We know that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was captured on video dropping a squirming Staten Island Chuck during Groundhog Day ceremonies Feb. 2.
But who knew that just a week later the creature allegedly died of internal injuries? Sources told The New York Post that Staten Island Zoo officials took measures to keep the death from becoming public knowledge.
Not only that — “Chuck” was reportedly not, in fact, "Chuck" at all. The groundhog that took the fall that day was “Charlotte," a female stand-in, the paper's sources noted.
Turns out "Chuck" was reportedly kept from the festivities over fear that he might bite de Blasio, just like he did Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009, the Post reported.
Sadly "Charlotte" was found dead at the zoo Feb. 9, Post sources said, adding that necropsy results showed her death was caused by “acute internal injuries" — consistent with a fall.
The zoo told the Post the claim is bunk. “It appears unlikely that the animal’s death is related to the events on Groundhog Day,” a zoo spokesman told the paper.
In addition the zoo reportedly instructed staff to keep news of the groundhog's death from the mayor's office, the Post said, adding that only a few zoo supporters knew about the death...and that is came about by natural causes.
“I was told he died of old age, that he went to that big farm in the sky,” Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island) told the Post.
Glenn Beck was all over the brewing controversy, joking that Fox News' Bill O'Reilly wrote a book about the animal's demise:
It seems the paper was the first to break the news to the mayor's office about the groundhog's passing.
“We were unaware that Staten Island Chuck had passed but are sorry to hear of the loss,” spokesman Phil Walzak told the Post.