What to Know
Mojave Max lives at Springs Preserve in Nevada
Mojave Maxine lives at The Living Desert in Palm Desert
Both contests are open to school kids, but do check details regarding grades, locations, and such
What are the major signs of the new year's arrival?
Confetti on the ground? Sparkly eyeglasses blinking out cheerful wishes for the coming months? New diets, new resolutions, a major closet clean-out?
And desert tortoises hibernating, but not for much longer?
While the first few into-the-new-year sights are seen at spots around the world, the desert tortoise Emergence Contest is one of the signs, at least 'round California and Nevada, that winter won't last forever and spring will soon be on its way.
And that the Mojave Max Emergence Contest kicked off just before the holidays further solidifies the desert tortoise's place in our celebratory SoCal hearts.
For while Baby New Year remains one of the sweet symbols of early January, so are the trundling, handsome, shell-rocking wonders of the West's arid regions.
The deal with the annual contests?
Desert tortoises observe brumation, a reptilian hibernation, in the colder months. But they emerge from their burrows when things begin to warm up, and that emergence is the basis for local contests for area schoolkids.
Mojave Maxine has exited her cozy burrow, in years gone by, in early February, and even very late January, though that seems to be rarer.
Call the desert tortoise the Southwest's very own Punxsutawney Phil, or wonderful wintertime icon, or a way to stay in touch with the rhythms of nature, as the new year begins.
So when will Mojave Max and Mojave Maxine choose to make their big 2019 debuts?
Stay tuned to all of the thrilling desert tortoise action in the weeks ahead.