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Strange but True facts on just about Everything

This A-Z list of strange but true facts on just about anything and everything is an ongoing project. So far, the list includes the following subjects (scroll down to see the actual entries):

  1. Alcohol
  2. Ants
  3. Bats
  4. Bees
  5. Birds
  6. Buffalo
  7. Chameleons
  8. Cheetah
  9. Coconuts
  10. Countries
  11. Crocodiles
  12. Cultures
  13. Elephants
  14. Fish
  15. Flowers
  16. Frogs
  17. Giraffe
  18. Gold
  19. Hippopotamus
  20. Hyena
  21. Lightning
  22. Lion
  23. Ostrich
  24. Palms
  25. Penguins
  26. Rats
  27. Rhino
  28. Scorpions
  29. Sharks
  30. Shrimp
  31. Snails
  32. Spiders
  33. Snakes
  34. Starfish
  35. Survival
  36. Time
  37. Trees
  38. Vultures
  39. Wasps
  40. Water
  41. Whales
  42. Zebra

STRANGE BUT TRUE ALCOHOL FACTS

Alcohol
  • Absinthe is another name for the herb wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and the name of a liquorice-anise flavoured green liqueur that was created at the end of the 18th century, and manufactured by Henry-Louis Pernod. Called the ‘green Muse’ it became very popular in the 19th century but was eventually banned in most countries beginning in 1908.
  • The reason for banning absinthe back then was the presence of the toxic oil ‘thujone’ in wormwood, which was one of the main ingredients of Absinthe.
  • Absinthe seemed to cause brain lesions, convulsions, hallucinations and severe mental problems. Thujone was the culprit, along with the fact that Absinthe was manufactured with an alcohol content of 68% or 132 proof.

STRANGE BUT TRUE ANT FACTS

Ants
  • An ant will always fall on its left side when it is intoxicated.
  • If you draw a large circle on a piece of paper and put it near an anthill, the ants will follow the smell of ink and keep walking in circles until the entire colony dies. Because ants live underground, they are almost totally blind, and smell is their primary sense.
  • Ants are attracted to the smell of ink, especially the ink from markers, because it has a strong smell and because the smell of markers is similar to the smell of the pheromones ants use to leave a trail for the ants behind it to follow. Because a circle has no end, the ants will continue to walk for no reason until they all die of either old age, exhaustion, or malnutrition.

STRANGE BUT TRUE BAT FACTS

Bats in flight
  • The name of the order of bats, Chiroptera, means ‘hand-wings’ in Greek.
  • Contrary to myth, bats aren’t blind. In fact, bats sometimes prefer using eyesight to sound when hunting. And many fruit bats, which drink nectar rather than hunt insects, don’t echolocate at all.
  • There are over 1000 different bat species.
  • Bats are placental mammals. After rodents, they are the largest order, making up about 20% of mammal species.
  • Vampire bats are real, but they aren’t dangerous. Only three out of the more than 1,000 bat species are vampire bats, and they’re nothing like what the scary stories would have you believe. They don’t attack humans, and they never kill their prey.
  • Male and female bats meet at hibernation sites, called hibernacula, where they breed.
  • In colder climates bats hibernate for up to six months. During that time they survive on few grams of stored fat as their metabolism slows and their heart rate sinks to 10 beats a minute. Their body temperatures also drop to around 3ºC to 6ºC, which helps them to conserve energy.
  • The largest bay species is the giant golden-crowned flying fox. It is among the heaviest of all bat species, with individuals weighing up to 1.40 kg (3.1 lb).
  • The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently lists 24 bat species as Critically Endangered, meaning they face an imminent risk of extinction. Fifty-three others are Endangered, and 104 bat species are considered Vulnerable.
  • When bat pups are born they come into the world with their mothers hanging from their perches upside down. Mother bats act fast, catching the blind baby in her wings.

STRANGE BUT TRUE BEE FACTS

Bees
  • The smell of bee pheromones can be replicated with things normally found in your kitchen. Bananas can be used to make bees sting because the smell of the pheromones released by a bee sting for the rest of the hive to follow smells almost exactly like bananas and sugar water can be used to make bees swarm around something because the smell of the pheromones used by queen bees to communicate with the rest of the hive smells like sugar water.
  • A queen bee lays about 1,500 eggs on an average day.

