LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Mojave Max, the famous Southern Nevada desert tortoise, officially emerged from his burrow at 4:10 p.m. Monday, April 7.
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 an internal clock are factors known to contribute to his emergence every year.
As part of the 15th annual Mojave Max Emergence Contest, students have been studying Mojave Desert weather, temperatures and conditions to scientifically estimate when they believed Mojave Max would emerge from his burrow in 2014. 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 federally managed fee 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. “Today, Mojave Max once again crawled out of his burrow after a long brumation, marking the unofficial beginning of spring in Clark County.”
The latest Mojave Max has come out of his burrow was April 17, when he did so in 2012. The earliest he has emerged is Feb. 14 in 2005. The Emergence Contest has taken place every year since 2000.