BEE CAVE, Texas – You know you’re Texan when you call today Armadillo Day and not Groundhog Day.
From Central Texas, Bee Cave Bob the Armadillo will predict the early arrival of spring or the delayed departure of winter.
Despite Punxsutawney Phil predicting another six weeks of winter, Bee Cave Bob is not allowing the rodent from PA to have any influence on his prediction this afternoon from Bee Cave, Texas. The nine-banded lives most of the year in Swiss Alp, Texas.
Ralph Fisher, Bob’s handler said, “I have had him now for almost 13 years.”
Bee Cave Bob was born in Bee Cave, Texas, a town outside of Austin which is known as the globe’s geographical western pole.
“A lot of hair and a lot of fat, that’s what keeps him nice and warm,” is how Fisher described Bee Cave Bob. “He represents the state of Texas. It is the state’s smallest mammal.”
Ten years ago, a group called the Benevolent Knights of the Racoon out of Bee Cave began a tradition that still stands today.
“We have BBQ or chili and then we release the armadillo to see if he will see his shadow and can predict the weather,” said Fisher.
These folks give no time or attention to Punxsutawney Phil. Instead, these Texans watch Bee Cave Bob’s moves on February 2.
“We think he has these extra sensory perceptions that kind of predict the weather,” Fisher said.
If Bee Cave Bob sees his shadow, we will experience a delayed departure of Old Man Winter.
“Six more weeks of bad weather,” Fisher said.
If he does not see his shadow, spring will arrive early.
When asked if Phil and Bob would get along, Fisher said: ”Well, I guess they wouldn’t get along too well. We just don’t appreciate rodents too much here in Texas. We are real proud of ourselves, aren’t we? Matter of fact, we have some likeness in our posters, with he and, what do you call it? Ohhh groundhogs, ok, I thought… they were rodents, who can respect a rodent? Armadillos are not a rodent, so I just imagined they’d be fighting it out.”
This year’s event is closed to the public. Bee Cave Bob will make his predictions from Bee Cave, Texas early in the afternoon.
Bee Cave Bob can also predict election results. However, politics were not discussed during this interview.