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No matter what’s stowed away in your baggage, a dog’s nose knows how to sniff it out.
Even if that certain stowaway is a little…strange.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website, Regal, an on-duty dog on the CBP’s Beagle Brigade managed to sniff out a live giant African millipede at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Dec. 18.
The millipede apparently “hitchhiked” on a traveler’s bag coming from Johannesburg, South Africa, it says on the CBP website. The traveler did not know how the insect managed to wiggle its way into the bag, but were relieved not to bring it home to South Carolina, WLTX reported.
The CBP measured the millipede at about six inches, which would have been quite a shock for anyone trying to unpack after a long trip. Luckily, Regal the Beagle was on the job.
“CBP is on the frontline 24/7, searching for anything entering our country that could potentially harm our citizens. Our beagle sniffing out this millipede highlights how valuable our canine members are to protecting the U.S.,” said Carey Davis, Atlanta CBP Area Port Director on the CBP website.
The millipede is just one of many prohibited animals attempting to pass through U.S. Customs. According to the CBP, the organization “[intercepts] 4,638 prohibited meat, plant materials or animal products, including 352 agriculture pests and diseases,” on a “typical day” around the country.
According to the San Diego Zoo website, the African millipede is not a predatory creature. Instead, it’s a “gentle giant” that will coil up and secrete a bad smelling fluid to ward off any threats. However, the sight of the millipede can be fairly frightful for some, since the shiny, black insect can grow to about a foot long and have 300 to 400 legs.
For any insect lovers out there, the millipede is still safe, despite being caught red-handed (or 400 red-handed). CBP Agriculture Specialists are attempting to find it a home, possibly with “a local insectarium,” the Charlotte Observer reported.
The TSA and CBP intercept a number of strange “hitchhikers,” including roasted pig’s heads, birds stowed in hair rollers and even massive lobsters.