78 turtles ambled out of Jamaica Bay on Wednesday to make sweet, sweet love all over one New York City’s busiest runways. It took Port Authority workers 35 minutes to shut down the impromptu nightclub, but the damage was done and travelers at J.F.K. experienced delays of up to an hour and a half.
The 78 diamondback terrapins were picked up, put into a pickup truck and removed from the runway, said John Kelly, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. They were originally spotted around 8:30 a.m. by a pilot, who radioed the tower.
“It’s not unprecedented, but it’s not at all common,” he said.
He said that 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.
We might be more forgiving of airport delays if they all came a similarly cute and cuddly story.