Vegas area focuses on Mojave Max to signal start of spring

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Pennsylvania has a groundhog. Southern Nevada has a desert tortoise.

Clark County officials are focusing Monday on a contest that guesses when the tortoise dubbed Mojave Max will emerge from his burrow to signal spring at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Max's debut is the subject of an annual guess-the-date contest now in its 16th year.

It lets Las Vegas-area schoolchildren try to predict when Max will emerge.

The earliest was in 2005, on Feb. 14.

The latest was in 2012, on April 17.

The tortoise nap is called brumation. That's the reptile form of hibernation.

In Pennsylvania, handlers said Monday that Punxsutawney Phil is forecasting six more weeks of winter.

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