Almost everyone has heard of Punxsutawney Phil, but how many of you have heard of Pierre Shadeaux or T-Boy? Pierre Shadeaux and T-Boy are nutria from the bayou and swamps of Louisiana.
Groundhogs are native to North America, with a range that extends south to northern Alabama. So if you live in the coastal south of Louisiana, just how are you supposed to predict the end of winter, or in Louisiana the beginning of summer? They picked the nutria, like the family pictured here, rodents who populated the swamplands when brought from South America as future fur coats. They are cute and fuzzy as babies but grow fierce, long orange teeth and other less appealing features as adults. Winter's not a big deal here, but summer is. Up north, seeing a shadow is bad news. For them it means six more weeks of winter, but in Louisiana it means a shorter spring and a quicker return of summer's grueling heat and humidity.
T-Boy is a cute, fluffy baby will emerge Feb.2nd from a hole at the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit at the Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, LA to make his own prediction about the arrival of spring in New Orleans. T-Boy is a nutria, a type of semi aquatic rodent well-known in this part of the country for damaging the wetlands with its feeding habits. At 6 weeks old, T-Boy, whose name is equivalent to "little boy" among Cajuns, is still in a photogenic phase. See his cute baby face in this photo.,provided by Live Science blog.
The Louisiana town of New Iberia has its own "Cajun Groundhog," dubbed Pierre C. Shadeaux, which will emerge from its miniature Acadian-style house in search of his shadow. The furry guy is part of a ceremony similar to Groundhog Day. It takes place on Bouligny Plaza in New Iberia 7:30-8:00am and is followed by town events like awarding winner of the essay contest and other fun events.
If he does not see his shadow, spring will be long; if he does, start saving for that air conditioning bill!