127 Random Fun Facts
Do you want to learn something cool, funny, or mind-blowing? Why not have a look at these 127 fun facts.
Relax and learn some random, fun facts about the world. Here I have put together a collection of awesome facts from animals to music, from astronomy to biology. Learn about how Britney Spears was used in naval warfare, and a rather rude way in which gorillas communicate. Find out why we say ‘touch wood,’ and discover what play dough used to be before it was remarketed. Unlike other fact blogs, all these facts are checked and most have links to the sources, so you can tell them to your friends in earnest!
Well, keep reading because here come some fun facts to blow your mind.
Mimosa pudica, (pudica latin for shy/bashful), also known as the shameplant farts when it feels threatened.
Even a seedling just a few centimetres high can fill a room with a disgusting smell.
2. In 1930, Elsworth W. Bunce was the first man to milk a cow on a plane
The cow was called Elm Farm Ollie and she produced 24 quarts of milk during the flight. It was partly for publicity during the International Air Exposition in St. Louis, and partly so scientists could observe the effects on the cow during flight. The milk was put in paper cartons and parachuted to spectators below. Charles Lindbergh reportedly received a glass of the milk. The cow became famous and was renamed the “Sky Queen.”
3. There are about 8000 aeroplanes in the sky right now
North America is estimated to have a business aviation fleet size of 25,237, bigger than all other regions globally. The busiest day recorded in aviation is 24 July 2019, with more than 225,000 flights on that day.
4. 21 by Adele is the biggest selling album of the 21st century
With 31 million copies sold Adele’s album, Adele’s 21 album breaks the record for the most albums sold in the 21st century to date. However it is not the best-selling album of all time, that accolade goes to Michael Jackson’s Thriller which sold 70 million copies. 21 was the longest-running number one album for 45 years.
5. There are around 21 complete Gutenberg Bibles existing still today. One of these Bibles is likely worth around $30 million
The Gutenberg Bible was the first significant book printed in Europe using industrially produced moveable metal type. It signalled the beginning of the “Gutenberg Revolution” and the Western world’s period of printed books.
6. “Vulgar” originally referred to the everyday form of Latin spoken by ancient Romans
There were 2 types of latin; that spoken by the elite and that spoken by the lower classes; the latter was called vulgar latin and so the word vulgar became associated with things lacking sophistication.
7. Termites outweigh humans by almost ten to one
8. The original lyrics to “Happy Birthday to You” were “Good Morning to All”
The song “Happy Birthday to You” was written by two sisters from Louisville, Kentucky, in 1893. Mildred and Patty Hill, sisters, wrote songs to perform in Patty’s kindergarten class in Louisville in 1896. They created a song called “Good Morning to All” with easy lyrics. The phrase “Happy Birthday to You” was used in place of “Good Morning to All” when a pupil celebrated a birthday.
9. There are two pets for every three people in America
10. In 2016, archaeologists unearthed a mosaic from the 3rd century BC in Southern Turkey. Its slogan, written above a bread-lounging, wine-drinking skeleton, read: ‘be cheerful, live your life.’
King Charles III owns more land than anyone else. He is also the King of 32 other countries and head of a Commonwealth of 54 countries in which a quarter of the world’s population lives. He is legal owner of about 6.6 billion acres of land equating to one-sixth of the earth’s land surface.
12. The United States is so vast, that 47% of its land is unpopulated
13. A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes
14. Your left lung is slightly smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart
The left lung, which shares space with the heart in the chest, is larger than the right lung.
15. Traffic today in London moves at the same speed as horse-drawn carriages once did
16. The word “maverick” came from a Texan called Samuel Maverick who refused to brand his cattle
17. A flock of ravens is called a conspiracy
18. A flink is a group of 12 or more cows
19. It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open
20. Pumbaa from The Lion King was the first Disney character to fart.
The Portuguese Water Dog (cão de água) was bred specifically to round up fish. It can easily be trained to herd fish into fishermen’s nets.
Originating in the Steppes around 700BC it was probably brought to Portugal via the Goths (no not those ones, else it wouldn’t be blonde and smiling). It is similar to a poodle in appearance but it has amazing fishing skills.
22. The clean shaven look was popularised by returning soldiers who shaved so that gas masks would fit properly
Men being clean shaven in the U.S. became popular after WWI because returning soldiers were clean shaven so that gas masks would fit properly
23. Electricity moves at 1 billion feet per second
24. You can survive 11 days without sleep
In 2004 Channel 4 ran a ground-breaking tv show where contestants competed to stay awake the longest. The prize was £100,000. Purported risks included depression and hallucinations. After 178 hours (just over a week) of sleep deprivation, Clare Southern (now Clare Farah), a 19-year-old police cadet nicknamed “the Terminator”, scooped a £97,000 prize pot. Channel 4’s show, called Shattered, probably wouldn’t be made today.
