Local Desert Tortoise’s Emergence Marks Beginning of Spring
Mojave Max, the famous Southern Nevada desert tortoise, officially emerged from his burrow Wednesday, April 5 at 12:40 p.m. The earliest he has emerged was Feb. 14, 2005, at 11:55 a.m. The latest he has emerged is April 17, 2012, at 12:41 pm.
Mojave Max is a live desert tortoise who calls Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area his home. Like other Southern Nevada reptiles, he enters a burrow to brumate (the reptilian form of hibernation) every winter and emerges every spring. Mojave Max’s emergence marks the beginning of spring-like weather in Southern Nevada. Warmer temperatures, longer daylight hours and his own internal clock are factors known to contribute to his emergence every year.
As part of the 18th annual Mojave Max Emergence Contest, students from Clark County, Nevada have been studying Mojave Desert weather, temperatures and conditions to scientifically estimate when they believed Mojave Max would emerge from his burrow in 2017. They entered their guesses online at www.mojavemax.com. The entries are being tabulated and the official winner of the Mojave Max Emergence Contest will be announced soon. The winning student will receive prizes including an “America the Beautiful” year-long pass to National Parks and Federal Recreation areas, a laptop computer and a digital camera. The winner’s entire class will receive a field trip, with a pizza party, to Mojave Max’s habitat, Mojave Max Olympic-style medals and T-shirts, while the winner’s teacher will receive a laptop computer.
“Through the years, Mojave Max has helped teach thousands of school children how to respect, protect and enjoy the desert ecosystem around us,” Commission Chair Steve Sisolak said. “Mojave Max once again crawled out of his burrow after a long brumation, marking the unofficial beginning of spring in Clark County.”
The Emergence Contest has taken place every year since 2000. Over 6,400 emergence contest guesses were received during last year’s Emergence Contest.
Questions about the live Mojave Max tortoise should be directed to Andy Hart with Southern Nevada Conservancy at (702) 258-8265. More information is available at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov or www.MojaveMax.com.