50 Crazy Interesting Facts We’d Bet You Never Knew
Even rainbows are harboring a few fascinating secrets!
Every day, there’s a possibility that you’ll learn something new. Maybe you’re reading the newspaper and an interesting statistic jumps out at you. Or you’re at dinner and your kid stuns you with an awesome piece of trivia they learned in school. However it happens, these moments drive our curiosity and keep our minds fresh. Plus, knowing a cool fact or two makes great fodder for conversation.
To make sure you learn something new today, we’ve rounded up the crazy interesting facts you’re guaranteed to enjoy. From which modern-day currency is the oldest one in the world to how many inches a piece of bamboo can grow in a day, at least a few of these tidbits are sure to pique your interest.
Costco sells enough toilet paper each year to wrap around the world 1,200 times.
Every Costco lover knows that the big-box retailer is the ideal place to load up on everything from dog food and paper towels to margarita mix and wine. But can you guess which item CNBC dubbed the store’s “crown jewel”? It’s toilet paper. According to the outlet, Costco sells about one billion rolls of the stuff a year. That’s enough to wrap around the planet 1,200 times!
A man set a world record by visiting an average of two bars every day for 55 years.
The U.K.’s Bruce Masters apparently likes to enjoy a pint or two. In fact, he enjoys it so much that he’s set a Guinness World Record for the most pubs ever visited by a single person. Between 1960 and 2014, Masters spent time in 46,495 different drinking establishments. Cheers!
The tiniest snail ever discovered could fit through a needle’s eye 10 times.
Snails are known for their impressive shells and slimy trails, but the Angustopila dominikae snail has also made headlines for being incredibly small. Discovered in 2014, these itty-bitty creatures are just 0.03 inches (or 0.86 millimeters) tall. That means that 10 of them could fit in the eye of a needle at one time.
The British pound is the oldest currency in the world that is still being used.
If you visit Britain and fork over some cash, then you should know that you’re paying with the oldest still-in-use currency in the world. According to the World Economic Forum, the pound goes back more than 1,200 years to 775 AD. Back then, one unit of the currency was equivalent to a one-pound weight of silver. By the year 928, one pound could buy a person 15 cows.
You have a one in 1,461 chance of being born on leap day.
Are you a leap day baby? We’d put our money on no. Due to the fact that February 29 only comes around once every four years, having this birthday is incredibly rare. In fact, a person has just a one in 1,461 chance of being born then. According to the BBC, that’s because four years is 1,460 days and adding one day for the leap year is 1,461.
Kangaroo words are words that contain their own synonyms.
A kangaroo word sounds like something that’s spoken in a marsupial language, but it’s actually a word that happens to contain its own synonym, with the letters to spell it in the correct order. According to Dictionary.com, examples include the words “chocolate” (which includes the synonym “cocoa”), “masculine” (“male”), “blossoms” (“bloom”), “chicken” (“hen”), “rambunctious” (“raucous”), and “deceased” (“dead”).
Your blood makes up about eight percent of your body weight.
The human body contains everything from muscles and bones to organs and bacteria. But when it comes to your overall weight, you’d be silly not to consider your blood. Turns out, it makes up around eight percent of the number you see on the scale, according to National Geographic.
A growlery is a place where you go to be alone when you’re cranky.
Are you having a bad day? Then you might need to visit a growlery. This term was first used by author Charles Dickens in his 1853 novel Bleak House to refer to a place where you go to be alone when you’re not feeling particularly chipper. According to the National Park Service, Frederick Douglass had his own growlery outside of his home at Cedar Hill in Washington, D.C. The stone cabin contained a single room with a fireplace, desk, stool, and couch.
David Bowie released an internet provider called BowieNet.
David Bowie was a legendary songwriter, an iconic performer, and an entertainment giant. That’s why it’s bizarre to learn that in the late 1990s, he launched an internet provider. Appropriately called BowieNet, the service remained available until the early 2000s. For $19.95 a month, users would receive an email address (email@example.com), 5MB of online storage meant for a personal web page, exclusive audio and video of Bowie, access to chat rooms (where Bowie would supposedly pop up on occasion), and even multiplayer games.
The longest one-syllable words in the English language all start with the letter “s.”
