Lancaster County (WHTM) — We have a disagreement among whistlepig prognosticators. In Punxsutawney, Phil the Groundhog predicts-

“Six more weeks of winter weather!”

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But in Lancaster County Gigi the Groundhog, who lives at Raven Ridge Wildlife Center, has read the signs and portents differently.

“Gigi predicts that it’s going to be an early spring,” says Tracie Young, rehabilitator for Raven Ridge Wildlife Center. So who is this Gigi, who dares contradict Pennsylvania’s foremost four-legged weather wizard?

“We acquired Gigi a few years ago,” says Tracie. “A veterinarian friend of ours here in the center happened to find Gigi in her backyard.”

Gigi couldn’t be returned to the wild, because of problems with her back legs, which persist to this day. “We took Gigi for x-rays,” explains Tracie. “There was no indication of trauma, or any pellets or anything, so we feel this was a birth defect.”

Her friendly personality made her an ideal animal ambassador.

“When we got Gigi here at the center, her temperament was fantastic. She wasn’t aggressive, she wasn’t afraid, she wasn’t shy, she’s very interactive with her volunteers, so we started taking Gigi to our programs,” says Tracie. “She’s a fantastic ambassador, people just love looking at the detail, and learning about the groundhogs.”

A lot of people look at groundhogs as pests, but Tracie points out they actually can do a lot of good. “Their dens, when they do leave them, they actually make other denning opportunities for other animals like foxes and skunks. And they help aerate the ground, and it also helps with flooding, believe it or not.”

Because she’s a rodent, Gigi’s front teeth grow out constantly. Her well-balanced diet includes a rather unusual ingredient to deal with that.

“What do for Gigi here is, we actually use deer antlers. It’s natural for them, it’s also a calcium supplement, but the groundhogs need to constantly chew,

When she’s not performing her ambassadorial duties, Gigi retires to her deluxe accommodations.

“She has quite the luxury cage, she has her exercise days, she has her physical therapy days with our veterinarian, so she is very spoiled here at the center,” says Tracie.