Groundhog goes from rescue to ambassador

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — A new weather prognosticator is heading to Lancaster County.

Ten-month-old Poppy the groundhog who was discovered as a four-week-old on a driveway in Conestoga.

Poppy’s handler, Betsy Shank, says she believes Poppy’s mom abandoned her after realizing something was wrong.

“She has what’s called a malocclusion,” Shank said. “She’s a rodent and their incisors are ever-growing and hers didn’t align, so they couldn’t grind themselves down. They were growing right out of her mouth.”

Raven Ridge Wildlife Center and Shank, a volunteer there, have been caring for Poppy. Shank says the groundhog had dental work. Her front teeth are missing and she won’t be able to return to the wild.

“Poppy is pretty friendly,” Shank said.

That certainly helped her case in becoming an ambassador, with Groundhog Day around the corner.

“People only like groundhogs one day a year,” Shank said. “They’re actually pretty cool and they do a lot of stuff for our environment.”

Shank said groundhogs aerate the soil and support the spread of seeds.

Poppy will be showcased at Villa + Rue in Lancaster when she looks for her shadow on Sunday.

Pillows with Poppy’s face will be sold at the store. Proceeds will benefit Raven Ridge Wildlife Center.

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