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The 'JFK Turtles' Are Back, And This Time They're Tweeting

It's becoming something of early summer tradition.

Turtles — hundreds of them — slowly crossing the runways at New York's Kennedy International Airport, and in the process forcing flight delays.

According to The New York Times' City Room blog:

"Runway 4 Left at Kennedy International Airport was closed for more than an hour this morning. The cause: turtles on the runway. Specialists from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey removed about 100 diamondback terrapins from the runway around 10 a.m., said John P. L. Kelly, a Port Authority spokesman."

NPR has reported about this before — most recently in 2009.

But this year there's something new. Perhaps inspired by the Bronx Zoo Cobra or Smoke, the donkey, the JFK turtles have taken to the Web.

Specifically, . They seem to be pretty savvy (they know who NPR's Andy Carvin is!). And if you follow them you can read gems like these:

-- "We go straight to the runway because it takes 5 hours to get out of our shells for the TSA."

-- " @DavidKenner Appreciate it, but get back to work! We follow you for Arab Spring/Taliban info & are too slow to follow @acarvin. No thumbs."

-- "Now why did the Turtle cross the runway? ... To get to the shell station!"

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.