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Groundhog Who Sank Teeth into Bloomberg Set to Meet New Mayor Sunday

By Nicholas Rizzi | January 29, 2014 2:58pm
 The furry weatherman will make his prediction on Sunday, potentially with the new mayor.
Staten Island Chuck
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WEST BRIGHTON — Mayor Bloomberg's weather nemesis is ready to become acquainted with hizzoner's successor.

Staten Island Chuck is set to make his annual prediction on Groundhog Day at the Staten Island Zoo this Sunday, and New Yorkers will get a chance to see if the rodent approves of Mayor Bill de Blasio more than his predecessor.

De Blasio is expected to pull Chuck out of his winter home to make his weather forecast, a source said.

In 2009, Chuck took a bite out of Bloomberg's finger as he tried to coax him out of his winter nest.

While groundhogs aren't known for their sunny disposition, Staten Island Chuck — whose full name is Chuck E. Hogg — generally has a good temperament, Staten Island Zoo director Ken Mitchell previously told DNAinfo New York.

He called the Bloomberg bite a "misunderstanding" that wouldn't happen again, something the former mayor likely disagreed with.

In 2011, Bloomberg used a plunger to get the groundhog out instead of his hands, and called Chuck a "son of a b—ch."

"I love the plunger," Bloomberg said on a video, originally posted by the Daily News. "That was so much better than having to reach in and let the son of a b—ch bite you."

In their final meeting in 2012, Bloomberg vowed to bite back if Chuck struck again. He skipped out on Chuck's 2013 prediction.

Though Bloomberg has sometimes missed the event, having the city's leader pull Chuck out to make his prediction has been a tradition for 31 years.

De Blasio caused a bit of a stir on his last visit to the forgotten borough by eating pizza with a knife and fork.

While Chuck has competed with Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil for Groundhog Day celebrity, the Staten Island critter has had a better ratio of correct predictions, with an 80 percent accuracy rating, the zoo said.

If the groundhog sees his shadow after he emerges, six more weeks of winter are expected. If he doesn't, an early spring should be on its way.

Sunday's prediction will be open to spectators at the Staten Island Zoo, at 614 Broadway. Gates open at 6:30 a.m. with Chuck set to make his prediction at 7 a.m.

After the ceremony, guests can have breakfast with Chuck. Admission is $10, $5 for children and reservations are required. For more information or reservations call 718-442-3101 ext. 33.