When Animals Tweet: JFK Turtles, the Bronx Zoo Cobra, and Sockington
When more than 150 diamondback terrapins wandered onto JFK Airport's tarmac in search of a nesting site, the turtles did more than cause flight delays: they became the latest Twitter sensation. As airport crews worked to transport the turtles to safety on Wednesday morning, the creatures mysteriously began communicating with news outlets and concerned citizens via the handle @JFKTurtles. The turtles even exchanged tweets with the Sierra Club.
The tweeting terrapins, who have nearly 8,000 followers, aren't the only animals who've been given a "voice" on the micro-bloggging site. When the Bronx Zoo's cobra was on the lam, the escaped snake was kind enough to keep people informed of its whereabouts through its @BronxZoosCobra account. A peahen who subsequently escaped followed suit under the handle @BronxZoosPeahen. The zoo recovered both escapees, but not before the animals became Twitter phenoms.
Throughout history, people have used storytelling and art to anthropomorphize animal mascots, so it's not surprising that new technology has only accelerated this phenomenon. ShortList magazine's "Most Powerful Animals on Twitter" ranks a cat named Sockington as the most successful animal in the 140-character game. The gray-and-white kitty — a former stray who "tweets" at @Sockington (with the help of his owner, Jason Scott, natch) — was featured in People magazine and has amassed more than 1 million followers.