Pity the humble circus flea: a cold blast of winter weather in chilly Western Germany proved to be the death of 300 of the whimsical performing insects.
Bavarian flea circus director Robert Bork said the fleas were being transported inside a Styrofoam box to a show at a fair in western Germany's Mechernich-Kommern, when the cold temperatures got the best of their tiny, hairy bodies.
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Open-air fair director Michael Faber told the Independent that he hopes they’ll “get through this without any more fatalities.”
It was the first time the circus lost all of its performers in a single tragic incident, noted Bork to the Associated Press.
Lest readers question the veracity of the tragic story of flea mass death, the flea circus owner reassured the Independent that the tale was definitely not an early-hitting April Fools Joke.
The flea circus is an rather antique and somewhat controversial sideshow art wherein the tiny bloodsuckers perform humorous antics for a delighted (and perhaps rather gullible) audience.
Some flea circuses are actually tiny mechanical devices that are made to merely look as if operated by small insects: other flea circus trainers use wire to "train" the fleas into performing various tricks.
The remarkably extensive Flea Circus Research Library notes that mass performing flea death due to cold weather is not exactly unknown in the annals of history: pity poor flea circus owner Mimi Garneau, who found her fleas didn't take kindly to a climate shift from Florida to Canada.