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PORTLAND The Oregon Zoo s African pygmy hedgehog has sent the signal this year there will be an early spring.

But keep in mind, Jabari doesn t have the best track record when it comes to his forecasting skills.

Last year, Jabari also predicted an early spring, which was not all that accurate, Smith said. You might not want to pack away those winter necessities just yet. But our hedgehog still has a better track record than Punxsutawney Phil.

So why a hedgehog instead of a ground hog? Actually, historically the hedgehog has taken the role in this centuries-old tradition to predict the onset of spring. Immigrants to North America substituted the groundhog when they found there were no hedgehogs in their new homeland.

According to records from StormFax Weather Almanac, Punxsutawney Phil s predictions have only been correct 39 percent of the time. Oregon Zoo hedgehogs have been marginally better with a 43 percent accuracy rate.

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