Weird facts are always amusing, especially when these truths seem so illogical! The weird-but-true always make fantastic ice breakers, can work your brain, and might even make you better prepared for your next game night.
If you're looking for some interesting trivia, get ready to have your mind blown!
Thundersnow and Firenadoes are Real
Normally, thunder and lightning accompany rain, but in rare cases, when there's enough instability in the atmosphere and the right amount of lift, these atmospheric phenomena can occur when it is snowing, hence the term 'thundersnow'.
Similarly, when the conditions are right during a wildfire, a "spinning vortex column of ascending hot air and gases rising from a fire" can form. This is officially called a 'fire whirl', but many folks refer to this phenomenon as a "firenado".
While it's not actually a tornado - which is defined as a descending spinning vortex column of air that stretches from the storm cloud to the ground - a fire whirl can produce wind speeds in the EF3 range (136 - 165 MPH), just like you would see in a big tornado event.
A Group of Crows Is Called a Murder
We've probably all heard of a pod of whales and a swarm of bees, but did you know that a group of crows is called a murder?
Want more weird animal facts? Other interesting animal group names include:
- A wisdom of wombats
- A horde of gerbils
- A Parliament of owls
- An unkindness of ravens
- A caravan of camels
- A stench of skunks
Sea Urchin Roe Used to Have a Rude Nickname
Referred to as uni in most high-end sushi restaurants, many consider sea urchin eggs a delicacy. However, lobstermen of the past used to refer to these spiky sea creatures as 'whore's eggs.'
The World's Fastest Growing Plant Is Bamboo
Bamboo is such an amazing resource, and it's available at a rapid rate. Some species of this plant can grow a whopping 36 inches in a single day! That is 1.5 inches per hour.
When you consider that a 'fast-growing tree' will reach its full height in 10-15 years, this is a very impressive weird fact!
Babies Have No Kneecaps
Yes, that's right. Babies are born with a whopping 300 bones that will slowly fuse together over the first few decades of their life. Yet, they are missing a bone that is essential for their knee to function properly. Thankfully, the patella will begin to form when a child is as young as two years old!
The World's Deadliest Creature Is a Mosquito
The world is filled with terrifying creatures - great white sharks, saltwater crocodiles, venomous snakes, hippos, lions, and scorpions. Yet, the most deadly creature on earth is the mosquito. These little vampires are responsible for over one million deaths every year.
When comparing species, no other animal even comes close.
- Venomous snakes: Over 100,000 deaths per year
- Scorpions: 3,300 deaths per year
- Hippos: Up to 3,000 deaths per year
- Saltwater crocodiles: 1,000 deaths per year
- Lions: 200 deaths per year
Ironically, the monsters of the deep that are the star killers in most ocean-themed movies are the lowest on this list. In 2022, there were only 57 unprovoked shark attack cases worldwide.
Sloths Can Hold Their Breath Longer Than a Dolphin and a Penguin
Another weird but fun fact you may not know is about sloths. Sloths can only move a mere 41 yards in a day, but they make up for their sluggish nature with their breath control.
It may surprise you, but these slow-moving creatures can remain submerged underwater for an impressive 40 minutes. In contrast, penguins can only stay under for 27 minutes and dolphins can only make it for 20 minutes.
You Can't Actually Smell Rain
That fresh, earthy scent that always precedes a rainstorm after a long dry period is not actually the scent of rain. Coined 'petrichor' in 1964, this smell is the combination of water with "certain compounds like ozone, geosmin, and plant oils."
When rain hits surfaces that contain these compounds, aerosols form. The wind picks them up and carries them to nearby regions. This is how you smell this signature scent!
Antarctica Is Classified as a Desert
So weird, but so true... You might find it hard to believe, but the coldest place on Earth is also one of the driest. The average precipitation for Antarctica is less than two inches per year and the relative humidity can get down to less than half of a percent! While pictures make us believe that this continent is covered in snow, the white surface is actually sheets of ice that have been there for millions of years.
Pregnancy Drastically Changes a Woman's Brain
Recent research shows that the gray matter in a woman's brain shrinks when she becomes pregnant. This natural change occurs so that a mother can better interpret her child's facial expressions and cries. However, this boost in social cognition skills comes at a cost. The part of the brain responsible for her memory is one region that becomes reduced.
What this means it that a mother's intuition and pregnancy brain are real phenomenons!
Pigs Can't Sweat, Despite What Common Expressions May Have You Believe
Another weird, fun fact: turns out that the phrase "sweating like a pig" is a boldfaced lie! Pigs don't actually possess sweat glands, which is why one of their favorite resting spots is a cool mud puddle.
Flamingos Have to Eat Upside Down
Flamingos are filter feeders. This means that they scoop up their food and push the water back out. However, because of the structure of their mouths, they must do this with their heads facing upside down!
Wombat Poop Comes in the Shape of a Cube
You read that right. There is only one animal that poops out cubes and it's the bare-nosed wombat! Because of the unique structure of their gut, which features both soft and stiff sections, their poop forms into square shapes.
Most interestingly, scientists believe that these little creatures have this weird trait to help them better mark their territory. Since they are climbers, the square shape of their turds prevents them from rolling away.
Viagra Can Keep Your Flowers Fresh
Don't let your bloom wilt too soon! If you want to keep your flowers perky, it turns out that Viagra is the surprising solution. Scientists have found that by dissolving this little blue pill in a vase of water, you can "double the shelf life of cut flowers, making them stand up straight for as long as a week beyond their natural life span."
Using a Big Fork Can Help You Eat Less
It turns out that if you're looking to lose weight, you may just need to adjust the utensil you use to eat your food! Researchers have found that folks who follow proper etiquette and use their dinner fork (the one with the large tines) actually eat less throughout their meal.
The logic behind this conclusion is that when a diner thinks they have made a dent in their meal, they feel satisfied sooner. This leads them to eat less throughout the meal, giving their body time to catch up to this conclusion.
New Parents Lose Almost 40,000 Minutes of Sleep in Their First Year
When in the Air, Your Ability to Taste Salt and Sugar Decreases by 30%
Ever wonder why your in-flight meal seems a bit lack luster? Or why those peanuts and pretzels seem to taste so good in the air, but maybe a bit overwhelming on the ground? It turns out that at 30,000 feet and higher, the combination of lower air pressure and the lack of humidity messes with your sense of smell and taste.
More specifically, your perception of sugary sweetness drops by up to 20%. Salty foods experience even more of a loss of up to 30 percent. However, researchers also found that while salty and sweet foods lose their edge, spicy and acidic foods remained unaffected.
People With Blue Eyes Have a Higher Alcohol Tolerance
That's right. If you have yourself a set of baby blues, you can likely hold your liquor better than your brown-eyed peers. Experts theorize that this is because of a lack of melanin in your body.
A higher amount of this pigment actually speeds up the alcohol's transit from the belly to the brain, making those folks with darker eyes and skin more likely to feel the effects of their spirits sooner.
Surprisingly, this lack of pigment in the eyes, hair, and skin also makes fair-haired men and maidens better equipped to handle pain.
You're Going to Remember These Weird Facts
Ever wonder why weird facts seem to stick in your brain? It turns out it is simply because you find them interesting!
Research shows that when a person is intrigued by a topic, they are more likely to remember the facts that were shared. This is what makes weird but true facts so wonderful! No matter where your interests may lie, their absurdity tends to spark people's interest.