strange behaviors

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  • Richard Conniff writes about behavior, in humans and other animals, on two, four, six, and eight legs, plus the occasional slither.

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Circus Tragedy: Send In The Fleas

Posted by Richard Conniff on March 31, 2013

Mechernich-Kommern weeps.

Here’s the report from Rob Williams at The (UK) Independent:

An entire troupe of 300 performing fleas have fallen victim to the freezing weather gripping Germany.

The acrobatic insects, which were due to appear at an open-air fair in the western town of Mechernich-Kommern, were found dead inside their transport box on Wednesday morning.

Flea circus director Robert Birk said it was the first time he had lost all his fleas in one go because of cold weather.

As they say in the business, however, the show must go on and the circus immediately scrambled to find and train a new batch of insects so it could fulfill its engagements at the fair.

Michael Faber, who organizes the fair, said an insect expert at a nearby university was able to provide 50 fleas in time for the first show on Sunday.

Faber added he hopes they’ll “get through this without any more fatalities.”

Fleas are famous for their phenomenal strength which allows them to pull 160,000 times their own weight and jump to heights 100 times their size.

When contacted Mr Faber told the Independent the story was not an early April Fools joke.

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