Say it isn’t so! An entire troupe of circus performing fleas has fallen victim to the freezing temperatures holding Germany in its frosty grip. Flea circus director Robert Birk says he was shocked to find all of his 300 fleas dead inside their transport box Wednesday morning. Leaving him unable to fulfill his performance engagements, Birk scrambled to find and train a new batch (i.e. find a new batch of “lively” fleas). Luckily, an insect expert at a nearby university was able to provide 50 new fleas in time for the first show on Sunday.
Are flea circuses for real? Yes! And here’s how a flea is trained for the circus life.
A flea circus involves trained fleas performing various activities such as jumping over obstacles, pulling miniature carts, or even performing tricks. The first step to creating a flea circus is to obtain the fleas. This is usually done by collecting them from their natural habitat or purchasing them from a biological supply company. Once the fleas are obtained, they are carefully placed in a small container with a lid that has tiny holes for air.
The trainer then begins the process of training the fleas. This involves using a small stick or a brush to gently guide the fleas and reward them with sugar or other treats when they perform the desired behavior. Over time, the fleas learn to associate certain actions with rewards and can be trained to perform various activities.
To make the circus more visually appealing, small props and costumes can be used. For example, miniature obstacle courses can be constructed for the fleas to jump over, or tiny carts can be attached to their bodies for them to pull.
It is important to note that fleas have a very short lifespan and can only be trained for a few weeks at a time. Therefore, flea circuses are not a long-term form of entertainment and must be constantly replenished with new fleas.