Aviation News

June 25, 2011

Pregnant Turtles Delay Air Traffic in New York

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By: Matt Molnar
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Adult female Diamondback Terrapin. (Photo by NOAA)
Adult female Diamondback Terrapin. (Photo by NOAA)
Pregnant turtles native to Jamaica Bay have once again emerged to nest on land, marching onto one of the runways at John F. Kennedy International Airport Saturday morning and causing what one Twitter user called, “[the] cutest delay ever!”

Diamond terrapins have been known to climb ashore around this time of year to lay their eggs on dry land. In their case, the nearest land happens to be the busy runways at JFK.

This morning the slow-moving reptiles with diamond-patterned shells caused 15 minute departure delays after they waddled onto runway 13R/31L, the airport’s busiest. The delays have since been cleared up, according to the FAA, but it is possible more turtles will return.