Have you ever found Flea Circuses (smallest circus in the globe) to be fascinating? Have you ever come across any such circus? Are there actually fleas towing that tiny cart? Has that ball just moved by itself, or has it been kicked by a teeny tiny flea? Anyone familiar with A Bugs Life (Disney/Pixar, 1998) will be familiar with how well-liked these sideshows had been, as the film follows the misadventures of P.T. Flea and his circus troupe of performing fleas. But where are they from and what is the truth behind the ticks (I mean, tricks!).
Fleas in background
The art in which fleas are attached to tiny carts and other products on a miniature stage, namely, the Flea Circus, is believed to have originated as far back as the 16th century, firstly by watch makers who wanted to demonstrate how the mechanics of their metal worked. A guy referred to as Mark Scaliot attached a lock and chain to a flea in the first recorded event in 1578.
Even though the English climate was not ideally suited to fleas, they have a historic background here.
The initial advertised flea performances in England date back from 1833 and continued to draw in crowds until the 1930’s. The renowned Leicester Square in London had a resident flea circus, and Professor England’s Royal Exhibition of Performing Fleas visited Nottingham Goose Fair in 1892 – wish I’d been a fly on the wall!
How do they do that?
Contrary to popular myth, fleas do not in fact reside a extended time, and consequently can’t truly be trained, but I’m positive you already guessed that!
They come in two types – the jumping flea and the running flea.
Very first of all, they had to be separated into their categories. A thin gold wire “harness” was attached to the flea, and after there, it was possibly harnessed for life. The other finish of the thin thread was attached to numerous props, which due to the strength of their small legs, fleas could move, despite them being drastically bigger than them.
The jumping fleas were given lightweight balls, but when they attempted to jump away (impossible due to the harness) they would shoot the ball, providing the appearance of a Premiership football player.
Operating fleas had been greater for pulling objects, such as rotating minute Ferris wheels, or towing insy-wincy carts.
Even though this does not appear to be that cruel, historical reports suggest that fleas had been often glued to the floor of the stage, then miniature instruments would also be glued to the flea performers. The complete enclosure would then be heated and as the fleas tied to escape the heat, they gave the general impression of a little band of fleas, all belting out a simple tune.
Image by Ed Schipul
The humane alternative
Numerous individuals couldn’t think their eyes, as they couldn’t really see the flea. Nicely, in some circumstances that’s since there weren’t any – it was an optical illusion set up by a range of magnetic, electrical and mechanical devices. They just dropped a couple of actual fleas in to assist with the pretence!
In fact, the final known present flea circus can be noticed each year at the Munich Oktoberfest in Germany, but they are mostly a side show for the clowns. But you will not catch fleas if you go and see it – they use the mechanical impact as an alternative of the real deal.
I would adore to know if you have heard of any carnivals exhibiting flea circuses or other old globe curiosities!
Examine out this video to get a little visual concept of the whole thing:
Title Image by Kayak Kuu
Thanks Sarah for your contribution!
P.S. Sarah O’Neil is an animal lover but hasn’t the time to have one particular of her own! She writes blogs for Petmeds (which is an on the internet shop promoting cat flaps, cat accessories and dry cat food to preserve pets wholesome and pleased).