A monosyllabic word is simply a word with just one syllable. And while there are plenty of monosyllabic words out there, the longest ones all happen to start with an “s,” according to Guinness World Records. At 10 letters, “scraunched” and “strengthed” are the longest monosyllabic words. “Screeched,” “scrounged,” “squelched,” “straights,” and “strengths” come in second place with nine letters.
Bamboo grows so fast it’s measured in miles per hour.
Along with being impressively strong and relatively flexible, bamboo is an attractive plant that can be grown as a decorative touch or as a crop to be used in a variety of practical ways. And that’s good, since bamboo is a fabulously renewable resource. In fact, it’s the fastest growing plant on the planet, capable of shooting up 35 inches each day at a rate of 0.00002 miles per hour, according to Guinness World Records.
A cross between a narwhal and beluga whale is called a narluga.
Back in 1990, researchers found a strange skull displayed on the roof of a hunter’s house in western Greenland. And while they knew the bony bit belonged to a whale, they weren’t sure what kind of whale it was. Almost 30 years later, scientists have determined that the unusual creature was a cross between a narwhal and a beluga, which they’ve deemed a narluga.
Ancient Greeks and Romans didn’t have a number for zero.
If you learned Roman numerals in school, then you might’ve realized you were never taught the number for zero—and that’s because there isn’t one. While the ancient Romans (and Greeks) were fully aware of the concept of having nothing, they skipped over zero when it came to numbers. In fact, Aristotle himself is said to have dismissed the number because you couldn’t divide by it and get a reasonable answer, according to the BBC.
The word “vegetable” doesn’t have any botanical or scientific value.
Professional chefs and home cooks may use the word “vegetable” to describe everything from asparagus and broccoli to yams and zucchini. But it turns out the term has no scientific value. When the BBC asked botanist Wolfgang Stuppy of the Royal Botanic Gardens if vegetables really exist, he answered, “No, not botanically … the term vegetable doesn’t exist in botanical terminology.”
The International Space Station is hosting an experiment that’s all about cookies.
Astronauts notoriously have to nosh on space-safe versions of the foods we eat on Earth. However, in fall 2019, the International Space Station has plans to test out a space oven that will allow those aboard to bake cookies (seriously: this dreamy device is specifically designed for the sugary treats).
According to Scientific American, “When scientists investigated the potential psychological effects of long-term missions and deep-space travel, they found things would be more bearable if astronauts have access to a good variety of foods that smell and taste a little bit more like home.” What’s more, former astronaut Mike Massimino explained that preparing food boosts morale by adding “a sense of normalcy” to astronauts’ time away from Earth. Yep, even astronauts love the smell of fresh-baked cookies.
Caesar salad was invented in Mexico by an Italian-American man named Caesar.
Caesar salad sounds like an item that originated in Rome and was inspired by Julius Caesar. But the truth is that it was named after the man who invented it in 1924—Italian-American restaurateur Caesar Cardini—not its place of origin, which was Tijuana, Mexico. According to Food & Wine, Cardini moved to the city (which is close to the California border) to escape the confines of prohibition. He developed the simple salad during the Fourth of July rush in 1924.
It takes 1.71 days for a human to discharge a LEGO through his or her body.
Anyone who’s been around LEGOs knows that they’re incredibly painful to step on. But have you ever wondered what happens when you swallow one? In one 2018 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, six volunteers decided to find out by ingesting a LEGO figurine head (a piece that is much rounder and presumably easier on the digestive system than a rectangular one). They determined that it takes an average of 1.71 days to pass through the human body.
Canada has more coastline than the four countries with the next-longest coastlines combined.
Canada is the second largest country in the world by total area. And while many of the nation’s provinces are far from the beach, the country has the longest coastline in the world, totaling 125,566 miles. That’s longer than the four countries with the next-longest coastlines combined. Those countries are Norway (36,122 miles), Indonesia (34,001 miles), Greenland (27,394 miles), and Russia (23,396 miles). It would take approximately 4.75 years to walk the entire length of the Canadian coastline, considering you’re walking at a pace of one mile every 20 minutes.
There are Bonsai trees that produce oranges.
Bonsai trees are famous for their compact beauty, growing in shapely ways that artists and hobbyists take great care to nurture and tend. However, it’s less well-known that there are Bonsai trees that actually produce oranges. What’s more, they’re totally edible!
Nomophobia is the fear of not having a mobile phone.
