Turtle orgy causes flight delays at New York’s JFK Airport

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Passengers flying out of New York’s JFK Airport are used to flight delays. Between airport crowding, the busy Northeast flight corridor, and bad weather, there are many reasons why JFK is notorious for late flights. On Friday, a different reason was blamed for flight delays. Mating turtles were crossing a runway, forcing flights to be delayed until the terrapins could be moved to safety.

According to the New York Daily News:

Some 40 diamondback terrapins sparked delays on the runways at the Queens airport Friday afternoon as they took their time making their annual migration for a nesting ritual, Port Authority officials said.

“There were planes briefly stuck in queue,” a Port Authority spokeswoman Cheryl Albiez said about the turtles. “It is turtle season here, but it was a little unusual to get the turtles at this time.”

While the Port Authority says this was unusual, a quick search says that it’s actually not. This is at least the fourth time that a turtle orgy has caused flight delays at JFK in recent years during June & July.

Back in 2009, 78 turtles had to be removed from JFK runways during mating season. After that incident, the New York Times described the event , with quotes from Port Authority spokesman John Kelly. “The turtles were perhaps attracted to the sand along one side of the runway, which juts into the water. ‘They tend to look for sand while they are mating,’ he said. ‘Presumably, all these turtles were feeling amorous.’ It is unclear whether the turtles pair off, or if the numbers indicated it was a group activity, he said.”

NBC News reported on another turtle mating delay incident that happened at JFK in 2011.

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A barrier was installed in 2013 to try and keep the turtles off the runways, but in 2014, you guessed it, those horny turtles were back at it. This interesting New York Times article goes into more details about the turtle population of Jamaica Bay, along with some theories about why these incidents have been more common in recent years. Whatever the cause, those turtles aren’t showing any signs of giving up getting it on.


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