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Sure Sign of Spring: Mojave Max Emerges | Environment

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Sure Sign of Spring: Mojave Max Emerges
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Sure Sign of Spring: Mojave Max Emerges

Southern Nevada’s most famous desert tortoise has emerged from his burrow, marking the return of spring to the Las Vegas valley.

Mojave Max came out of his underground home at 1:45 p.m. Thursday. Max lives at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, as part of the desert tortoise habitat.

Every winter he enters his burrow to brumate, which is the reptilian form of hibernation. When the weather is warm enough and days are longer, Max makes his way out.

The day and time of Max’s re-entrance into the world is not just important to the biologists who study him. It will also mean prizes and a pizza party for the southern Nevada student who made the best guess.

For the past 14 years, Clark County and the Bureau of Land Management have held the Mojave Max Emergence Contest. Kids enter the day and time that they think Max will come out. The child with the guess nearest the actual time wins prizes and a party for his or her entire class.

The entries are being tabulated and a winner will be announced soon. Prizes include a laptop computer, a digital camera and a year-long pass to federally managed land.

The earliest Max has come out was February 14 in 2005. The latest was April 17 in 2012. 

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