What Are Flea Circuses and How Do People Train Fleas to Perform In a Flea Circus?

Flea circuses may seem like a joke, but they’re not a hoax.

Flea circuses really do exist.

By using the insects’ natural response to certain stimuli, people are able to “train,” or condition, them to move in certain directions or to jump.

Add a few props and a lot of stage talk, and you have an entire show.

Admittedly, it is hard for fleas to hold anyone’s attention for very long, and because they are so tiny, only a few people can really watch at once.

In the flea circus heyday, from the 1830s to the 1930s, owners would host up to six short street shows an hour.

Flea circuses are still alive and well today.

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