw Blossom foraging among the oaks. Jack started feeding her and over the course of the year, she learned to recognize his voice, her name and the word “Dinnertime!” He guesses she was a year or two old on their first meeting.
In spring 2011, she’d had a litter of five and then seven the following spring. When the babies were about the size of guinea pigs, she would bring the pups out to eat and Tamara and Jack would watch them play. This year, she didn’t bring the pups out.
Nursing the pups is very strenuous for Blossom; taking a toll on her energy and any stored fat. When she emerges, she’s starving and will raid the garden and chow down on whatever else is available.
Jack, her personal chef, says Blossom loves anything juicy such as ripe pears, peaches, tomatoes, nectarines and melons. He usually gives her a half-cup of old fashioned rolled oats ( with a pinch of Sel de Guerande, French gray sea salt), one apple, one carrot, one-eighth head of cabbage and six peanuts in the shell. Blossom also gets any spare cucumbers from the garden.
Jack says there is a specific order in which she eats: oatmeal, peanuts, carrots, cabbage, then the apples. She will not eat squash or any kind of potato and especially despises bananas. Blossom has put on substantial weight over the past month, an improvement over her first appearance this spring. She was thin and was looking a little less than healthy.
They are sometimes joined by Ratty or Fox, a gray fox. Fox gets two dog biscuits every night plus table scraps. As Jack said, “It’s a wild version of the nuclear family.”