Have you ever been surprised when a statistic that seems false turns out to be 100% factual? What is a fact or statistic that seems fake but is real? Sometimes the most ridiculous “fun fact” is actually the most accurate.
1. Maine is the Closest State to Africa
The closest state to the continent of Africa is Maine. Geographically, El Beddouza, an island in Morocco, is only 3,154 miles from the Quoddy Head Peninsula in Maine. For some perspective, a transcontinental trip across the U.S. from Miami to Seattle is 3,300 miles.
2. Billionaires Have Endless Wealth
The third-richest person in the world is Jeff Bezos, who has $169 billion and private assets, but a shocking statistic is that if you collected $100,000 every day since your birth, you still wouldn't come close to his fortune. I calculated the equation, and I'd have significantly less money than Bezos.
3. Wombats Go Number Two a Lot
In sixth grade, my English teacher fostered an unhealthy obsession with wombats. Every example she provided dealt with a wombat in some form. This Australian marsupial produces square excrement, unlike any other animal. Each wombat can release up to 100 cubes per day.
4. Fingernails and Continents Move at the Same Rate
Each year, the seven continents move at an average rate of five to ten centimeters, the same speed that fingernails grow. Ten centimeters equals about four inches, meaning in a million years, the seven continents will spread out by nearly 400 million miles.
5. Pregnant Women Are at Higher Risk for Homicide Than Others
Sadly, the number one cause of death for pregnant women is homicide. Since pregnant women pass more frequently from murder than health issues or sepsis, doctors and researchers proposed that pregnant women should undergo domestic violence screenings to assess their risk before giving birth.
6. Sloths Have Four Arms
Since their bottom two limbs cannot bear much weight, they're technically considered arms! Sloths do not rely on muscle to climb trees, rather, their curved claws grip so they can scale the trees.
7. Card Decks Have Infinite Shuffling Possibilities
Whenever you shuffle a deck of cards, the order the cards are in is likely the first time a card deck has ever been in that order. If you factored out the probability of how many options you'd get after shuffling the cards, you'd arrive at the number 8×10^67, or eight with 67 zeros after it.
8. People Try To Scatter Their Loved One's Ashes on the Haunted Mansion Ride
According to Disney code, you can't bring identified ashes into the park, but you can sneak them in. Many guests who've done this suggest putting the ashes in a plastic bag or medication bottles to avoid a security search. Once they continue through to the other side of the park, they head to the Haunted Mansion and scatter their deceased family member throughout the ride. However, the workers have a secret cleaning method that vacuums the ashes.
9. Centipedes Can Be Amphibious
As if they weren't terrifying enough, some centipedes can live in water. Scolopendra cataracta can grow up to 8 inches long and can sleep, run, and hunt underwater.
10. Pufferfish Venom Can Cause Hallucinations
Pufferfish venom can cause hallucinations in small doses. Dolphins have been known to toss around pufferfish to experience the effects of the venom.
11. Picasso Passed Away 50 Years Ago
When I think of famous artists, including Picasso, I imagine he existed hundreds of years ago. However, the infamous Spanish cubist and surrealist came into the world in 1881 and departed in 1973, only 50 years ago. For some reason, his legacy seems like he existed eons ago.
12. Navel Oranges Are Clones
Each naval orange grows on a Brazilian tree from 200 years ago. The tree continued to mutate, causing the population to cut limbs from the tree, propagate the plant, and continue to grow it elsewhere.
13. Manatees Have Fingernails
I remember the day before I learned manatees had fingernails. I lived a happy life without seeing keratin implanted into their flippers. The day I found out, my friend showed me a devastating picture pointing out their nails. I don't know why this idea distresses me so; I just never thought a species besides monkeys or humans had nails.
14. Ice Cream Has Health Benefits
This fact is one for those with a strong sweet tooth. Eating ice cream provides positive health benefits; a small scoop can help maintain blood sugar and protein levels, especially in pregnant women.
15. Toilets Are Cleaner Than Phones
Let's get down to business. Unfortunately, toilets carry ten times less bacteria than our mobile devices. To decrease the levels of bacteria and dirt on your cellular device, clean it each day since it touches your skin. Please don't bring it into the bathroom with you.
16. Most Firefighters Are Volunteers
Many who pledge to save lives step into fire stations as volunteers. The percentage changes each season, but only about 30% of firefighters are hired to serve their communities.
17. Lemons Are Hybrid Fruits
The acidic, sour fruit that generates one of the best summer drinks is a natural hybrid. The origin of the fruit remains unknown, but scientists have determined the lemon is a natural cross between a bitter or sour orange and a citron, a thicker, sweeter lemon.
18. More People Live in California Than Canada
California boasts a much denser population by square mile than Canada. California is 163,696 square miles, and Canada is 3.8 million square miles.
19. Antarctica Has the Largest Desert
You would think Africa or maybe Australia would have the largest desert in the world, but the coldest continent in the world, Antarctica, is home to the largest desert. The Antarctic Polar Desert spans 5,500,000 square miles of wind, frigid temperatures, and dry land.
20. Daddy Long Legs Aren't Spiders
I apologize to Arachnophobes and Entomophobes (I identify as both) because I find many “fun facts” related to insects or arachnids. Arachnids are not all spiders, but all spiders are arachnids. Daddy Long Legs are not technically spiders, though they are arachnids. The eight-legged crane flies are similar to scorpions rather than spiders.
21. Platypuses Sweat Milk
Platypuses are mind-boggling species. First, you can't touch them since they produce stinging venom, lay eggs, and sweat milk. Since their species existed before placental mammals, they don't have placentas or teats, meaning they produce milk from their mammary glands, but it comes out through their fur.
22. Sharks Predate Trees
Sharks emerged about 450 million years ago, and trees popped up 70 million years later. Sharks existed long before and long after dinosaurs prowled the Earth 230 million years ago. Scientists haven't found teeth from the oldest shark species, just fossils. However, the oldest shark tooth they've found is the now-extinct Cladoselache, similar to a mackerel shark.
23. Grass Screams When It's Cut
After mowing your grass, a fresh-cut scent permeates the lawn, signaling the upkeep you've graced your yard with. After you run over the grass with blades, the grass transmits cries for help in the form of GLV (Green Leaf Volatiles). Plants emit GLVs when they suffer tissue damage, so the next time you cut your grass, remember it is screaming for help.
24. All the Ants and All the Humans Weigh the Same
If you were to take all 20 quadrillion ants who crawl around the world and put them on the scale, you would get the same amount as if you took all eight billion humans and set them on the scale. Myrmecologists Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson calculated this equation based on the idea that ants weigh between one and five milligrams and humans weigh up to a million times more.
25. Dolphins Sleep With One Eye Closed
Dolphins utilize unihemispheric sleep, so only one side of their brain rests at a time. When their left eye shutters, their right brain hemisphere snoozes, and vice versa. This method assists the mammals in searching for predators and coming out of the water to gulp air.