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Prairie Dog Beardsley Bart Says Winter's Days Are Numbered In Bridgeport

Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho, left, and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim announce that Beardsley Bart, the zoo's prognosticating prairie dog, has not seen his shadow and spring is coming to Bridgeport.
Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho, left, and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim announce that Beardsley Bart, the zoo's prognosticating prairie dog, has not seen his shadow and spring is coming to Bridgeport. Video Credit: Meredith Guinness
Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho, left, and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim pose with Beardsley Bart, the city's own prognosticating prairie dog.
Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho, left, and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim pose with Beardsley Bart, the city's own prognosticating prairie dog. Photo Credit: Contributed photo
Mayor Joe Ganim spent some quality time with Bridgeport's own prognosticating prairie dog Beardsley Bart.
Mayor Joe Ganim spent some quality time with Bridgeport's own prognosticating prairie dog Beardsley Bart. Photo Credit: Contributed photo
Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim pose with Beardsley Bart, the city's own prognosticating prairie dog.
Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim pose with Beardsley Bart, the city's own prognosticating prairie dog. Photo Credit: Contributed photo

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — While Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this Groundhog Day, Beardsley Bart, Bridgeport’s own prognosticating prairie dog, didn’t, signaling winter’s days are numbered.

“Spring is coming to Bridgeport!” said a top-hatted Mayor Joe Ganim, standing amid the prairie dog burrows at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo early Thursday morning.

While he’s not an actual groundhog — and he looks remarkably like a stuffed plush toy — zoo denizens have been counting on Bart’s wise counsel for about 16 years now, according to Zoo Director Gregg Dancho.

Despite the differing predictions from the two wily rodents, Dancho, who speaks fluent prairie dog, revealed last year he’d put his money on Bart.

“We’ve been doing this for a while now and, you know, he’s never been wrong,” Dancho said. “Spring has always come.”

Of course, it could be a sign Bart’s getting lonely during the chilly winter months.

“Beardsley Bart is a very early riser and when he came out this morning, he confirmed that he did not see his shadow,” Dancho said. “He looks forward to all his friends coming to visit him soon.”

Ganim encouraged families to plan a trip as the weather warms.

Fans can check out all his furry and feathered friends at the zoo, which is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Christmas and New Year’s Day.

For more information, visit beardsleyzoo.org .

“It’s a great place and it’s the only zoo in the state,” Ganim said. “We need everyone to come and enjoy it.”

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