Flea circus

Flea circus

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This image is part of the feature Flea Circus

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Flea circus. Human flea (Pulex irritans) pulling a miniature carriage along a human nose. The flea belongs to Hans Mathes' Flea Circus, where trained fleas perform a range of tricks, including kicking balls, pulling carriages (as seen here) and dancing in tiny costumes. The stunts rely on the natural strength of the fleas, which can move objects up to 20,000 times their own body weight. Fleas which tend to walk rather than jump are selected to pull carriages. They are trained in a set of boxes with progressively lower roofs and eventually stop jumping altogether. The circus performs for two weeks a year at the Munich Oktoberfest in Germany.

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Keywords: animal, athlete, athletic, blood-sucking, carriage, circus, dragging, ectoparasite, entertainment, female, germany, hans mathes, harnessed, human flea, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, leisure, male, man, miniature, munich, nature, nose, oktoberfest, parasite, performer, performing, pulex irritans, pulling, show, show business, side-show, trained, trap, wildlife, zoology

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