25. The word cannon comes from the latin canna meaning stick or tube
Merchant navy officer Rachel Owens revealed that they play western pop music such as Britney Spears’ chart-toppers ‘Oops! I Did It Again’ and ‘Baby One More Time’ to deter Somali pirates. ‘These guys can’t stand Western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect.’
Avant-Gard musician, John Cage’s, ORGAN2/ASLSP (ALSP = As SLow aS Possible) is currently being performed in the small town of Halberstadt in Germany. The performance will last for 639 years. A specially made self-playing organ was designed to play the piece.
Koepcke is thought to have survived because she was strapped to her seat as the plane disintegrated. The seats attached to hers provided air resistance and the forest canopy cushioned her fall. A film was made about her called Wings of Hope.
29. The earliest known reference to toothpaste is in a manuscript from Egypt in the 4th century AD, which prescribes a mixture of iris flowers
Rice bran absorbs UV radiation
Jasmine aids DNA repair
Lupine lightens skin tone
31. There are 10,016 cities, 4,431 towns and 3,370 villages in the USA
32. The Scottish surname prefix Mac means “son of”
According to NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter the moon is not completely round but rather spheroid, a bit like a lemon.
34. 42% of people prefer the colour blue
Other favourites include: purple (14%), green (14%), red (8%), black (7%), orange(5%), brown (3%), yellow (3%), white (2%), grey (2%). Source: The Epic Book of Epicness by Martin Frost
35. This is a map of all reported UFO sightings, 1906-2014
This is a to-scale representation of the planets in the solar system. Mars is about the same size as Earth. Mercury is the smallest.
37. The expression ‘To give someone the third degree’ comes from the initiation ceremony in the secret society of the Freemasons
38. Female koalas (which are actually marsupials, not bears) have two vaginas. Fortunately, male koalas have forked penises
39. Kangaroos can’t walk backwards
Chocolate experts explain that the reason Hershey’s chocolate might have this taste is because it contains butyric acid. Butyric acid has an odour similar to vomit or body odour. It is found in animal fat, milk, parmesan cheese, rancid butter, stink bombs, body odour and vomit.
42. From the Italian for “more than usual wandering”, an extravaganza is a lavish entertainment or a spectacular display
43. You share your birthday with at least 20 million other people in the world
That’s the same as the population of Chile.
44. The phrase ‘touch wood’ comes from touching the wood of the cross
The superstition of touching wood dates back to at least the 14th century and is widespread around the world, with over 40 countries touching wood after saying something that tempts bad luck. In Bulgaria the touching of wood is followed by pulling the earlobe with the same hand, while in Russia they ‘spit the bad luck away’ over their left shoulder. The wooden cross is just one of many theories but it doesn’t make sense in Arabic countries like Syria where most people are Muslims and wouldn’t be touching wooden crosses for luck.
45. Maryland’s official state sport is jousting
It was the first state to adopt an official sport, in 1962.
46. John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley, and C. S. Lewis all died on the same day.
On November 22, 1963, the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, three of the most iconic authors of the 20th century also died. Aldous Huxley wrote a dystopian utopia called Brave New World, he was a pacifist and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature nine times. On his deathbed he persuaded his wife to give him a 100 µg does of intra-muscular LSD.
47. A cave beneath a cliff in Cornwall, England is said to house the final resting place of Merlin.
This cave is thought to be the residence of Merlin and is situated beneath Tintagel Castle, the birthplace of King Arthur. A pathway leads to the caves, which are filled with water during high tide.
48. Arctic means ‘bear place’, Antarctic means ‘no-bear place’
The word “Arctic” is from the Greek for bear, “Arctos”, making it the “bear-place”. The Antarctic is the anti-Arctic, meaning the “no-bears-place”.
49. The Thirteen Club was a secret society where people broke mirrors, spilt salt and walked under ladders
The 1880s gentleman’s club was meant to challenge people’s superstitions. Honorary members included Theodore Roosevelt and four other U.S. Presidents.
Earth has two different types of days, sidereal and solar. We use the Solar Day which is 4 minutes longer than the Sidereal Day.
51. An artist took a $75,000 payment and submitted a blank canvas called ‘Take the Money and Run’
In 2021 a Danish museum gave 534,000 kroner ($74,402) in cash to artist Jens Haaning who was supposed to display it in two glass frames in another museum. The artist pocketed the cash, sent two empty frames to the museum, and changed the title of the artwork to ‘Take the Money and Run’.
