7 mins

9 crazy animal-related incidents at airports

There's a reason airport authorities like to keep animals away from airports. In fact, here's nine of them

Kangaroo in a chemist

1. Kangaroos 

Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne, Australia

Police had to lock down part of Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport this week after an injured kangaroo bounced into the terminal’s pharmacy. The kangaroo was eventually caught by local wildlife volunteers and taken to a nearby vet. Kangaroos are no strangers to the airport grounds, and the tarmac is protected to stop them hopping in front of planes.

2. Barnyard animals

O'Hare Airport, Chicago, USA

Passengers arriving at one of the busiest airports in the world are often surprised to see a gang of goats, sheep, llamas, and wild burros grazing in the airport grounds. Donated by an animal rescue shelter just south of Chicago, they are employed by the environmentally conscious airport to keep its extensive grassy areas tidy.

3. Various stray animals

Surigao Airport, the Philippines

Stray animals such as dogs, pigeons, pigs and goats are such a problem at this airport that the city council passed a strongly worded ordinance warning residents living near the airport of stiffer penalties should their animals be found astray in the airport. This was after security personnel had ‘verbal tussles’ with residents about their stray animals during routine patrols.

4. Turtles

JFK International Airport, New York, USA

In 2011, diamondback terrapins caused delays at the airport as they took a shortcut across the tarmac to a nearby sandy area where they lay their eggs. Initially pilots were on alert to manoeuvre their aircraft around the turtles, before airport staff were instructed to encourage the reptiles to move off the runway.

5. Catfish

Melbourne Airport, Florida, USA

In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Fay in August 2008, a jet was denied its landing spot when airport staff found four catfish, two gopher tortoises, a blue indigo snake and an alligator which had been stranded by the storm on the runway. All the marine life was re-housed in a nearby pond.

6. Bees

Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila, The Philippines

Flights were delayed and operations affected when bees swarmed the control panels of five of the airports’ aerobridges in March 2011. Controllers were unable to attach the movable walkways to arriving aircraft. Gates were closed as officials declared that the incident posed danger to both passengers and airport workers.

7. Hares 

Linate Airport, Milan, Italy

The animals first played havoc with the radar systems at the Italian airport in June 2007 and continue to disrupt aircraft take-offs and landings at least twice a year ever since. Volunteers now visit the airport grounds to blow whistles and wave, in the hope of deterring the hares.

8. Dogs

Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, India

Last year, 200 stray dogs were found in the airport grounds in just three months. Dogs are not the only animal visitors to the airport as authorities regularly deal with jackals, snakes, monkeys and birds.

9. Coyotes

Atlanta International Airport, USA

Flights from Atlanta’s International Airport were delayed for a few minutes earlier this year when someone spotted a coyote on the runway. The wily creature was chased from the airport by ground crews.

Related Articles