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.
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.
Brumation is how desert tortoises and other desert reptiles survive the cold winters – they sleep through them in their insulated, underground burrows. Maxine and her desert tortoise roommates typically enter brumation around Thanksgiving. Their bodies know when to go to sleep based on the outside temperatures and the change in daylight hours. Students (K-12) in nine southern California counties have the opportunity to guess when Maxine will emerge from brumation in the spring through The Living Desert’s Mojave Maxine Emergence Contest. The winning student who guesses closest to the day and time of her emergence in each of the nine southern California counties will receive gift certificates for themselves and their teachers, t-shirts for their entire class, and a visit from a live desert tortoise! This year, over 1,900 students participated in our contest – and we hope to see that number increase next year!
Official Mojave Maxine Rules
1. Eligibility for prizes offered by The Living Desert is restricted to students of grades K-12 enrolled in public, private or a registered home school, youth groups, scouts or scholastic organizations up to 36 students. Prizes are awarded to the first student to enter the closest time and date that Maxine emerges from her burrow for the first time each year. California’s Maxine resides at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, California. Prizes are awarded to Southern California students in the counties of: Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura.
2. Students must have the permission of their teacher(s) and parent(s) or guardian(s) to enter.
3. Students must enter the contest on-line at www.LivingDesert.org. Students are not required to own a computer. Students may enter from a public computer such as one at a school or public library, teachers or volunteers may assist.
4. The entry form must be completely filled out online. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. No paper entries will be accepted.
5. Students may enter the Mojave Maxine Emergence Contest only once a year. Only the first entry per student per year will be accepted.
6. The Living Desert must be able to contact the student’s school or organization. The appropriate media release form must be completed for the student to be recognized as the winning entry. In the event, the first place winner in not eligible, an alternate will be chosen.
7. The recognized winners will be notified through their school, principal, teacher or organization leader. GOOD LUCK
How to make a good guess
My name is Mojave Maxine and I live in the desert tortoise habitat at The Living Desert. I’ve been living here since April of 1997, and I’m about 43 years old.
Every fall, when I feel a chill in the air and I notice the days getting shorter, I go into my burrow and enter a state of sleep called brumation. Brumation is the reptile version of hibernation – it’s our long winter sleep. While in brumation, I avoid the cold winter temperatures and conserve my energy as I wait for spring to arrive.
The Living Desert hosts a contest each year for students in Southern California to guess the date and time that I will emerge from my burrow for the first time in the spring. Winners receive prizes for themselves, their teacher, and their entire class!
Last year, over 1900 students from all nine Southern California Counties entered the Mojave Maxine Emergence Contest to guess when I would make my first appearance for the year. I hope that you will try and guess when I will emerge this year. The best way to make a good guess is to learn a bit about desert tortoises and by looking at my previous emergence dates (see table below).
YEAR DATE OF EMERGENCE TIME 2006 Februray 9 No time records before 2009 2007 February 15 No time records before 2009 2008 February 10 No time records before 2009 2009 February 24 1:52 p.m. 2010 February 13 2:30 p.m. 2011 February 19 11:38 a.m. 2012 February 25 11:33 a.m. 2013 March 2 10:17 a.m. 2014 February 17 11:53 a.m. 2015 February 9 12:44 p.m. 2016 February 8 11:56 a.m. 2017 February 7 12:06 p.m. 2018 January 31 12:28 p.m. 2019 January 29 8:38 a.m.