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Press Room


Student Contest Winners will Receive Gift Certificates & Mojave Maxine T-shirts

Contact: Erin Scott
Sr. Marketing and Public Relations Manager
760-346-5694 x.2610

Spring is in the air as Mojave Maxine emerged from brumation (reptilian hibernation) yesterday morning, January 23, 2020 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 or call 760-346-5694.

About the Living Desert:

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a nonprofit, accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, ensuring the highest standards of all aspects of animal care, education, conservation, public service, and operations. The Zoo is active in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs and education initiatives around the world, as well as in its own community. The Zoo has been a top destination in the Palm Springs area for nearly 50 years. The Living Desert is located at 47900 Portola Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260. For more information: (760) 346-5694 or visit


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