But silly, naïve me! For starters, have I never heard of the old Mexican tradition of dressing fleas – dead fleas I mean – sometimes as bride and groom? No. You can visit the Natural History Museum at Tring to see a pair of dead fleas dressed as Mexican dancers – strange, but true! So, if you can play around with dead fleas, why not with the living version?
Secondly, did I not know that certain members of the famous Rothschild family, namely Walter Rothschild (2nd Baron Rothschild), his brother and niece (Dame Miriam Rothschild), were all fascinated by fleas (and other insects). No. They collected fleas and studied them helping to make important scientific observations, which increased our general understanding of this hopping insect!
If you want a chance to see a flea circus, you will have to be in Germany to see their performance. One of their tricks includes pulling miniature carts, something they were carefully trained to do. How on earth is it possible to train fleas? My parents struggle to train their dog- they would never succeed with fleas! Sadly the original 300 strong troupe was found dead during transportation and had to be replaced last minute.
The freezing spring weather lead to their death and as we all know fleas love our warm homes and start to become a nuisance pest when the radiators get switched on in autumn/ winter time. If you’re a pet owner you are even more likely to have had a run-in with these insects. Cat and dog fleas are very common, though funnily enough they are more likely to live in the pet bedding than on the pet itself. They often jump up to bite people when they get close, meaning bites often occur on lower legs and/or feet. And my personal experience of flea collars is that they do not work!
So, what’s the strangest pet or pest that you’ve seen dressed up, or perform the strangest trick? I am not talking about taxidermy but rather about creative grooming – the whackier the better!