Random Fun Facts That Will Amaze You - Part 3
No matter how many facts you jam into your brain, there’s always more to learn. Here are some of the most weird and wonderful facts.Knowledge
No matter how many facts you jam into your brain, there’s always more to learn. They might not seem important now, but you never know when a piece of useless trivia could make you the smartest person in the room. Here are some of the weirdest and most wonderful facts around!
A Headless Chicken Once Lived For 18 Months
On September 10th, 1945, Lloyd Olsen and his wife Clara were killing chickens on their farm in Fruita, Colorado when something extraordinary happened. As Olsen decapitated some 50 birds, one defied all odds by getting up and walking around moments after the hatchet’s fatal blow.
Olsen placed the death-defying bird on an apple box for the night, and when he awoke the following morning he was shocked to find it as alive as ever. When Olsen transported the other carcasses into town to be sold, he carried the bird with him and took bets of beer or cash that he had a live headless chicken.
As word spread, Olsen was approached by a sideshow promoter and then things really got rolling. After naming the bird Miracle Mike, Clara and Lloyd set off on a tour of the U.S. allowing people far and wide to marvel at their proverbial golden goose.
Mike was kept alive by feeding a mixture of milk and water directly into his exposed esophagus using an eye dropper, while also syringing mucus out of his windpipe. At the peak of his career, Mike was bringing in around $4,500 a month; until, in spring 1947, disaster struck.
The Olsens woke in their motel room in Philadelphia to the sound of the bird choking, and before they could find the syringe, Mike had suffocated. Rumour has it Olsen grabbed the hatchet and tried to recreate the success a few times afterward, but to no avail.
A Dead Jockey Once Won a Race
On June 3rd, 1923, 22-year-old Frank Hayes won his first-ever race at Belmont Park, but it was destined to be his last. Hayes, who was a stable hand acting as a stand-in jockey, surprised the nation when he rode to victory on the 20-1 shot horse Sweet Kiss, beating out fan-favorite Gimme, but the biggest shock was still yet to come.
As the horse crossed the line, Hayes tumbled from the saddle and was immediately pronounced dead by the doctor on hand. Although a heart attack was initially determined as the cause of death, more than 95 years later it’s still unclear exactly why Hayes died.
Some reports suggest he was encouraged to lose some 10lb of water weight in just 24 hours before the race, which could’ve caused lethal dehydration. Rumour has it the horse never raced again and was even nicknamed Sweet Kiss of Death after the tragic event.
Teabags Were Invented By Accident
It’s hard to imagine life without the humble teabag, but this simple creation was actually a happy accident, or so it seems. The year was 1908, and New York tea importer Thomas Sullivan was looking for a less-expensive way to package tea for his customers because tin (a popular packaging material at the time) was expensive to ship.
Suddenly, Sullivan had a lightbulb moment: he could just put his samples in little bags of silk instead! The problem, which actually turned out to be more of a stroke of luck, was that customers receiving the tea in the mail didn’t understand what to do with them, so they just dunked the bags into boiling water instead.
Voilà, the tea bag was born! Or not quite. Turns out two women named Roberta C Lawson and Mary McClaren had filed a patent for a tea leaf holder back in 1901, and unlike Sullivan, their idea for a mesh bag was fully intentional.
There Are Two ATM’S In Antarctica
Very few people will ever set foot on Antarctica thanks to its frigid temperatures and months of perpetual darkness, but even this frozen climate is powered by money. Many of the cafes, bars, and shops dotted around the continent are cash-only, but what happens when you’re all out? Is fish considered a currency?
Sadly not, but thankfully you can just visit one of the two ATM machines. In 1998, banking conglomerate Wells Fargo installed Antarctica’s very first cashpoint at McMurdo Station, the largest science hub on the continent. Depending on the season, McMurdo’s population ranges from 250 to 1000 people, so carrying cash is a must.
Part of the reason a second ATM was later added to the area is that if one machine goes down at a time when repair flights to Antarctica are scarce the second machine can be cannibalized for parts instead.
Despite McMurdo actually being closer to New Zealand, the machines dispense American dollars because Antarctica doesn’t have an official currency. Although you can purchase a pretty neat commemorative Antarctic 10-dollars just to prove that you’ve been there.
Moose Are Excellent Divers
If the animal kingdom was to form an Olympic diving team, you’d probably expect the poor old moose to be one of the final picks. But the joke’s on you because moose are actually pretty great swimmers.
Being the largest members of the deer family, moose have a pretty huge appetite. In fact, each animal needs to eat about 24 kilograms of plants a day, which can be difficult during Canada’s short summers. Fortunately for them, moose are adept swimmers and they can hold their breath for a whole minute, so they have no trouble checking out the nutrient-rich plant life at the bottom of riverbeds and lakes.
Those big nostrils aren’t just for show either, they actually act as valves that keep water out like a snorkel as each moose dives up to 20 feet deep. So few people know about this unexpected talent that there have been plenty of reports of suspected lake monsters that have turned out to be moose just trying to get some grub.
Charlie Chaplin Lost a Charlie Chaplin Lookalike Contest
They say there’s nothing quite like the original, but the iconic slapstick comedian and silent movie star Charlie Chaplin probably wouldn't agree. Back in 1975, two years before his death, Chaplin entered a look-a-like contest of himself in France.
His motivations aren’t exactly clear, but it’s safe to assume he probably thought it would be a bit of a laugh, not to mention knowing he’d be a shoo-in for the prize. In an ironic twist though, he wasn’t considered quintessentially Chaplin enough to win, and came in third place instead.
