You would never think it in New York City, where there’s more cement per capita than wildlife, but turtles are actually common near JFK Airport. Nearby Jamaica Bay is home to some surprising flora and fauna, including a population of diamondback terrapin turtles.
Like most New Yorkers with intellectual curiosity, these turtles don’t always stay within the safety of their natural habitat. Maybe they wanted to hop a flight to the Caribbean to check out the finer life or take a break from the cold, or perhaps they just wanted to get a closer view of the planes taking off, but, regardless of reason, these cute little guys have found their way into JFK International Airport and have been known to make their way onto the runway, causing among the most humorous of delays. You can’t make this shtick up.
We tweeted back in June of 2009: @JetBlue: There’s a turtle on the runway holding up all the planes at JFK. They’re sending a car to pick it up – “I like turtles”.
Word of the turtles got around. Stories ran in many of the major news outlets:
JFK Airport Runway Closed Due to Turtles | NYCAviation.com | Airplane Photos, Airline News, Planespotting Guides
Turtles block JFK runway – FlyerTalk Forums
Walking a Fine Line: How Companies Use Twitter – CNBC
Turtle Brigade Delays Flights at J.F.K. – NYTimes.com