People are increasingly reliant on their devices these days, but for some, this attachment can develop into a serious issue. Those suffering from nomophobia—an abbreviation of “no-mobile-phone phobia”—have a fear of not having a mobile phone with them and get equally freaked out when their phone’s battery dies or there’s no network coverage available. One 2019 study by U.K. firm YouGov found that 34 percent of men and 52 percent of women currently deal with some form of the condition.
Ladybugs defend themselves by bleeding from their knees.
Ladybugs are seemingly sweet little creatures, but they also have a rather nasty way of defending themselves. When threatened, they release a foul-smelling chemical from their knees that has the ability to repulse predators. The substance, which is hemolymph made up of a mix of alkaloids, can also ooze from their abdomens.
Fortunately, they’ve got another defense mechanism, too: their color. According to the San Diego Zoo, “predators learn that color combinations of bright oranges, reds, and blacks can mean an unappetizing taste, and they avoid eating the ladybugs.”
The island in Lake Bled is the only natural island in Slovenia.
If you want to enjoy island life in Slovenia, there’s only one place you can go: Lake Bled. The teardrop-shaped island is the only naturally occurring one in the entire European country. Not even a full acre in size, it’s home to a few buildings and beautiful greenery, but obviously not much else.
No single person knows how to open the entire vault at Fort Knox.
Kentucky’s Fort Knox is one of the most secure places in the country, due to the fact that it’s home to more than 5,000 tons of gold bullion, according to the U.S. Mint. During World War II, it even stored the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. And so obviously, there are strict precautions when it comes to information and access. For instance, there are very few people who are aware of the actual structure of the facility and there’s not one single person who knows all of the procedures to open the vault.
“The Last Supper” originally showed Jesus’ feet, but they were cut off to make a doorway.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the last supper is one of the most famous works of art in the world. It also used to include the central figure’s feet, but they were cut off when a door was installed in the wall beneath the fresco back in 1652. Some paint and plaster were also loosened by the work, leading to restorations that attempted to fix the piece. Obviously, the project didn’t involve reattaching Jesus’ feet.
The oldest known lineage in North America goes back 55 generations.
DNA kits are making it easier than ever to trace where our family might have come from. But in 2019, one person’s results turned up something incredible. When a Montana man named Darrell “Dusty” Crawford of the Blackfeet Nation took a home DNA test, he learned that his lineage could be traced back 55 generations (more than 17,000 years!). The results also had a 99 percent accuracy rate—something that is not always the case, even with tests from this particular brand. According to the company, ancestries are often much murkier that far back.
The U.S. went from having two species of parrots to having more than 50.
If you have a pet bird, be sure to keep an eye on it, especially if it’s a parrot. Although the contiguous United States used to only have two parrot species, the Carolina Parakeet and the Thick-billed Parrot, there are now 56 different parrot species in the wilderness of 43 states. Twenty-five of those species have been breeding in 23 states, according to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Ornithology.
“Many of them were escaped pets, or their owners released them because they couldn’t train them or they made too much noise—all the reasons people let pets go,” said researcher Stephen Pruett-Jones to Science Daily. “But many of these species are perfectly happy living here and they’ve established populations. Wild parrots are here to stay.”
Alice in Wonderland syndrome is a condition that makes people feel larger or smaller than they actually are.
Anyone who knows the story of Alice in Wonderland is aware of the seemingly magical moments when she both shrinks and grows in size. And while those who are afflicted by the rare Alice in Wonderland syndrome don’t actually shape-shift, they do have temporary episodes which make them feel larger or smaller. The spans of distorted perception can also make it seem like things around them are moving further or closer away.
Hippos are only territorial when they’re in the water.
Hippos (or hippopotamuses and hippopotami, if you want to be fancy) may look like adorable animals. But the truth is they can be rather fierce—deadly, even—especially when it comes to defending their home turf, or rather, their home river. That’s because these mammals are only territorial when they’re in the water, according to National Geographic. Here’s to hoping you only encounter one on land!
The melting snow and ice on Japan’s “Dragon Eye” pond create the illusion of a giant eye.
Near the summit of Mount Hachimantai, Kagami Pond provides a wondrous sight from the end of May and the beginning of June. When the snow and ice begin to melt on the surface of the water, it creates a shape that looks like a giant dragon’s eye.
Shakespeare may have worn a gold hoop earring as a sign of his bohemian ways.
