Game wardens put an end to Sand Mountain Sam, Alabama’s weather-predicting possum

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The weather predicting days of Sand Mountain Sam are (mostly) over.

Albertville-based country radio station 105.1 WQSB has brought Sam out each year on Groundhog Day to predict the weather in the same way as his more famous cousin, Punxsutawney Phil. Recently, however, WQSB’s official possum handler, a local pet groomer, was informed by game wardens that having a possum as a pet is against state law and a live animal can’t be used in this year’s event.

Violations would result in the arrests of those involved, according to a press release from WQSB program director Barry Galloway.

Alabama law prohibits any protected wildlife from being held in captivity (as in kept as pets.) That includes all game animals, birds and furbearers, including bear, beaver, coyote, deer, opossum, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, nutria, fox, mountain lion, groundhog, bobcat, Red Wolf, feral swine, and alligator. Other protected furbearers include mink, otter and skunk.

Sand Mountain Sam to call instead

WQSB has hosted “Possum Day” each year since 1993. Sam’s record is impressive – with 25 correct predictions vs. one incorrect one, made in 1993.

The Possum Day celebration will continue this year, the station said, but in a different form. Instead, “Sam” will call into the radio station on Jan. 31 at 7:45 a.m. to make his live prediction on air. The official Groundhog Day – complete with Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of a lingering winter or early spring – will follow on Sunday, Feb. 2.

2020-01-15 12:08:00

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