The theory for his surprising loss is that his eye color threw the judges off because their baby-blue hues couldn’t be seen in black-and-white. Still, it could be worse, Dolly Parton once lost a look-a-like contest of herself against a line-up of drag queen impersonators.
A Dolphin's Nipples Are Located In Its Anus
If you were asked about how to find a dolphin’s nipples, what would you say? Believe it or not, in a game of "pin the nipple on the dolphin", you’d be wrong unless you headed straight for the butt first. That’s right, dolphins have nipples in their anus.
A baby dolphin or calf will follow its mother closely after birth, and suckling takes place pretty frequently. The mother dolphin's mammary glands open into a pair of sacs on either side of the anal opening, and the calf’s beak fits perfectly into the opening on these sacs.
Once in position, the baby grasps the nipple between its upper jaw and tongue, and muscular contractions by the mother literally squirt milk into the calf’s mouth. This nursing can go on for 12 to 18 months. Maybe the calf eventually gets tired of heading for a late-night drink of milk at the wrong time, if you catch the drift
Vending Machines Kill More People Than Sharks
Shark-infested waters might be the stuff of nightmares, but the reality is that your chances of ever ending up in such a perilous situation are actually pretty slim. What you should really be worried about is a far more silent killer that could strike whenever you feel hunger coming on: the humble vending machine.
Between 4-6 times more people are killed in the U.S. each year as a result of vending-machine-related incidents than bonafide shark attacks. In fact, each year there are over 1,700 reports of freak snack-machine injuries compared to some 25 shark attacks, and while 2 to 4 people generally lose their lives at the hands (well, shelves) of the vending machine, less than one is killed by a shark.
While vending machines aren’t armed with terrifying jaws, a surprising amount of people find themselves crushed under the weight of the machines after shaking them too hard. Essentially, a great white shark is 10 times more deadly than a vending machine, but you’re far less likely to encounter one on the street.
Cows Have Best Friends
Despite our best efforts, humans will never truly understand the nuances of animal lives. It’s easy to assume that farmyard animals like cows don’t have much going for them besides eating grass and farting out methane, but one study from 2019 blows that out of the water with the surprising revelation that cows actually have best friends.
Krista McLennan from Northampton University penned cows in pairs for 30-minute intervals; once with a preferred partner or ‘friend’, and once with a cow they didn’t know. McLennan measured the cows’ heart rates during each session, and determined the animals were significantly less stressed when they were with a cow they knew personally and liked.
In 2014, another study from the University of British Columbia found that young calves performed worse on cognitive tasks when they lived alone than if they lived with a buddy; so friendship makes them more intelligent too!
There Are Only Two Escalators In Wyoming
When was the last time you traveled on an escalator? You probably don’t remember, after all, who makes a mental note of that kind of thing? For the people of Wyoming, taking an escalator probably seems like a rare treat, because there are only two in the entire state.
That’s 0.0000034 escalators per capita, according to the 2016 population numbers of 585,501. Both escalators are located in the city of Casper, at the First National Bank and the Hilltop National Bank. Anywhere else, and you’ll just have to take the stairs.
But why is there such a glaring lack of modern transportation in the Cowboy State? Perhaps superstitions about being suddenly sucked into the teeth at the end of the moving staircase run rampant. Apparently, there’s no such conspiracy about the contraptions, it just turns out elevators are easier and cheaper to install.
The neighboring states of Dakota and Montano also only have about 6 escalators each, so maybe there’s just a whole “who needs moving stairs?” vibe going on in the Midwest.
Lemons Float, Limes Sink
Here’s a bar bet you’ll never lose: a lemon will float in a glass of water, but lime will always sink straight away. You might assume that this is because the rind of a lemon is thick and porous compared to the thinner coating of a lime, but peel both fruits and you’ll find the exact same result. In fact, chop them up and try again and there will be no change.
According to the USDA website, lime is 88.26% water by weight and lemon is 87.4%, which isn’t a huge difference, while both lemons and limes generally weigh around 101 grams each. If it’s not to do with weight, what exactly is going on? It’s all down to our friend density because any object will float if it’s less dense than the liquid it’s placed in.
While limes have a density of 1.12 grams per ml, lemons have a density of just 1.02 grams per ml; compared to the density of water, which is approximately 1 gram per ml. Objects with a density less than water are usually the floaters, but because the density of a lemon is almost the same as the water it’s placed in, it will float just fine. Meanwhile, a lime is just a tad too dense and sinks instead.
Crocodiles Can’t Stick Their Tongues Out
What’s the difference between a crocodile and an alligator? A croc couldn’t stick its tongue out, even if it wanted to. Evolution is a strange thing, and it just so happens that crocodiles lack this basic ability thanks to a membrane that holds their tongue in place on the roof of their mouth, making it impossible to move outside of their narrow mouths.
This actually comes in pretty handy when they’re snapping their mouths shut rapidly, so they don’t accidentally bite their own tongue off while eating. On the other hand, alligators' tongues run along the full length of their two-foot-long snouts and can extend beyond their mouths.
They even have a palatal valve, which is a piece of flesh that stops water from getting in when they are hunting prey underwater, something crocs can’t do.
I hope you were amazed at these weird and wonderful trivia facts. If you want to find out more interesting facts, you might want to take a look at our whole fun facts series. Thanks for reading.