Graysville residents Heath and Ginger Whitworth said their pet groundhog received his name because he was found near Smith Lake almost six years ago.
“He was just a baby when my sister found him,” Ginger Whitworth said. “I fed him through a tube to keep him alive. He’s been with us ever since.”
In recent years, Smith Lake Jake has become a celebrity across Alabama as well as in other areas of the country. Jake has made weather predictions on Birmingham area television stations. He has also been involved in events at the Birmingham Zoo, and he has been featured on the syndicated radio program “The Rick and Bubba Show.”
“Jake has become so popular in the last few years. Everyone wants a prediction from him,” Ginger Whitworth said. “He love the attention. He always likes to pose for people to have his picture made.”
Along with predicting the weather, Ginger Whitworth said Smith Lake Jake also predicts football games and even picked Taylor Hicks as the winner of American Idol several years ago.
“Jake led off the start of Taylor Hicks’ parade in Birmingham,” she said. “Jake was also on American Idol one night. Jake also loves football, and he predicted Alabama to win back-to-back national championships.”
When he’s not on the road, Jake spends most of his time lounging around the Whitworth’s home.
“He’s not a caged animal. Jake is a part of our family. We’re his parents,” Ginger Whitworth said. “He is free to roam inside our house. He’s the sweetest little pet ever. We absolutely love our Jake.”
Smith Lake Jake also has his own Facebook page.
“Jake likes making ‘human’ friends on Facebook. He sends each of his friends a prediction about their year on Facebook when it’s their birthday,” Ginger Whitworth said. “Of course, he can’t type, so I have to help him with that.”
As for the possibility of six more weeks of winter, Smith Lake Jake has made his prediction. He said spring will be here soon.
“Jake is predicting an early spring for our area,” Ginger Whitworth said. “He’s saying people will be planting flowers and nipping roses before they know it.”