Can Woolly Bear Caterpillar’s coloring predict winter’s chill and length? According to folklore, yes! According to modern science, no. 😁
So let’s all take a little time from our busy schedule’s, romp gently through local forests and open fields to find our Woolley Bear friend and observe its colors and coat. Then let’s note how winter goes in our respective regions and share notes! The photo above is one I took while at the barn, and unfortunately I don’t remember which way the Woolley was traveling. According to the excerpt below (credit to weather.gov) it matters which end is which for predicting the winter weather’s intensity at the beginning or end of season! Of course, that same source was quick to deny any factuality to the Woolley coat and winter predictions. Ah well, it’s more fun to listen and watch Nature and make our own observations. 🔎👀🐛
“According to folklore, the amount of black on the woolly bear in autumn varies proportionately with the severity of the coming winter in the locality where the caterpillar is found. The longer the woolly bear’s black bands, the longer, colder, snowier, and more severe the winter will be. Similarly, the wider the middle brown band is associated with a milder upcoming winter. The position of the longest dark bands supposedly indicates which part of winter will be coldest or hardest. If the head end of the caterpillar is dark, the beginning of winter will be severe. If the tail end is dark, the end of winter will be cold. In addition, the woolly bear caterpillar has 13 segments to its body, which traditional forecasters say correspond to the 13 weeks of winter.
“As with most folklore, there are 2 other versions to this story. The first one says that the woolly bear caterpillar’s coat will indicate the upcoming winter’s severity. So, if its coat is very woolly, it will be a cold winter. The final version deals with the woolly bear caterpillar’s direction of travel of the worms. It is said that woolly bear’s crawling in a southerly direction are trying to escape the cold winter conditions of the north. On the other hand, woolly bear’s crawling on a northward path would indicate a mild winter.”
2 thoughts on “Can Woolly Bear Predict Winter?”
Well, we have a local weatherman in Vancouver – Pat Timm – who writes a column for the Columbian several times a week. His weather forecasts are generally more accurate than you see on TV. He also asks his readers to observe the Woolly Bear’s markings each year and comments on that as well. It seems some years they are pretty accurate and others, not so much. He says it also may depend on what part of the county you live in . . .
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How fun is that?! I didn’t think any weather people noticed these little guys😁
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