Bringing home a souvenir is one thing, but one couple nearly brought back something that no-one would want to remember their trip by: a six-inch African millipede! People have been known to bring all kinds of things back from vacation - and whether you are a fan of just collecting great photos and memories, or of collecting every kind of knick-knack you can, there's always something to come home with.
However, there are some limitations on what can be brought home from holiday, especially when it comes to those things that could actually post a health or safety risk. Some dangerous items are obvious (like weapons), but others (like food and animal products) are the kinds of things that some travelers don't realize could post problems if brought home. Of course, it's unlikely that this couple was actively trying to come home with a bug on board... and everyone involved was happy when an airport Beagle managed to catch the millipede before it followed the couple all the way home!
The millipede was found at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in December, when an airport beagle named Regal alerted staff to the checked suitcase at baggage claim. When the case was opened, they discovered that a nearly 6 inch long live African Millipede had hitched a ride from Johannesburg, South Africa. Carey Davis Atlanta CBP Area Port Director says that this kind of incident shows how important these canine workers are to airport security:
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.
The couple had no idea that they had made a new insect-friend on their trip, and were more than happy when the CBD handed the millipede over to the U.S. Departure of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, who will be finding the critter a new home in an insectarium.
African millipedes are not poisonous, but that doesn't mean that this would be something that we would like to bring home from vacation with us! As well as being a great example of why canine security is still important in airports, even with scanners and x-rays available to help with security, this is a great reminder to everyone to carefully check your luggage when packing to come home... you never know what might have slipped on board for the trip!
Source: US Customs And Border Protection