Spring is in the air as Mojave Maxine emerged from brumation Thursday morning at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.
“With valley temperatures near the 80’s this week, it appears Maxine is an exceptional predictor of spring. This marks the third year in a row that she has debuted in January,” said Sarah Greely, Senior Conservation Biologist at The Living Desert. “Although our live feed of Maxine emerging from her burrow was not officially recorded, we know through animal care team observations that she emerged between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2020.”
Mojave Maxine is a desert tortoise that lives at The Living Desert and will celebrate her 43rd birthday in April. Each year, she retires for the winter to her underground burrow and stays there in a state of brumation for several months. Mojave Maxine emerges in early spring as the warm days begin to arrive in the desert, promising fresh flowers, a favorite meal for the desert tortoise.
This year’s contest included 1,307 entries from students from Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura, and Kern counties participated in the contest to guess the date and time that Mojave Maxine would emerge. The first entry received from each county that is closest to the exact day and time wins Mojave Maxine t-shirts for their entire class, a visit from a desert tortoise, and gift certificates for the winning student and their teacher.
“We hold this fun contest to help educate children on desert tortoise conservation and behaviors. We will be reaching out to the winners soon,” said Greely. “And, we encourage our community to stayed tuned for announcements about the 2020 Desert Tortoise Week, coming April 18-26.”
For more information, visit LivingDesert.org or call 760-346-5694.