Mojave Max

Who is Mojave Max?

Mojave Max (Gopherus agassizii) is a desert tortoise that lives at Red Rock Canyon NCA. Max is a desert “spokestortoise” for all the wild tortoises that live in the Mojave Desert and serves as a major symbol of the desert.

Mojave Max is a desert tortoise who was born (hatched) in 1989.  This reptile weighs 12 and a half lbs. and is about 13 inches long.  He resides next to eight females and one other large male tortoise named Hugo.   The desert tortoise can live to be 60-80 years old in the wild and spends 95% of its life in a burrow. Since the desert tortoise is Nevada’s state reptile, Max serves as an important reminder to respect, protect and enjoy all the animals and plants of the Mojave Desert!

Watch A Video: Max Cam

See more videos: Max’s YouTube Channel

A Message From Max

Mojave Max Logo Mojave Max wants you to enjoy our wonderful desert environment. Remember to Respect, Protect, and Enjoy our desert!

Mojave Max teaches that when you’re in the desert:

  • Stay on established roads and trails.
  • If you pack it in, pack it out.
  • Leave soil, rocks, plants and animals alone.
  • Respect, Protect & Enjoy our Desert!


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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about our friend Mojave Max. If you have even more interest, please come on out and see us, we are happy to answer all of your questions.

What is the Emergence Contest?

Every year, desert tortoises go into brumation in the fall and emerge in the spring.  One special tortoise, named Mojave Max, is a west coast weather predictor.  When he comes out of his burrow each year, it is an indicator of spring-like weather.  School-aged children can guess when the live Mojave Max will officially emerge (come out) each year.  The student who guesses closest will win prizes for themselves and their entire class.

When will he emerge?

That is the question all of our contestants need to answer. The person who guesses as closely as possible to the correct month, day, hour, and minute when Max emerges from his burrow wins! Anyone in the whole world can enter, but only one lucky winner from Clark County, Nevada (or other sponsored areas) can win all kinds of great prizes!

When has Max emerged in the past?

To see past emergence times as well as view past winners, click here!

Where does the real Mojave Max live?

Mojave Max lives at the Visitor Center in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Do desert tortoises hibernate?

Nope! They go through a similar process, called brumation.

What are three factors that cause the desert tortoise to emerge in the spring?

Warmer temperatures, longer days, and internal clock (instinct)

What are three threats to Max's home?

Habitat loss, collection and vandalism, and increased predation by ravens.

How long can a desert tortoise live?

60-80 Years, believe it or not!

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