LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Mojave Max has officially emerged from his burrow Thursday.
The famous Southern Nevada desert tortoise made his appearance at 11:34 a.m. - marking the third-latest emergence for the Clark County tortoise over the past 22 years.
The latest Max has emerged is April 17, 2012, at 12:41 p.m. His earliest emergence was Feb. 14, 2005, at 11:55 a.m., according to the county.
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“Mojave Max has typically emerged in late March and early April. We thought the warm weather last weekend would bring Max out sooner to signal the beginning of spring in Clark County,” said Kimberley Jenkins, principal environmental specialist with Clark County’s Desert Conservation Program. “As Max wakes up, we’re excited to continue educating local school children how to respect, protect and enjoy our desert.”
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 22nd annual Mojave Max Emergence Contest, elementary school students from Clark County have been studying Mojave Desert weather, temperatures and conditions to scientifically estimate when they believed Mojave Max would emerge from his burrow in 2021.
The county says students entered their guesses online and the entries are being tabulated and the official winner of the Mojave Max Emergence Contest will be announced soon.
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.