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Turtles Slow Things to a Crawl at JFK Airport in New York

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Turtles seeking a sandy spot to lay their eggs caused delays this morning at John F. Kennedy airport in New York. (Reuters)

Turtles seeking to lay their eggs caused delays at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport this morning.

"We may have a few delays, but nothing significant," Arlene Salac, the Federal Aviation Administration's spokeswoman, told the New York Post.

The news broke as JetBlue apologized to customers via Twitter.

"JFK is experiencing delays as the airport clears turtles off the runway," tweeted the airline, later joking that the turtles were of the "ninja variety."

"At 9:45 a.m. the airplanes were diverted to another runway," PA spokesman Ron Marsico told

Port Authority workers removed the 100 diamondback terrapins from Runway 4L, a yearly event for the turtles who during spawning season look for a sandy place to lay their eggs.

"The sandy spot on the other side of Runway 4L is ideal for egg laying," PA spokesman John Kelly told the Post. "It is a naturally provided turtle maternity ward. When your airport is virtually surrounded by water, your neighbors sometimes come in the hard shell variety."

In July 2009, a similar incident occurred and the turtles were moved back to Jamaica Bay.

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