STRANGE BUT TRUE BIRD FACTS

Birds-1
  • A group of geese is only called a gaggle if they’re on the ground. A group of geese in the sky is called a skein.
  • A pied-billed grebe is called a peebeegeebee by birdwatchers.
  • About 20% of bird species have become extinct in the past 200 years, almost all of them because of human activity.

STRANGE BUT TRUE BUFFALO FACTS

Buffalo
  • The most awesome of all Cape Buffalo facts is that they are so dangerous they are referred to as “the Black Death”.
  • Buffalo are said to have killed more hunters in Africa than any other wild animal on earth. (Contributed by Legacy Hotels & Resorts).
  • Buffalo can reach 6.8 to 11 feet in length, 3.2 to 5.6 feet in height and weigh between 660 and 1900 pounds. 
  • African buffalo are four times stronger than an ox.
  • The American buffalo is not technically a buffalo. They’re bison.

STRANGE BUT TRUE CHAMELEON FACTS

Chameleons
  • Special colour pigment cells under the skin called chromatophores allow some chameleon species to change their skin colour, creating combined patterns of pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown, yellow and purple.
  • The same chemical that allows chameleons to change colour is also found in human skin.
  • A chameleons bite can be painful, however, not toxic or harmful to humans.
  • Handling can cause chameleons to have chronic low-level stress, which leads to poor health.
  • Chameleons don’t hear well, but they can hear some sounds. They can pick up sounds that fall in the frequency range between 200 and 600 Hz. Not bad for a reptile that doesn’t have ears or the traditional hearing equipment that other animals have.

STRANGE BUT TRUE CHEETAH FACTS

Cheetah
  • Cheetahs are nearly twice as fast as racehorses: The fastest racehorse runs 43 mph (69 kph), but cheetahs can run up to 70 mph (113 kph).
  • A cheetah’s feet don’t touch the ground for more than half of the time it’s running.
  • Cheetahs can turn in midair while sprinting after their prey.
  • King cheetahs have lengthwise stripes and are very rare. Their distinct markings are due to a recessive gene.
  • The name “cheetah” in English is derived from the Hindi word “Chita,” which means “spotted one.”
  • Emperors and other royalty hunted gazelles with trained cheetahs in the 16th century.
  • Cheetahs are very vocal. They make a unique bird-like sound called a “chirrup” when they’re excited or calling their cubs. They can’t roar like lions or tigers, but they do growl, hiss, snarl, moan, bleat and purr.
  • They get the moisture they need from the bodies of their prey, so cheetahs rarely need to drink water.
  • Cheetahs are the only cats with black tear marks on their faces. Scientists think these might act as sun protection, like football players painting black marks under their eyes.
  • Cheetahs, the fastest land mammals in the world, are built for speed. They can reach running speeds of up to 70 mph (113 kph), and they can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) in three seconds — faster than most cars. A single bound can cover 22 feet (7 meters), thanks to a flexible spine that lets their front legs extend extra far.
  • Their deep chests and enlarged hearts, lungs and nostrils help cheetahs take in more oxygen during intense chases. Their high-set eyes have a 210-degree field of view. Non-retractable claws help them gain traction when running on soft ground, and their tails help them balance as they make sharp, high-speed turns while chasing their prey.
  • Full-grown cheetahs are about 4 feet (1.2 m) long, not including a 30-inch (76-centimetre) tail. They weigh about 75 to 145 pounds (34 to 66 kilograms) and are 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 m)tall at the shoulder.
  • Female cheetahs are solitary, but males live in small permanent groups called coalitions, which are usually made up of brothers. Both males and females hunt alone. Usually only one male in coalition mates with any particular female.
  • Cheetahs live to be about 12 years old in the wild and as long as 17 years in zoos.
  • There are about 7,500 adult cheetahs living in the wild. Scientists think the species has declined by about 30 per cent over the last three generations or about 18 years. Their biggest threats are habitat loss and hunting by humans, either for trade or to protect livestock.

STRANGE BUT TRUE COCONUT FACTS

Coconuts
  • Activated charcoal made from coconut shells is the odour absorbing agent in odour-eating shoe liners.
  • Coconut water on average contains 94% water with around 46 calories a cup.
  • A coconut tree can have up to 180 coconuts harvested during a single harvest.
  • The coconut tree is botanically named Cocus Nucifera and they can grow up to 82 feet (25 meters) high.
  • The coconut tree is a member of the palm tree family and the only known living species of the genus Cocos.
  • The term “coconut” can refer to the whole coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which botanically is a drupe, not a nut.

