The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) keeps track of the things that they confiscate, though, and among the nail files, water bottles, and cosmetics there are a few contraband items that really stand out.
Birds. According to the TSA, agents in Los Angeles discovered two birds wrapped in socks and taped to the leg and chest of a woman who was en route to China. The birds were found during "a pat-down that was being administered due to bulky clothing," the TSA reported on its blog.
A science project. A college student's metal-and-wire science project prompted agents to shut down an checkpoint in Omaha after they saw it on the X-ray monitor.
Knives and swords. Not just a plastic picnic knife or a Swiss Army knife, mind you, but tree saws, a 14-inch sword hidden in a cane, a brass-knuckle knife, and even a "non-metallic martial arts weapon" called a Tactile Spike, which agents found stashed in a passenger's sock -- while he was wearing it. One passenger was carrying two sharp throwing knives in a hollowed-out book. The title? "Ninja: The Shadow Warrior." Of course.
Snakes and turtles. In August, TSA agents in Miami caught a man with seven -- that's right, seven -- snakes hidden in his pants. He was not happy to see them. The reptiles were coiled up and stashed inside pantyhose that the man had tucked into his trousers along with three small turtles; agents found them using "imaging technology" (yup, one of those full-body scanner things).
Grenades and land mines. Both inert, the TSA reports, but still... if a bottle of shampoo isn't OK, why would anyone assume that a grenade would be?
Guns and ammunition. Passengers are actually allowed to carry firearms as long as they're in their checked luggage and have been declared to the airline. But here's a list of the things that TSA agents found in a single carry-on bag in Wichita, Kansas, recently: "A tree saw with a 13-inch blade, a pocketknife with a 3-inch blade, two throwing knives with 8-inch blades, eleven individual 30-06 rifle rounds, one 12-gauge shotgun slug, five count of buckshot, and five boxes, each containing 25 rounds of 12-gauge shotgun shells and a partridge in a pear tree." All in all, TSA agents confiscated 1,200 guns in airports throughout the US in 2011.
This little smartphone is actually a stun gun.
A stun-gun disguised as a bright pink smart phone. "Law enforcement authorities responded to the incident and allowed the passenger to continue on her flight, after surrendering the item to TSA," according to the TSA's blog.
C4 explosives. A soldier flying out of Arizona thought it would be cool to bring a few small chunks of C4 explosives home to show his family. We would suggest an alternative souvenir next time.
240 (or so) live fish. According to the TSA, "The passenger didn't have a little baggie with a goldfish in it, they had 4 large hard-sided suitcases each filled with only fish and water."
Oddly not on the list: The red-velvet cupcake that TSA agents in Las Vegas confiscated just before Christmas, when a woman tried to bring the snack on the plane. The cupcake had been baked inside a glass jar and, according to Rebecca Haines, the TSA agent who stopped her said that the treat's vanilla-bourbon frosting was "a gel-like substance" and, therefore, forbidden.
"We also had a small pile of hummus sandwiches with creamy fillings, which made it through, but the cupcake with its frosting was apparently a terrorist threat," she told ABC News. When she left Boston, TSA agents at Logan Airport let her go through security with two of the treats, saying that they "looked delicious and told us to have a great trip," she said. "But in Las Vegas, they were dangerous. They shouldn't be delicious in one part of the country and a security threat in the other."
Category: Anything bizarre