Palm Desert

Emergence Excitement Builds Around Mojave Maxine

The desert tortoise will soon leave her burrow and predict the start of spring. A new video is helping at-home guessers hone their guesses.

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

GUESS WHAT? It's truly anybody's guess about what makes a great guess. You might advise a friend who is tasked with guessing to follow their intuition, their gut, or a hunch, or some mysterious combination of all three. Past experiences can sometimes play a guide when it comes to formulating a prediction, or even which way the wind might be blowing (metaphorically or literally, depending upon the nature of the guess you've got to make). But when it comes to landing upon a date and time when a famous desert tortoise named Mojave Maxine will leave her burrow, wrapping up her annual brumation, an actual visit to that burrow might help at-home guessers.

THE LIVING DESERT... just filmed that exact, oh-so-interesting visit, and shared it with its Facebook fans earlier in January 2021. True, California's own Punxsutawney Phil is still brumating, which is the reptile's way of hibernating, but a zoo staff member kindly explained more about what is happening with Mojave Maxine right now, what "brumation" means exactly, and how we all can be a friend to desert tortoises. And if you have a kid at home who is entering the Emergence Contest, which focuses on when the critter will step into the sunshine and "predict" spring's arrival? Past emergence dates are also discussed in the short video, which features a cute cameo from an amazingly tall tortoise representing the smaller, shell-rocking celebrity.

MAXINE'S BURROW-DEPARTING DATE... is getting closer, the lovely weather continues to speak of spring's arrival, and local schoolkids are ready to make their really good guesses. Need a little more background on this charming Palm Desert denizen and why so many people await her emergence? Start here.

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