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Beseiged Bavarian village preps anti-millipede defences

Foot-high wall to hold back invading hordes

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The Bavarian village of Obereichstaett is constructing a foot-high wall around the entire hamlet to prevent the entry of thousands of millipedes which have each autumn "for hundreds of years" invaded the sleepy corner of Germany.

Bernhard Koderer, 45, who lives in Obereichstaett with his wife and two kids, said: "Last year was the worst so far. The road to my house was completely covered. You couldn't take a step without crushing a dozen underfoot. The smell was disgusting."

Mayor Hans Harrer added: "We have tried a complete blackout on street lamps in the autumn. But switching them off was not the solution."

Neither was poison, according to a zoological SWAT team which investigated, due to the sheer quantity required. Instead, they suggested a "a metal-lined wall with an overhanging lip". It seems to have done the trick, since "the creatures can instead be seen in their thousands crawling around the wall every night", as the Telegraph puts it.

Where the millipedes come from zoologists are unable to say, but they've been making their annual pilgrimage for yonks. Back in 1900, they brought the local rail network to a standstill by invading the tracks, thereby preventing trains' wheels from gripping*. ®

Bootnote

*Yes, we know - the UK's rail operators can add that one to their roster of outrageous excuses for delays: "10.30 to Waterloo currently running 40 minutes late due to a mass millipede incident at Burgess Hill", "14.05 service to Bridgend delayed by wrong kind of invertebrates on the line", and so forth.

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