Turtle Goes for a Stroll, Halts Multiple Flights

by Shelby Scott

We’re sure for all you frequent fliers out there, you’ve experienced flight delays once or twice before. Whether because of snow, tropical storms, or discrepancies between incoming and outgoing flights, they’re nevertheless frustrating. However, one Japanese airport experienced a unique kind of flight delay when a four-pound-one-foot turtle strolled across the runway.

While frustrating, we at Outsider applaud the airport and the keen-eyed pilot who spotted the rogue reptile. Upon seeing the little turtle, air traffic control halted all flights until staff rescued the ambling creature off the runway.

Fox News reports the turtle’s venture onto the tarmac held up dozens of passengers and flight crews. Once Narita International Airport staff removed the reptile off the tarmac, crews swept the 13,100-foot runway for any other anomalies. The precaution further delayed flights.

As far as where the troublesome turtle came from, officials believe he could have departed a nearby retention pond, 328 feet away from the runway. They further identified the brace critter as a red-eared slider, native to North America and considered invasive in Japan.

The news outlet further stated the sighting was ironic. One of the delayed planes was decorated with a collection of bright blue sea turtles in celebration of the airline’s service to Hawaii. The airline said, “In Hawaii, sea turtles are seen as bringing good luck, and we hope this turtle that came to see the flight off signals a bright future.”

‘World’s Strangest Turtle’ Staves Off Extinction

For our red-eared slider friend above, his species remains alive and thriving, both in North America and, apparently, in Japan. However, until recently, scientists believed the “world’s strangest turtle,” Cantor’s giant softshell turtle, was dangerously close to extinction.

In efforts to revive the strange species, scientists at the London zoo have brought it back from the brink of extinction. Until recently, scientists thought the strange critter extinct from Earth as it had gone unseen in India for 10 years. However, in 2020, a Cantor’s giant softshell turtle nest was found. Though efforts to protect it had already been thwarted. Locals had destroyed it by sand mining.

Later, a team of researchers for the Zoological Society of London located some baby turtle eggs in Kerala, India. The team carefully relocated the eggs and raised several of them already for release back into the wild.

As for their appearance, you can see for yourself below that Cantor’s giant softshell is incredibly unique. First off, the species is the largest freshwater reptile of its kind, growing up to an impressive six feet long. Additionally, the turtle has no traditional shell, but a ribcage covered in leathery skin taking the shape of a traditional turtle shell. However, strangest of all, the turtle spends 95% of its life submerged in sand, entirely motionless and surfaces only twice a day to breathe.

Its strange lifestyle allows the turtle to remain unseen by prey. So when they hunt crabs and fish, they dart forward out of their hiding spot, capturing prey with ease.