STRANGE BUT TRUE COUNTRY FACTS

Countries
  • Every country in the world is larger on the northern end than the southern end and nobody knows why.
  • Tunisia: The original Star Wars movie sets for the film’s planet Tatooine, were housed in the Tunisia desert. Nowadays, visitors to Tunisia can visit and even stay in Luke Skywalker’s home.
  • Sahara Desert: The Sahara is the world’s hottest desert, and the third-largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic. At over 9,400,000 square kilometres, it covers most of North Africa, making it almost as large as China or the United States.
  • Sudan has over 220 pyramids – twice as many as Egypt (which only clocks in at around 110).
  • Mozambique has the only national flag in the world featuring a modern assault rifle – the AK-47.
  • 64 Countries have religious symbols on their national flags. A third of the world’s 196 countries currently have national flags that include religious symbols.

STRANGE BUT TRUE CROCODILE FACTS

Crocodile
  • Crocodiles have been around for 200 million years, outwitting dinosaurs by 60 million years.
  • Crocodiles can hold their breath underwater for over 10 minutes and can go for months at a time without food.
  • Crocodiles have the strongest bite of any animal on earth, but the muscles they use to open their jaws are not so strong, so it is relatively easy to hold their mouth shut.
  • Crocodiles keep their mouths open for staying cool.
  • Alligators and crocodiles don’t have x or y chromosomes, the chromosomes that determine the gender of an embryo. instead, the gender of baby alligators and crocodiles is determined by the temperature of the air.

STRANGE BUT TRUE CULTURE FACTS

Cultures
  • In the Banda tribe of the Central African Republic, a girl isn’t considered ready for marriage until she first eats an entire raw chicken without breaking any of its bone and then goes an entire year without doing any work, including feeding or bathing herself.
  • When Burmese women are making beer, they need to avoid having sex or the beer will be bitter.

STRANGE BUT TRUE ELEPHANT FACTS

Elephant
  • African elephants can grow to be over 14 feet tall and 30 feet wide.
  • An elephant drinks 30-50 gallons of water every day.
  • Elephants are vegetarian and consume up to 375 lbs of vegetation every day which can take them up to 16 hours to consume.
  • Elephants communicate using a variety of low-frequency grumbles and rumbles which can be picked up 6 miles away.
  • Elephants live in family groups of up to 100 members, headed by a matriarch.
  • A young elephant is weaned at 4-5 years old when their tusks start to get in the way, and they may move out of the family group at 10-12 years old.
  • Elephants prefer one tusk over the other, just as people are either left or right-handed.
  • Elephants waive their trunks up in the air and from side to side to smell better.
  • Did you know that 1.4kg of elephant dung can vanish within just two hours when 16 000 greedy dung beetles arrive at the scene to collect their piece of the pie? (Contributed by Legacy Hotels & Resorts).
  • Elephants can hear one another’s trumpeting calls from up to eight kilometres away. (Contributed by Legacy Hotels & Resorts).

STRANGE BUT TRUE FISH FACTS

Fish
  • The Coelacanth, a type of ancient fish was presumed extinct. However one was re-discovered in 1938 off the shores of South Africa, and again, in early 2000 a population of six Coelacanth were been found living in the Sodwana area.

STRANGE BUT TRUE FLOWER FACTS

Flowers
  • South Africa has the most diverse and unique floral kingdom in the world, and 70% of the Cape floral kingdom occurs nowhere else on earth.
  • Flowers did not always exist; they first appeared 140 million years ago.
  • Several centuries ago in Holland, tulips were more valuable than gold.
  • Broccoli is actually a flower.
  • Some plants such as orchids do not need soil to grow. They get all of their nutrients from the air.
  • Many rose cultivars never produce fruit (rose hips) because the flowers are too tightly petalled to allow pollination. The flowers are beautiful but “broken” in that they don’t serve the biological purpose of a flower.
  • Lilies are toxic and potentially fatal for cats.
  • It’s a faux pas in Russia to give your date a dozen flowers; You give an odd number of flowers for a happy occasion, and an even number for condolences.

