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'Mojave Max' Tortoise Emerges, Signals Spring In Las Vegas Area

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Local officials say a desert tortoise made an early emergence from his winter burrow in an enclosure at a federal preserve outside Las Vegas, signaling that spring weather has arrived in southern Nevada.

Clark County conservation program spokeswoman Heather Green said Wednesday the tortoise dubbed Mojave Max was seen above-ground at 1:20 p.m. Tuesday at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Maybe he's camera-shy. Green says he went back in his burrow and one has a photo yet. The debut was the second-earliest in the 17-year history of a contest that lets Las Vegas-area schoolchildren guess the time and date the critter will emerge from its winter form of hibernation — called brumation.