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Fun Random Facts!

Ready for these weird random facts?

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Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  November 8th 2022

Ready for these weird random facts? Which one of these facts made you go 'wow!'? And once you've read these mind-bogglers, why not check out our general knowledge quiz to see how many random facts you know?

1. Giraffe's horns are called ossicones

They're not hard and sharp like goat's horns, though. These little horns are made out of cartilage, and both male and female giraffes have them, as well as other similar animals like okapis. As a giraffe grows older, these eventually connect to its skull.

Giraffe facts

2. The world’s first animated movie was made in Argentina

In 1917, an animation called El Apóstol – The Apostle in English – was directed by Quirino Cristiani and produced by Federico Valle. The story is about Argentina's president at the time, Hipolito Yrigoyen, who wants to make Buenos Aires a better place and has a dream about visiting Greek gods to seek advice.

3. Vampire bats drink blood

Vampire bats really live up to their name! They don't drink human blood though - they prefer sheep, cows and other mammals. And they don't drink nearly enough to do the animal any harm. They use their fangs, and make a small hole then lap the blood up as it comes out. Urgh.

4. Two people named Alan have walked on the moon

And there have been 10 others not called Alan. Between 1969 and 1972, 12 people in total have set foot on the moon. They are: Neil Armstrong, Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin Jr., Charles 'Pete' Conrad Jr., Alan L. Bean, Alan Shepard, Ed Mitchell, David Scott, James B. Irwin, John Young, Charles Moss Duke, Jr., Eugene A. Cernan, and Harrison H. Schmitt.

Moon Jokes

5. Lobsters use their feet to taste food

These crustacean legends have taste buds – which are actually hairs – in their feet. It's only once they tested it they'll decide whether it needs a pinch of salt. Sorry.

6. Flamingos don't use their knees to bend their leg

When you see these majestic birds bend their legs, they're not actually using their knees. The bendy bit is actually their ankle, while their knee is hidden away. So now you know.

Two flamingos

7. It would take 19 minutes to fall to the earth's centre!

This is something that scientists have worked out using sums, rather than get a brave person to dig a very deep hole and time them using a stopwatch.

8. Humans spend ages brushing their teeth

If you brush your teeth for a few minutes after meals, it soon adds up. In fact, the average human will spend around 40 days brushing their teeth during their life.

Brushing teeth

9. Hippopotamus means 'river horse' in Greek

The word 'hippopotamus means 'river horse' and is often shortened to 'hippo'. Want another hippo fact? OK, then. Even though hippos have numerous collective nouns, 'bloat' is the most common.

10. There's a name for the phobia of bananas

If you guessed that it's called bananaphobia, then you'd be right. How did you guess? Some people don't like to touch them and the smell is enough to send people out of a room, but this banana drama is an uncommon phobia.

11. Ice is stronger than a rock

If water falls into a crack in a rock, it will expand as it freezes and could eventually split it! This is called frost wedging. Like an icy wedgie for rocks.

12. Cumulus clouds are really heavy

We've often gone for a walk on a nice day and paused to appreciate the fluffy clouds, but the truth is, they weigh a lot! Because they're so big and made of water, scientists have calculated that they weigh 1.1 million pounds on average! Do not try to pick these up under any circumstances or you'll hurt your back.

13. Toilet paper was first sold in 1857

While humans have always wiped their bums with leaves and moss, the first toilet paper to be sold in shops was thanks to a man in America called Joseph Gayetty. His product was named 'Medicated Paper for the Water-Closet' and charged grateful New Yorkers just 50 cents for a whopping 500 sheets.

A man holding lots of toilet rolls

14. There's a type of frog who can hold a wee in for months

Next time you're on a long car journey and bursting to go to the toilet, think of the wood frog, who can hold in a wee for 8 months! The amphibian doesn't use the toilet during the winter – part of the urine known as urea is turned into nitrogen which helps it survive while it hibernates.

15. The Hollywood sign used to say something else

In 1923, this iconic sign originally said Hollywoodland and was used to advertise new housing in the area. The 'land' part of the sign was removed in 1949 after local residents complained that it looked like "an eyesore".

16. The grizzly bear is the state animal of California...

The early version of this flag was created in the 1800s, but this big beast hasn't been spotted in the state since it was witnessed wandering around Yosemite in 1924.

A bear walking around in a forest

17. The bowler hat wasn't invented to be fancy

This hat was originally intended to protect people's heads from branches when they rode on horses. It's called a Bowler hat because the prototype was designed by Thomas Bowler in the mid 1800s.

A person dressed in a suit and bowler hat

18. The giant squid has the biggest eyes of all

Both giant (and colossal) squid have the biggest eyes in the animal kingdom - up to 25cm across, so about the size of a frisbee! The reason they have such big eyes is to help them see in the pitch black of the deep ocean.