STRANGE BUT TRUE FROG FACTS

Frogs
  • Frogs are immune to gradual changes in temperature and can freeze or fry if the temperature changes slowly.
  • The Paradoxical frog is the world’s weirdest frog. The tadpole is five times larger than the adult. It is the only creature on earth that shrinks as it reaches adulthood.

STRANGE BUT TRUE GIRAFFE FACTS

Giraffe
  • Giraffe tongues are dark blue and average around 20 inches in length.
  • The giraffe neck contains special veins and blood valves to stop the giraffe from blacking out when it takes a drink. They can’t drink for long because of this and they don’t drink often, they can survive without water for weeks at a time.
  • Baby giraffes drop six feet to the ground when born but manage to stand up just five minutes later.
  • All giraffes suffer from high blood pressure.

STRANGE BUT TRUE GOLD FACTS

Gold
  • Absolutely pure gold is so soft that it can be moulded with the hands.
  • Gold is the only metal that is yellow or “golden” in colour. Other metals may develop a yellowish colour, but only after they have oxidized or reacted with other chemicals.
  • Nearly all of the gold on Earth came from meteorites that bombarded the planet over 200 million years after it formed.
  • The element symbol for gold is Au.
  • The word “gold” comes from the Old English word “geolu,” meaning yellow.

STRANGE BUT TRUE HIPPO FACTS

Hippo
  • Male hippos actively defend their territories and humans tend to get killed by hippos when they stand on a riverbank or beach that a male hippo considers being his territory.
  • Hippos can run at speeds of over 20 miles an hour and they have enormous jaws host up to 20-inch canines.
  • Hippos are vegetarian and consume up to a hundred pounds of the green stuff every day.
  • Hippos poop huge amounts, up to sixty pounds a day, and some of it is literally showered around by a fast-moving, rotating tail.
  • Hippos are sensitive to the sun and secrete a natural sunscreen that is coloured red and eventually turns brown.
  • The hippo’s closest living relative is the whale.
  • While hippos can swim and stay underwater for up to ten minutes at a time, they cannot jump.
  • The expression “sweating blood” comes from the blood-red sweat off hippos.

STRANGE BUT TRUE HYENA FACTS

Hyena
  • Hyenas are more closely related to cats than dogs, and even more closely related to meerkats.
  • Hyenas are the most common of all large carnivores in Africa, they are true survivalists.
  • Live in clans, with some groups numbering over 70 members.
  • Hyena cubs are most commonly born in twos and if they are the same sex, they may try and kill each other.
  • Are known as scavengers, but also regularly hunt live prey.
  • Hyena dung is white (when dry) because of the large amounts of calcium it consumes when crunching up the bones of its kill.
  •  A team of researchers excavating a cave near Johannesburg, South Africa, discovered five human hairs at least 200,000 years old in fossilized hyena dung, thus exceeding the record for the oldest known human hair by more than 190,000 years.
  • There is quite a difference between young spotted hyenas and young striped hyenas. Striped hyenas are born with adult markings, closed eyes and small ears. Spotted hyenas are born with eyes wide open and teeth intact, ready for action. They live in clans dominated by the larger built females.

STRANGE BUT TRUE LIGHTNING FACTS

Lightning-1
  • A typical lightning bolt is two to four inches wide and two miles long.
  • A single bolt of lightning is around 50,000f or 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun.
  • The irrational fear of lightning is known as keraunophobia.
  • There are two types of lightning; negative strikes and positive strikes.
  • The odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000.
  • Lightning 30/30 rule: If it takes less than 30 seconds to hear thunder after seeing the flash, lightning is near enough to pose a threat; after the storm ends, wait 30 minutes before resuming outdoor activities.
  • Sprites, also known as red lightning, are electrical discharges that appear as bursts of red light above clouds during thunderstorms. Because this phenomenon is so fleeting (sprites flash for just milliseconds) and for the most part not visible from the ground, they are difficult to observe.

