(See pic for why Florida has no ground hogs)
We don't have ground hogs in Florida ... I suppose a stray may have shown up in the Appalachian-like Appalachicola region, but I've never heard of it.
So, the question is, how do WE predict winter's end point?
Basically, we don't since winter is a pleasant amusement here.
Oh we tried to come up with something.
Fiddler crabs have burrows, but they're so short, they don't cast much of a shadow either way.
Gopher tortoises have burrows, but being ectothermic reptiles they don't come out much when it's cold, especially since it's always a comfortable 70 degrees down in their burrows. They're just not reliable.
Armadillos make burrows, but they have such poor vision, seeing their shadow isn't likely to happen. That makes them a poor candidate too.
Lucky for us winter is no big deal, because we have no way of predicting how long it may last.
My Mom actually grew up a few miles from Punxatawney, Pennsylvania and graduated from Punxatawney High. So as a kid I visited Punxy and the surrounding area about every other year, but always in the summer long after the woodchuck had made his prognostication.
If it had not been for her personal connection, the idea of a "ground hog" predicting the weather would have been just one more bizzare northern culture item foist upon us via the northocentric Dick and Jane readers. Those books were full of strange things that we first graders had never encountered. We had questions ...lots of 'em.
"Mrs. Blackmer, what are galoshes?'
Mrs. Blackmer, can WE play in the snow?
Mrs. Blackmer, well, it snows there, why not here?
Mrs. Blackmer, what's a scarf? ...mittens? ... snow angels?
Mrs. Blackmer, why are Dick and Jane wearing so many clothes?
It was like reading science fiction about alien life forms.
If it weren't for Spot, I would never have finished the series.