These days, William Shakespeare is most famous for his plays and poems, but back in his time, he also had a signature sense of style. In a portrait attributed to the artist John Taylor, Shakespeare can be seen with a full beard, casually loosened shirt-ties, and a gold hoop hanging from his left ear. That gold hoop may have been more than just a spiffy fashion choice. He may have chosen the accessory to signal to others that he was a bohemian who lived a life filled with creativity instead of conformity. Viva la vie Boheme!
Neanderthals may have trapped golden eagles 130,000 years ago.
We tend to think of Neanderthals as simple cave-dwellers who didn’t have many skills beyond making basic tools and hunting down massive mammals (although that is pretty impressive). However, according to research published in 2019, our ancient predecessors may have learned to trap golden eagles as many as 130,000 years ago.
Cruise ships have their own morgues.
When you take a cruise, you might be focused on the sunshine and the seawater. But those who run the ship have to consider the practical side of being out on the ocean for days at a time, and that includes what happens when someone passes away onboard. In order to deal with this unfortunate reality, most cruise ships have their own morgue that can accommodate multiple bodies.
Miss Piggy was originally named Piggy Lee.
Miss Piggy has been a fan favorite ever since she made her debut on The Muppet Show back in 1976. But it turns out that before she was introduced to the world, she went by another name. According to Time, in 2014, a 40-year-old note and a pair of photos from the character’s creator Jim Henson showed her name was initially “Piggy Lee.” And although we know that she famously fell for Kermit the Frog, in the photos she’s seen with a character named Hamilton Pigg.
Americans spend an estimated $9 billion on Halloween.
If you like to go all out when Halloween rolls around—maybe you elaborate on spooky decorations, creepy costumes, candy, and parties—then you’re definitely not alone. According to Forbes, holiday-loving Americans spent around $9 billion on Halloween in 2018 alone.
The first motel opened in 1925 and charged $1.25 for a luxury bungalow with a garage.
While today’s motels are notoriously bare bones, the first such establishment was a luxurious spot for motorists to take a break from their long journeys. The Milestone Mo-Tel Inn (Mo-Tel was shortened from “motor hotel”) opened back in 1925 and charged just $1.25 (what would be around $17 today) for a bungalow that included showers, central heating, a garage, and even rooms for chauffeurs if needed. And for the secrets hotels don’t want you to know, read up on the 20 Shocking Facts About Your Hotel Room.
There’s an entire holiday dedicated to what would happen if cats and dogs had opposable thumbs.
Have you ever wondered what your pet would be capable of if they had more practical paws? You can spend 24 hours thinking about just that on March 3, which is “What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Days.” Days of the Year asks you to “imagine a world where our favorite furry companions had thumbs. Opposable ones. Thumbs that allowed them to open their own tins of food, easily steal your possessions, and generally make them more trouble than they already are. What kind of world would that be?” And for more important cat trivia, check out the 20 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About Your Cat.
The world’s smallest McDonald’s was designed for bees.
Unfortunately for hungry humans, there are no Big Macs or McNuggets available at the smallest McDonald’s restaurant in the world. Fortunately for bees, though, there is plenty of honey. The mini eating establishment was built in Sweden as part of the company’s efforts to help restore the bee population. The hive—or rather, McHive—can not only house thousands of bees, but is also shaped just like a smaller version of the fast food joint, including a tiny version of the iconic golden arches.
The longest feather boa ever was nearly four times the length of the Empire State building.
Feather boas are usually long enough to wrap around a person’s shoulders. But during 2019’s Pride celebration, Madame Tussauds New York and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Times Square set a Guinness World Record for the longest feather boa, which stretched a stunning 1.2 miles. Drag queen Shangela of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and A Star Is Born emceed the unveiling event. At that length, the boa is nearly four times the length of the Empire State building.
Hyenas may have lived in the Arctic during the last Ice Age.
Today, hyenas only live in Africa. However, that might not always have been the case. North of the Arctic Circle, the Yukon’s Old Crow River region has turned up plenty of Ice Age fossils belonging to woolly mammoths, bison, horses, and even lions. And now, paleontologists have confirmed that two hyena teeth were found in the area; they estimate they’re between 1.4 million and 850,000 years old. “To me, it is absolutely remarkable that they lived that far north,” researcher Grant Zazula told IFLScience.
When there’s a double rainbow, the second rainbow mirrors the primary rainbow.