STRANGE BUT TRUE LION FACTS

Lion-cub
  • Lions are more likely to be seen sleeping than hunting because lions rest for 20 hours a day on average.
  • Lions don’t purr like house cats.
  • The tufts on the ends of a lions tail emerge at around 5 months of age.
  • Lions often kill their prey by strangulation or suffocation (by covering the nostrils and mouth of their prey).
  • Other than man, crocodiles are one of the few natural predators a lion has (although their cubs are vulnerable to other hunters).
  • Lions are the only members of the cat family where the male and female look very different and they are also much more social than most other cats.
  • Lion numbers have declined by 30% in the past two decades, primarily due to traditional hunting customs among local tribes in Africa, big game hunters, as well as a reduction in habitat and prey.
  • Lions can reach around 14 years of age, but many males die sooner because they get injured fighting one another.
  • Female lions synchronize the birth of their cubs and cooperate in raising them. Females tend to stay with their pride for life, male cubs get kicked out when they are between 2-4 years old.
  • Females lions hunt more than males and all lions will happily scavenge given half a chance.
  • Lions ambush their prey, (like leopards), rather than track and chase (like hyenas).

STRANGE BUT TRUE OSTRICH FACTS

Ostrich
  • Ostriches can sprint up to 43 miles (70 kilometres) an hour and use their wings as rudders to change direction.
  • An Ostrich can kick a man to death, but only in a forward direction, so it’s safer to stay around the back.
  • Ostriches are the largest birds on earth.
  • One Ostrich egg can easily make an omelette for a dozen hungry men
  • Ostrich eggshells have been used to make ornaments and necklaces for thousands of years by several African tribes. The shells are also handy for storing water.
  • Ostrich meat is a popular lean red meat in upscale restaurants throughout the world

STRANGE BUT TRUE PALM FACTS

Palms
  • The single-seeded fruit of the giant fan palm, or Lodoicea maldivica, can weigh 44 lbs. Commonly known as the double coconut or coco de mer, it is found wild only in Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

STRANGE BUT TRUE PENGUIN FACTS

Penguins
  • African Penguins are becoming an endangered breed, with only 55 000 left to date, compared to the 200 000 that were around in the early 2000′s.
  • A penguin swims at a speed of approximately 15 miles per hour.

STRANGE BUT TRUE RAT FACTS

Rats
  • A rat can go without water longer than a camel can.
  • Rats take care of injured and sick rats in their group.
  • Without companionship, rats tend to become lonely and depressed.
  • Rats have excellent memories.
  • When happy, rats have been observed to chatter or grind their teeth.
  • Rats make happy “laughter” sounds when they play.
  • Although rats can’t see very well, their other senses are really good. They can smell, taste and touch their way around to find food.

STRANGE BUT TRUE RHINO FACTS

Rhino
  • To prevent poaching, rhino horns are being poisoned. The poison is non-toxic to the animals, however, any poisoned horn that is poached will show up on airport scans, and whatever powder, tea or cream is then made, will result in a bitter taste and possible burns.
  • A rhinoceros horn is made of compacted hair.

STRANGE BUT TRUE SCORPION FACTS

Scorpions
  • Scorpions are predatory animals of the class Arachnida, making them cousins to spiders, mites and ticks.
  • The easiest way to kill a scorpion is by placing alcohol on its back. Even the slightest bit of alcohol will make a scorpion drunk enough to sting itself to death.
  • Essential oils such as lavender, cinnamon, peppermint and cedar are said to deter scorpions.
  • Scorpions are nocturnal, sleeping during the day and coming out at night to hunt for food.
  • Scorpion predators include lizards, rats, birds, and possums. 

STRANGE BUT TRUE SHARK FACTS

Sharks
  • The majority of the worlds proto-mammalian fossils have been found in the Karoo – the most unique thus far is a 280 million-year-old shark.
  • In the months of November to January, you can swim with whale sharks in the Gulf of Tadjourah in Djibouti.
  • A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
  • A shark can grow a new set of teeth in a week.
  • A shark can detect one part of blood in 100 million parts of water.

STRANGE BUT TRUE SHRIMP FACTS

Shrimp
  • A shrimp’s heart is in its head.
  • Shrimp can average about 6 inches while the longest ever found was at 16 inches.
  • The largest mantis shrimp ever caught had a length of 46 cm (18 in); it was caught in the Indian River near Fort Pierce, Florida, in the United States.
  • Fishermen call the mantis shrimp “thumb-splitters” — at least one man has had a finger amputated after a mantis shrimp strike. A blow from the crustacean’s truncheon can crack a pane of stock aquarium glass.
  • A mantis shrimp punch arrives with the acceleration of a .22-caliber bullet, 50 times faster than a human eye can blink.

