Mojave Max, the famous Southern Nevada desert tortoise, officially emerged from his burrow today at 11:39 a.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 p.m.
Mojave Max is a live desert tortoise who calls the Las Vegas Springs Preserve 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 21st annual Mojave Max Emergence Contest, Elementary School 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 2020. 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 a year-long family membership to the Springs Preserve, an "America the Beautiful" year-long family pass to National Parks and Federal Recreation areas, and a laptop computer. The winner's entire class will receive Olympic-style medals and T-shirts as well as a trophy for his or her school, and a field trip, with a pizza party, to the Springs Preserve to meet the live Mojave Max tortoise, while the winner's teacher will receive a laptop computer.
"Each year, Mojave Max's emergence signals the unofficial beginning of spring in Clark County," said Clark County Department of Environment and Sustainability Director Marci Henson. "And though it is a unique set of circumstances Max is waking up to, it is still a perfect opportunity for thousands of Clark County school children to continue to learn how to respect, protect and enjoy our delicate desert ecosystem, thanks to Mojave Max."
The Emergence Contest has taken place every year since 2000. More than 5,500 emergence contest guesses were received during this year's Emergence Contest.
Questions about the live Mojave Max tortoise should be directed to Tom Bradley with the Las Vegas Springs Preserve at (702) 822-8365. More information is available at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov or www.MojaveMax.com.