Japanese Railway Workers Save Turtles From A Grisly Death

2 min read

Respect for the safety of commuters is the motto of the Japanese Railways. That goes for the slow-moving turtles as well.   Five U-Shaped concrete ditches were built at two stations in Nara Prefecture close to hazardous switch points where turtles often become trapped.

Back in 2015, The Japan Times reported that trains traveling from the aquarium alongside the ocean, receive large numbers of reptilian visitors during May and September. A railway spokesman said, “The turtles are basically just going about their daily business and have to cross the lines to get to a pond.”

Turtle trapped between rail switches Kobe Digital/ YouTube

“When the point blades move, unfortunately, they get squashed between them and die.”

Rail delays caused by the turtles crossing the tracks were responsible for disruptions to train services between by falling into spaces between rail switches and getting squashed, according to West Japan Railway officials.

“They can cause long delays to operations so we consulted with a turtle specialist to find the best way to help them,” the spokesman added.

Turtles walking in shallow trenches under the tracks at JR West’s facility in Kobe, Western Japan.

Railway staff check the tunnels regularly for rogue reptiles and if any are found they are removed and sent to the aquarium.

The tunnels have saved many turtles lives according to officials.

A turtle looking in all 8 directions 八方睨みの亀

Turtles are the oldest living members of the reptile class, many cultures have attributed spirituality and godlike behavior to them and many a Japanese Hilo have been written to honor them.

Creation myths tell of how the earth is balanced on a giants turtle’s back.



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