STRANGE BUT TRUE SNAIL FACTS

Snails
  • A snail can sleep for 3 years.
  • Snails can have about 25,000 teeth.
  • A snail can actually glide over the sharp edge of a knife or razor without harming itself. This has something to do with the mucus it produces.

STRANGE BUT TRUE SPIDER FACTS

Spiders
  • The Bajillion Spider of South Africa is one of nature’s most bizarre spiders. Every single spider is actually recursively composed of thousands of tiny spiders that together form a group consciousness and work together as one collective.
  • The largest spider ever observed by scientists was over 8 feet long and weighed in at 530 pounds. It was actually immobile though, its legs had been broken long ago by merely carrying its own weight.
  • Spiders are known for preserving their prey alive in silky cocoons in order to enjoy a “fresh meal”. The Viedant Spider takes this one step further – when it comes across a dead insect, it uses an unusual form of venom to inject new life into the unappetizing corpse. Scientists are studying the spider as a potential treatment for several forms of deadly cancer.
  • The word “Spider” comes from an acronym. Scientists investigating spiders in the 17th century would abbreviate “Sample — Please Investigate Data; Exoskeleton Regular” on their insect containers.
  • Spiders are almost all homosexual. Their species evolved to be that way as a form of population control. That’s why there are so many male spiders and so few females. And that’s also why the queen kills the male after mating with it because she views him as a genetic anomaly.
  • Harvard Neurologists have discovered that an average spider’s brain possesses a greater mental capacity than the world’s most brilliant scientists. If their brains didn’t lack a cognitive lobe, they’d be more intelligent than Einstein.
  • The Harjack Spider can produce enough silk to suffocate the average human infant in a matter of minutes.
  • The Orange Magma Spider can resist heat up to 5,300 degrees F. Ironically, they exist only at the southernmost tip of the South Pole’s largest glacier.
  • While spiders are usually known for their webs, they can also weave wind-sailing “parachutes” capable of taking them high above the world below. Furthermore, the so-called WindCurrent Spiders have actually evolved to live without a verticle base – they have lived for hundreds of millennia within the Earths ionosphere. The WindCurrent Spider is cannibalistic, it also retrieves many of its nutrients from sunlight, via a process not dissimilar to photosynthesis.
  • Spiders can sustain hundreds of atmospheres of pressure and can work flawlessly in a vacuum. Scientists have discovered spiders working at both the bottom of the sea and in the ultra-thin atmosphere thirty miles above the Earth.
  • The most valuable spider is the Kenyan Applecrosser. These elegant spiders actually grow beautiful, near-flawless emeralds on their abdomens.
    There’s actually an extremely rare spider in Eastern Africa, called the Snow Spider. Its body is completely white, but it spins a completely black web.
  • A spider’s carapace, if sufficiently scaled, could adequately shield a nuclear blast.
  • Spiders cannot physically die of natural causes. If kept safe, a spider can continue to live and grow larger for a theoretically unlimited amount of time. In fact, in China, there exists a collection of ‘holy’ spiders, hatched some 2,800 years ago during the height of the Mang-Tsun dynasty.
  • A spider egg contains as much DNA as four humans combined? And that’s just one of the unborn spiders, the entire egg sac outnumbers the population of India.
  • A single strand of spider web has more potential energy than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki? But because spiders do not naturally exist in areas of high fusion, there is little danger to the average person.
  • Spiders with hair on them are mammals and thus produce delicious (and unusually cold) milk. Spiders produce milk using the same glands that they produce silk threads with.
  • A strand of spider web may be stronger than an equal diameter of steel.

STRANGE BUT TRUE SNAKE FACTS

Snakes
  • The Black Mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) is one of Africa’s most dangerous snakes and feared in East, Central and Southern Africa.
  • The Black Mamba can reach speeds of up to 12 mph (20 km/ph).
  • The Black Mamba IS the largest venomous snake in Africa with adults reaching an average of 8 feet in length (2.5m).
  • Black Mamba’s are not black at all, but brown/olive-skinned.
  • Black Mambas can strike up to 12 times, each time delivering enough neuro and cardio-toxic venom to kill a dozen men within 1 hour. Without anti-venom, the mortality rate is 100%.
  • When cobras feel threatened, they produce a low pitched growling noise. cobras are the only known species of snake that can growl.

