Why does the terrapin cross the runway?

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

It was the summer of 2011, and we had 20 female diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) crawling across the taxiways and runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, N.Y.

Airport operations staff scrambled to pick them all up. Aircraft pilots discussed the terrapins on the radio with the air traffic control tower.

And just when we would try to reopen the runway, another terrapin would be spotted. The 10-15 minutes felt like hours. Sure, it was a serious issue, but watching the terrapins cross oblivious to the vehicles and aircraft was also amusing.

This annual terrapin rite occurs at JFK every June and July, when female terrapins come out of Jamaica Bay looking for nest sites above the high tide line in sandy or loose soil.

While no one knows exactly how long the terrapins have nested in Jamaica Bay, we do know that it has been…

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2 thoughts on “Why does the terrapin cross the runway?

    1. anthonyvenable110 Post author

      your very welcome, I have always had a love for turtles, so its nice to see others who care about them


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