A giant squid and a lobster

19. You tend to breathe out of one nostril at a time

Don't worry, it's part of the nasal cycle. Some scientists say that this is to keep each nostril from drying out and make it easier to detect different smells quicker. Teamwork makes the nose work. Putting your finger up your nose is gross, though.

20. Michelangelo hated painting the Sistine chapel

While it's regarded as a masterpiece, Michelangelo hated painting the Sistine chapel in Vatican City so much, he wrote a poem about it. In a letter to Giovanni da Pistoia, he moaned: 'My brush, above me all the time, dribbles paint so my face makes a fine floor for droppings!'

The Sistine chapel

21. Avocados are social media stars

In the summer 2017, over 3 million photos of avocados smashed into a piece of toast were uploaded onto Instagram. Every day.

Avocados on toast

22. 'OMG' was first used in a letter written in 1917

This isn't a new way of texting. This acronym was first used during the First World War by an admiral named John Arbuthnot Fisher. In a letter to Winston Churchill dated 9/9/17, he wrote "I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis – O.M.G. (Oh! My God!) – Shower it on the Admiralty!" Churchill responded with a sarcastic 'LOL'. Maybe. Probably not, actually.

23. The longest boxing match lasted over 7 hours

In 1893, Andy Bowen and Jack Burke had a boxing match in New Orleans, Louisiana and it felt like it would never end. The bout lasted 110 rounds and took seven hours and 19 minutes – it was declared a draw. What a waste of everyone's time!

A boxer and a cheetah referee in a boxing ring

24. The Bayeux Tapestry maybe wasn't made in France

The Bayeux Tapestry is a 70-metre long piece which depicts how William the Conqueror's army emerged victorious at the Battle of Hastings. For a long time, it was thought to have been made in Bayeux, Normandy, France where it is currently on display, but historians suggest it could have been stitched in Canterbury.

Battle of Hastings Bayeux tapestry

25. Pigs have more teeth than humans

Our porky pals have a whopping 44 teeth: incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Their canine teeth are big and pointy and have a powerful bite, like a large dog. Humans have 32 teeth. You win the teeth competition, pigs!

26. You fart at 7 miles per hour

Some scientists have looked into how fast a fart can leave the human body. And after much research in stinky rooms, they've come to the conclusion that these hydrogen and methane guff-bombs travel at around 7 miles an hour. That means a fart could go from Newcastle to South Shields in 60 minutes, but only as the crow flies and not via the Great North Run route.

27. George Washington didn't have a clue that dinosaurs existed

The first president of the United States didn't know that dinosaurs existed. That's because the first dinosaur fossil was found in 1824, 25 years after he died. We wonder what he'd had made of the Jurassic Park films? Probably would have found them really confusing and very frightening, to be fair. Especially as moving images would have been new to him as well.

George Washington in a park with a dinosaur hiding in the trees

28. The smell of sick is caused by a certain type of acid

We all know vomit has a particular pongy aroma and that's down to butyric acid. It's also found in parmesan cheese, which might explain why it has a strong, recognisable smell.

A man feeling a bit sick

29. You fart up to 15 times a day!

Some people only pass wind a few times a day, but some people sound like absolute tractors and fart loads – sometimes over 20 times! It often has to do with your body trying to digest certain types of food or if you've gulped down some air if you were scoffing your meal too quickly. And some of them really stink, so try to leave the room if you're among lots of people. Or you could blame the dog if there is one.

A man smelling a bad fart

30. Fish can cough

They can also burp and yawn. We expect a fish uses their cough to catch someone's attention in a shop.

31. Venus spins clockwise

We haven't been there to double-check this, but we trust scientists on this one. This planet spins clockwise while their spherical pals in the solar system turn counter clockwise. Oh, Uranus spins on its side. Just to be different, we suppose.

32. This isn't just a bit of toothpaste...

It's called a nurdle and it's not to be confused with the popular online word game Wordle. This strange word was made up by American Dental Association a couple of decades ago when they created a campaign to encourage people to brush their teeth properly.

A rotten sandwich and a toothbrush

33. Crocodiles can't poke their tongue out

If you're confronted by one of these reptiles and can't decide whether it's a crocodile or an alligator, see if they can stick their tongue out. If it can, then it's an alligator. Crocodiles can't do it! This is because of the way their tongues are held in place, so that they can't accidentally bite them off when attacking another animal. And we thought they were just polite – but it's nature doing its job!

34. The maths symbol ÷ has a name

While everyone refers to this as a division sign, it's also called an obelus. The name was created by a maths whizz in Switzerland called Johann Rahn. The term appeared in his book Teutsche Algebra ages ago (1659).

