Get Ready for Mojave Maxine's Emergence
Mojave Maxine, a desert tortoise in our Desert Tortoise Habitat, will soon start preparing for her annual brumation, which is the reptilian form of hibernation. Hibernation and brumation both describe a state of dormancy where an animal’s heart rate, body temperature and metabolism slow down to help them survive long periods of cold temperatures. During brumation, reptiles can enter a semi-wakeful state to drink water or even bask in the sun on a warm winter’s day. While they may appear to be awake, their heart rate and metabolism remain in a slowed-down state.
Maxine and her desert tortoise roommates typically enter their brumation around Thanksgiving. Their bodies know when to enter brumation based on the outside temperatures and the change in daylight hours.
While Maxine and her roomies aren’t yet brumating, it’s never too early to learn about desert tortoises and enter the annual Mojave Maxine Emergence Contest. Students (K-12) in the nine Southern California counties have the opportunity to guess when Maxine will emerge from brumation in the spring.
The winning student whose guess is closest to the day and time of Maxine’s emergence, in each county, will receive prizes for themselves, their teacher, and their entire class! Last year, over 1,900 students participated in our contest. We hope to see that number increase this year!
Before picking the date and time you think Maxine will wake up – we suggest you learn more about desert tortoises, as it will help you make an even better prediction.