By Andrea Romano
January 21, 2020
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Weather, traffic, and even wild animals can spell trouble for many flights across the country.

Since some airports are located in areas that are home to lots of local wildlife, you might expect to see a row of ducks, rabbits, or other wildlife blocking your plane.

In Arizona, some passengers can thank a wily coyote for delaying their takeoff. According to USA Today, the animal disrupted three flights taking off from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Monday. Perhaps he was just trying to catch that rascal Road Runner.

An airport spokesperson told AZ Central (an affiliate of USA Today) that employees led the coyote off the airfield and toward the Salt riverbed. No harm came to any personnel or the coyote.

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However, three flights had to circle the airfield until the animal was led away, according to USA Today. Other airport operations were able to proceed without any disturbances.

A coyote on the runway may seem unusual, but it's a fairly common sight in the Phoenix metropolitan area, even in urban neighborhoods across Arizona, according to USA Today.

Other airports across the country have had their own wildlife run-ins as well. For instance, a 450-pound seal delayed flights at Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport in Utqiagvik, Alaska, back in 2017. Similarly, in 2018, an alligator wandered onto the runway at Orlando International Airport, blocking a Spirit Airlines flight.

Wildlife can also directly interfere with equipment, like the pigeon that snuck on a flight at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow, or the owl that decided to take a nap inside a Virgin Australia plane engine. Luckily, these animals were unharmed.

For the most part, employees work to make sure local wildlife stays away from machinery on the runway. If one animal does get in the way, it is usually (humanely) taken to a safe area.