It’s always exciting to spot a rainbow—but it’s even more thrilling to spot a double rainbow. Frankly, you may have been so captivated by the stunning occurrence that you failed to notice a wonderfully delightful detail: When there’s a double rainbow, the second arch will display its colors in the opposite order of the primary rainbow.
Figs aren’t considered vegan because they have dead wasps inside.
Anyone who sticks to a strictly plant-based diet will want to remove figs from their menu. While the figs themselves are fruit, they often include bugs. Vegan Life explains that a female “wasp will enter the fig, passing into a part of the plant known as the calimyrna” while trying to lay her eggs. “Eventually, she dies … and is broken down by a protein-digesting enzyme inside the fig.”
Your brain uses up around 20 percent of your body’s blood and oxygen.
The human brain is responsible for countless tasks and is always busy keeping our internal systems running. And in order to remain so vitally productive, the brain uses 20 percent of both the oxygen and the blood in your body.
Ravens’ moods are affected by others.
It’s a well-known fact that ravens are wildly intelligent creatures. But 2019 research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discovered that the birds are also very in tune with the feelings of the creatures around them. This empathetic trait had previously only been observed in primates.
Giraffes hum to each other at night to make sure their heard stays together.
If you’re not already completely charmed by giraffes’ incredibly long necks and stylish spots, then there’s another sweet fact about the super tall creatures that might win you over. Although scientists had previously believed that the animals were either completely silent or made noises that humans were unable to hear, they recently learned that giraffes can hum—and humans can hear it, too.
In 2015, researchers from the University of Vienna gathered 947 hours of giraffe noises over an eight-year period at three zoos and discovered that the animals produced a humming sound at night. They hypothesize that the animals do this to help keep their heard together when their vision is impaired in the low light. And for more adorable animal antics, check out 23 Photos of Animals in Love That Will Make You Literally Melt.
Pluto might have a liquid ocean under its icy surface.
Since it’s so far away from the sun, it shouldn’t surprise you to find out that the surface of Pluto is believed to be mostly covered in ice. But stunningly, even after billions of years in the frigid cold, there may still be a liquid ocean beneath that icy sheet. According to one 2019 study published in the journal Natural Geoscience, the ocean is capped and insulated by gas hydrates that might have prevented the entire thing from freezing over.
Things might smell differently to different people.
A rose by any other name may be as sweet, according to William Shakespeare, but a rose may not smell the same to you as it does to other people. According to one 2019 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, differences in humans’ genetic codes might mean that things smell differently to different people.
We are only born with two innate fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noise.
While it might seem like you’ve been afraid of snakes and spiders since you were born, that’s not totally true. According to CNN, scientists have found that humans have just two innate fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud sounds. The rest of your phobias are learned over time.
More people drown in fresh water than in salt water.
Drowning is both sad and scary no matter how it happens. But the fact is that the vast majority of drownings occur in fresh water. According to ThoughtCo, a staggering 90 percent take place in swimming pools, bathtubs, and rivers, not only because of circumstances but also because of the way the different types of water affect a human’s body when they’re in the potentially fatal situation.
You typically only breathe out of one nostril at a time.
You might think that your nostrils share the workload when it comes to taking in oxygen. And while they do, it’s not quite in the way that you might expect. Instead of both taking in the same amount of air through each nostril when you breathe, you actually inhale most of your oxygen through one nostril at a time. Every few hours, the active nostril will take a break and the other one will take over until the ultimately switch back again.
Peter Rabbit author Beatrix Potter kept a coded journal as a teen.
Despite the fact that Beatrix Potter lived from 1866 to 1943, her books are still beloved among children and adults alike. And while fans may know a few quirky facts about the author, they might not know this strange tidbit. Throughout her teenage years, the lifelong writer kept a journal—but jotted everything down in a secret code (presumably to hide it from her mother).
In one letter to her cousin, Potter admitted, “When I was young I already had the itch to write, without having any material to write about. I used to write long-winded descriptions, hymns (!) and records of conversations in a kind of cipher shorthand.” It took Leslie Linder, a fan of Potter’s writing, 13 years after her death to translate the writer’s musings. In 1966, she published them in a book called The Journal of Beatrix Potter. And for more interesting trivia about history’s greatest writers, you’ll want to learn The Surprising Literary Origin of the Knock-Knock Joke.
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