Contact: Heather Green
Phone: (702) 455-1605

Mojave Max Emerges, Signals Beginning of Spring

       Mojave Max, the famous Southern Nevada desert tortoise, officially emerged from his burrow Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 1:28 pm. 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 the 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 20th annual Mojave Max Emergence Contest, students from Clark County, Nevada in grades K-5 have been studying Mojave Desert weather, temperatures and conditions to scientifically estimate when they believed Mojave Max would emerge from his burrow in 2019.  They entered their guesses online at  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.

       "Through the years, Mojave Max has helped teach thousands of school children how to respect, protect and enjoy the desert ecosystem around us," Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick 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 6,800 guesses were received during this year's Emergence Contest.

       Questions about the live Mojave Max tortoise should be directed to Dawn Barraclough with the Springs Preserve at (702) 822-7733. More information is available at or

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Last modified on 4/2/2019 17:33