There are so many facts out there that it can be hard to winnow down the ones that might pique people’s interest the most. That said, facts are kind of our business, so we feel pretty confident that these 16 facts will not only keep your interest, but they just might be new to you, too!
16. There’s only one letter that doesn’t appear in the name of a U.S. state.
15. Scotland has 421 different words that mean “snow.”
Some examples are sneesl (to start snowing), feefle (swirling snow), and flinkdrinkin (light snow).
14. Armadillo shells are bulletproof.
A Texas man was once hospitalized when he tried to shoot an armadillo and ended up with a ricochet bullet wound in his jaw. Genius.
They are not, as you probably know, strong enough to withstand a hit from a car on a highway.
13. A female octopus lays 56,000 eggs at a time.
She spends 6 months protecting the eggs (that she doesn’t eat) and watching babies the size of a grain of rice eventually hatch.
12. Cats have fewer toes on their back paws.
They have 5 toes on the front but only 4 on the back paws, which scientists might help them run faster.
11. McDonald’s once made bubblegum-flavored broccoli.
And if you’re thinking “Why?” well, you’re not alone – the attempt to get kids to eat healthier failed before it made it to restaurants because the children who tested it were “confused” by the taste.
Shocker, I know.
10. A cow-bison hybrid is called a “beefalo.”
You can see what it tastes like (I’m guessing steak) in 21 states.
9. Chicago isn’t called “The Windy City” because of its weather.
The nickname was coined by journalists in the 19th century who believed the city’s residents were “windbags,” or “full of hot air.”
8. Firefighters make their water wetter.
The chemicals they put into regular water reduces the surface tension, making it easier both to spray and to soak into burning objects. It’s actually known as “wet water.”
7. Kleenexes were originally developed as gas mask filters.
There was a cotton shortage during WWI, so Kimberly-Clark developed a thin, flat cotton substitute that the army bought to use as filters in gas masks. The war ended before the model was perfected, and the cotton substitute was redeveloped into a smoother, softer tissue for blowing noses.
6. Some fungi create zombies to use for their own purposes.
Sort of like how a dark voodoo priest can create a zombie to do his bidding, the tropical fungus Ophiocordyceps takes over an animal’s central nervous system, and, after a little more than a week, it is completely in charge of its hosts movements.
5. Johnny Appleseed had big plans for his trees.
And it wasn’t eating the apples, either – he planted varieties that were good for making cider (the hard kind).
My sort of guy.
4. Peanuts aren’t nuts.
As anyone with an allergy that crosses over to things like soy or peas and not other nuts can tell you, peanuts are actually legumes.
3. Neither are walnuts, almonds, cashews, or pistachios.
Nuts are “a hard-shelled dry fruit or seed with a separable rind or shell and interior kernel.”
2. Blue whales eat around half a million calories in one bite.
A single swallow of krill contains about 457,000 calories – if you’re a blue whale.
1. Oranges weren’t originally orange.
They were tangerine-pomelo hybrids from Southeast Asia, and were green – Asian oranges that grow in warmer regions like Vietnam and Thailand still remain green through maturity.
Did you lean a thing or two? Are you going to pass a few on to your friends (that’s the hallmark of a great fact, you know!).
Tell us which ones were your favorites in the comments!