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Groundhog(stand-ins) Around the world: Mojave Maxine

In a sort of variation on the Groundhog Day tradition, The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California uses a desert tortoise named Mojave Maxine to determine when Spring has arrived. 

Since the mid-2000s a contest has been held by the zoo for students in Southern California to guess the date and time when Maxine will emerge from her burrow. The children submit their entries, and winners receive prizes for themselves, their teacher, and their entire class. Between 1500 and 1800 entries are usually received each year. 

Mojave Maxine
Mojave Maxine. Picture courtesy The Living Desert Zoo. 

Beginning in January a camera is set up on Maxine’s exhibit so that students and teachers can check to see if she’s come out yet.

To learn more visit the Mojave Maxine contest website.

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