35. Cats can't taste sweet things

Scientists discovered that cats don't have tastebuds which enable them to detect whether things are sweet or not. Then, scientists, answer this: why do pet cats pester us for a bit of yoghurt at lunchtime? No-one can answer this, it seems.

36. Scotland has hundreds of names for snow

According to BBC News, Scotland has 421 words for snow, which is about 371 more than Inuits' descriptions for those icy crystal gangs. A 'skelf' is a large snowflake, while a 'flindrikin' is a small snow shower. We'd love to list the lot, but it would take ages.

37. The space between your eyebrows has a special name

That area above your nose is called a glabella. While it also refers to the bone underneath, it comes from the Latin word glaber, meaning smooth or hairless. But as we all know, some people's eyebrows join in the middle, like Bert from Sesame Street.

A man with thick eyebrows

38. Sharks don't have any bones

Rather than actual bones, these fearsome creatures of the sea have cartilaginous skeleton which allows them to be extremely flexible when chasing their prey. These types of fish are called elasmobranchs.

A shark

39. German chocolate cake wasn't invented in Germany

This delicious chocolate layer cake wasn't created in Germany at all, despite its name. It was dreamt up in 1852 by a man called Sam German who lived in Texas! He used a dark type of chocolate and a legendary cake was born!

A chocolate cake

40. There's a country which has even more pyramids than Egypt

Sudan has around double the number of pyramids than pyramids. Research has shown that there are up to 255 pyramids in Sudan, compared to Egypt's 138, and are taller and narrower. They were built by the Kushite kingdom along parts of the Nile river.

41. There's a name for the fear of not having a mobile phone

Some people who've left the house without their phone might have a moment of worry and panic. This is called nomophobia and it comes from the words no-mobile-phone and phobia. This fear didn't even exist a few decades ago because they hadn't been invented yet! Thanks, science!

A person enjoying a coffee and using their smartphone

42. You are born with two fears

When you're born, you're equipped with just two fears: loud noises and a fear of falling. These are to protect you. Any other fears are actually learned along the way. So that fear of bananas? A learned fear!

A man watching a scary movie

43. It's impossible to hold your nose and hum at the same time

We could have typed anything in this section because we know for a fact you're trying to prove this fact wrong! We bet you couldn't! The reason is that humming requires you to breathe out, which you can't do if your nose and mouth are both shut!

44. Most of your brain is actually fat

You might think your brain is made of muscle, blood and trivia but it's actually 60% fat. Your brain needs saturated and unsaturated fats in order to perform efficiently. So maybe biscuits are good for you after all? Just joking, they're not – they're an occasional treat and nothing more! Sorry to be the snack police.

45. A chef's hat has 100 folds

The 100 folds in a chef’s hat are supposed to represent the 100 ways to cook an egg. We came up with a list of about 10 then gave up. Some historians say that the higher a chef's hat – or toque – is, the more experienced they are. That must be why Gordon Ramsay doesn't seem to wear a chef's hat, because it would be taller than a building.

A chef

46. There are footprints on the moon

There is no wind on the moon - that means that every time an astronaut has stepped on the moon, their footprint stays there forever! 

47. A word that is the same backwards and forwards is called a 'palindrome'

Some examples of palindromes include Anna, radar, level and racecar!  Can you think of any more?

48. Your small intestines are about 20 feet long

That's about 5 of you lying end to end! How does it all fit in there?!

49. No one knows what Stonehenge is for

Stonehenge is one of the most fascinating and beautiful places in Britain-but no one's quite sure why it was built. Theories include a burial site, a site of worship and a sort of giant clock! Weirder theories include that Stonehenge was built by aliens or even giants! What's your theory?

50. Turtles can breathe through their bums

Yup, you read that right! When turtles hibernate, they do something called cloacal respiration. This means that oxygen and carbon dioxide is diffused in and out through their butts. It's the only way they can get oxygen when they're hibernating, so they probably don't complain about the smell! 

51. Leonardo Da Vinci could write and draw with both hands

Leonardo Da Vinci was both left and right-handed; a condition know as ambidextrous. He would write and draw with both hands equally well, and could even write backwards! What couldn't he do?!

52. The first woman in space was called Valentina Tereshkova

She went into space for the first time in 1963 and spent over 70 hours orbiting the Earth.  Since then, lots of women have been to space, including Sally Ride and Mae C. Jemison, who became the first black woman to travel into space in 1992. 

53. Norway has knighted a penguin

In 1972 the Norwegian Army officially knighted one of the king penguins in Edinburgh Zoo, Nils Olav. Since then, the title has passed down between three penguins,and the current colonel-in-chief of the Norwegian Kings Guard is Nils Olav III. Norway also presented Edinburgh with it's first King Penguin in 1913. Not bad for a penguin!