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The Groundhog's Storm Team of Animal Forecasters

1/26/2012 2:50:16 PM

Groundhog's Day is a wonderful time to learn about the many other animals that have weather proverbs touting their forecasting skills. Meet many of these animals at the Tennessee Aquarium.

Groundhog Day! Chattanooga Chuck is the Tennessee Aquarium's Chief Long-Range Forecaster.

Above image: Unlike other groundhogs, Chattanooga Chuck has a team of animal forecasters.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    Contact: Thom Benson 423-785-3007
Meet Chattanooga Chuck’s Storm Team at the Tennessee Aquarium
Groundhogs Aren’t the Only Creatures Viewed as Forecasters

Chattanooga, Tenn. (January 26, 2012) – Many people enjoy the fun of Groundhog Day each February 2nd, anxiously awaiting the fanciful forecast of a furry creature. According to folklore, if the groundhog sees his shadow he’ll be scared back into his den and we’ll have to endure six more weeks of winter. No shadow and we’ll see an early spring. But there’s one woodchuck that doesn’t have to rely on just his shadow.

Chattanooga Chuck, the Tennessee Aquarium’s woodchuck, has a “Storm Team of Forecasting Friends” to back him up. Although not widely known, many other animals have weather proverbs touting their weather predicting skills.

Throughout February, Aquarium guests can meet and learn about:

Brooke Trout: Her forecasting skills date back more than 100 years. According to folklore, “Trout bite voraciously before rain. When trout refuse bait or fly, there is ever a storm nigh.” Many fish respond to atmospheric pressure changes and feed during periods when the barometer is falling. Meet her in the Cove Forest exhibit in the River Journey building.

Larry Lobster: This all-American forecaster only gets crabby when winter lasts too long. According to folklore, “The appearance of crabs and lobsters indicates that spring has come, and that there will be no more freezing weather.” This could be possible due to seasonal migration patterns of lobsters. Lobsters have also been observed moving into deeper waters prior to a tropical storm or hurricane in response to changing ocean currents. Meet him in the Boneless Beauties gallery in the Ocean Journey building.

Terry Treefrog: This cheerful amphibian sees a silver lining in every cloud. You might even hear Terry singing before it rains. Zuni people long ago observed, “When frogs warble, they herald rain.” A similar weather proverb seems to agree, “The louder the frogs, the more’s the rain.” While individual frogs don’t call more loudly, stronger rain events can stimulate more frogs to call, creating a louder chorus of frogs. Meet him in the Discovery Hall gallery in River Journey.

Sandie Shark: Weather watchers focus on Sandie’s toothy smile, but they could discover a weather change if they see her turn tail. Folklore states, “Sharks go to sea at the approach of a cold wave.” This observation might be true as sharks sometimes respond to pressure changes associated with fronts. Approaching hurricanes also cause many fish, sharks included, to head to deeper water which is more stable. Meet her in the Secret Reef exhibit in Ocean Journey.

Harry Tarantula: Don’t let his scruffy appearance fool you. This walking barometer uses his hairy exterior to detect subtle air currents to find food. They are also sensitive to humidity changes. Folklore attributed to a California resident in 1883 states, “When tarantulas crawl by day, rain will surely come.” Meet him in Ranger Rick’s Backyard Safari in River Journey.

Dozens of other animals are part of Chattanooga Chuck’s Storm Team at the Aquarium including sea urchins, lizards, butterflies, parrots, cuttlefishowls and many more.

Chattanooga Chuck will greet visitors and deliver his official forecast in Ranger Rick’s Backyard Safari on February 2nd at 11:00 am. He’ll make another special Groundhog Day appearance at 4:00 pm for after school guests.

Other members of Chattanooga Chuck’s Storm Team can been seen during special animal programs offered daily in Ranger Rick’s Backyard Safari at 10:45 am, 11:00 am, 12:30 pm, 12:45 pm, 2:00 pm and 2:15 pm.

Follow Chattanooga Chuck on Twitter: @ChattNoogaChuck.

Learn more about Chattanooga Chuck’s Storm Team at: http://www.tnaqua.org/PlanYourVisit/StormTeamofAquariumAnimals.aspx                                                             

 

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