STRANGE BUT TRUE STARFISH FACTS

Starfish
  • A starfish can turn its stomach inside out.
  • Starfish cannot swim but get around using their tube feet.
  • Common starfish species have five arms, although some have more, such as the sunflower sea star.
  • A unique feature of starfish is their ability to regenerate.
  • Starfish have receptors throughout their skin that sense pressure, temperature and pain much as ours do.

STRANGE BUT TRUE SURVIVAL FACTS

Survival
  • A person who is lost in the woods and starving can obtain nourishment by chewing on his shoes. Leather has enough nutritional value to sustain life for a short time.
  • A person will die from total lack of sleep sooner than from starvation. Death will occur about 10 days without sleep, while starvation takes a few weeks.

STRANGE BUT TRUE TIME FACTS

Time
  • According to an Old English system of time units, a moment is considered to be one and a half minutes.
  • There’s no such thing as “now” as far as physics is concerned. Time passes slower the faster you move.
  • Time passes faster for your face than for your feet (assuming you’re standing up).
  • Time flies; we try to save it, make it, kill it – and there’s never enough of it.

STRANGE BUT TRUE TREE FACTS

Trees
  • A notch in a tree will remain the same distance from the ground as the tree grows.
  • No other organism on Earth lives as long as a tree.
  • Trees are able to communicate and defend themselves against attacking insects. 
  • An average size tree produces enough oxygen in one year to keep a family of four breathing.
  • Three trees planted in the right place around buildings can cut air-conditioning costs up to 50 per cent.

STRANGE BUT TRUE VULTURE FACTS

Vultures
  • A group of vultures is called a kettle, committee or wake. The term kettle refers to vultures in flight, while committee refers to vultures resting on the ground or in trees. Wake is reserved for a group of vultures that are feeding.
  • A vulture will never attack a human or animal that is moving.
  • Vultures are the only obligate scavengers, and they feed primarily on the decaying flesh of animals that died as a result of starvation or disease.
  • Vultures have a thicker retina than people and their eyes are larger in proportion to their head size.

STRANGE BUT TRUE WASP FACTS

Wasp
  • The Ficus wasp (they’re less than 2mm long) has an ingenious way to pollinates figs. The female wasp crawls in through a tiny hole in the bottom of the fig and lays eggs before dying. After hatching the male fig wasp bites a hole through the flower wall and impregnates the hatching females. He then chops a tunnel for his pregnant pollen-dusted female to escape from the fig. (Contributed by Legacy Hotels & Resorts).

STRANGE BUT TRUE WATER FACTS

Water
  • A single drop of water contains one hundred billion billion atoms.
  • 68.7% of the freshwater on Earth is trapped in glaciers.
  • Nearly 97% of the world’s water is salty or otherwise undrinkable. 
  • Although water covers 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface, water is actually a rare substance that represents just 0.05 per cent of the Earth’s total mass.
  • About 6,800 gallons of water is required to grow a day’s food for a family of four.
  • 70% of the human brain is water.
  • Children in the first 6 months of life consume seven times as much water per pound as the average adult.
  • 1 teaspoon (about 2.4g) of Sodium Polyacrylate powder will turn 1 cup of water into a solid almost instantly. You can even turn the container upside down and nothing comes out! Stir in a little table salt and the solid becomes liquid again as the polymer chains are broken.

STRANGE BUT TRUE WHALE FACTS

Whales
  • A whale’s penis is called a dork.
  • A Cuvier’s beaked whale has been recorded to dive to a depth of 3km for over 2 hours.
  • The blue whale is believed to be the largest animal to have ever lived.

STRANGE BUT TRUE WIND FACTS

Wind
  • The wind is a flow of gases, here on Earth it refers to the movement of air caused by differences in air pressure.
  • Short bursts of wind moving at high speeds are known as gusts.
  • Depending on their strength, winds can be known as a breeze, gale, storm or hurricane.
  • A wind with a speed of 74 miles or more is designated a hurricane.

STRANGE BUT TRUE ZEBRA FACTS

Zebra
  • A zebra is white with black stripes.
  • Zebra are part of the Equidae family along with horse and donkeys.
  • Every zebra has a unique pattern of black and white stripes, making them each as unique snowflakes.
  • A group of zebras is called a ‘zeal’.

Share your knowledge – if you have a Strange but True fact on just about anything, email editor@tourismtattler.com and we’ll add it to the list.

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