I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel [to serve as President], and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it. All my life I have dealt with objective matters, hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official functions.Albert Einstein
54. Only female mosquitoes bite
55. Horses are incapable of breathing through their mouths
Due to the way their airways have evolved, it’s impossible for them to breathe through their mouths. Cats, rabbits and rodents are also Obligate Nasal Breathers.
56. Honey is the only natural food that is made without destroying any kind of life
Think about it…
58. Your brain uses about 1 fifth of your body’s energy
59. American Thomas Paine was elected to the first post-Revolution French parliament, despite not speaking a word of the language
You can see Thomas Paine on the left in the top hat.
A mentally ill young man attempted to commit suicide, the bullet miraculously removed the part of the brain causing the problem. He returned to school, got a job and led a normal, happy life (this is not recommended).
61. During her father’s presidency, Alice Roosevelt smoked cigarettes in public, rode in cars with men, and kept a pet snake
When asked about her, the president said: “I can either run the country or I can attend to Alice… I cannot possibly do both.” Alice Roosevelt Longworth: The Story Of The Original White House Wild Child
62. Babies have taste buds in their cheeks and throat
Their taste is very sensitive… Over time the taste buds die away leaving just taste buds on the tongue.
The celebrity vet was an actor and Britney knew another actor who was going out with him and based her song on her friend’s experience.
The Australian marsupial is the only animal in the world to poo in squares. Follow the link to watch a video explaining why wombats poo in squares.
65. In Japan, crooked canine teeth (yaeba) are thought to enhance attractiveness, especially in women
66. Prince Charles and Prince William never travel on the same airplane in case there is a crash.
67. People have been wearing glasses for about 700 years.
Although many sources state that eyeglasses were invented in 1317, the idea for glasses may have started as early as 1000 B.C. Some sources also claim that Benjamin Franklin invented glasses, and while he did invent bifocals, this famous inventor cannot be credited with creating glasses in general.
68. Turophobia is the fear of cheese
69. Your brain uses about 12 watts of energy, a fifth of the power required for a lightbulb
The fastest computer requires 28.3 megawatts, the human brain is still faster.
70. Sustained farting is the main tool by which mountain gorillas communicate contentment to fellow group members
According to the latest stats in 2017 this was the same for Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, Idaho, Vermont, Nebraska and Wyoming, coming top with 1,140 vehicles per 1000 people.
72. The Canary Islands were named for their large population of wild dogs (the Latin root of dog is canaria)
The Canary Islands are home to the Podenco Canario dog breed, often known as the Canary Island Hound or Canarian Warren Hound. The Podenco Canario is still employed today, mainly in packs, and is most frequently utilised for rabbit sport hunting.
73. Most species of piranha eat plant matter and insects
Mmmm, plant matter.
74. Zoophobia is the fear of animals
75. In every episode of “Seinfeld”, there is a Superman picture or reference somewhere
Seinfeld was a big fan of superman.
76. In some species of sharks the embryos are cannibalistic and only the strongest is born
Donna Griffiths (UK) sneezed approximately one million times in the first 365 days and her first sneeze-less day was on 16th September 1983.
78. On average the American citizen changes job every 4 years
79. Placekicker Morten Andersen is the all-time career scoring champion for the NFL with 2,544 points
80. Ancient Egyptians used slabs of stone as pillows.
In 2020 there were 650,505 divorces in the US, that’s 1,727 per day or 72 per hour. This was a significant decrease from previous years, where it averaged about 850,000 per year, or about 100 per hour. Overall the figure is decreasing year on year.
82. Many common nicknames beginning with ‘N’ came about from affectionate phrases where ‘mine’ was used before the first name
‘Mine’ is old English for ‘my’. So, ‘mine Edward’ gave rise to ‘my Nedward’ and, eventually, to ‘Ned’; and ‘mine Eleanor’ became ‘Nell’ or ‘Nelly’.
83. Scientists are working on a ‘cloak of invisibility’ that will hide objects by making light waves flow around them
The cloak looks like water flowing around a rock in a river.
84. The name Humvee developed from the acronym HMMWV (for High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle)
85. Every atom in your body was once part of a star.
87. In the great fire of London in 1666, half of London was burnt down but only six people were injured
88. The first Polish-language encyclopedia included definitions such as; ‘Horse: Everyone knows what a horse is’
Under ‘dog’, the author described a dog he knew of that could lay the table. Under ‘dragon’ he says that they definitely exist and that ‘It’s hard to beat a dragon, but you have to try.’ Under ‘goats’ he just says ‘a stinking kind of animal.’
89. In France, you are forbidden to name a pig “Napoleon.”
It was thought to be a gift from her grandchildren. When the news got out it sparked a nationwide run on similar ducks which quickly sold out.
91. The 1918 flu epidemic killed 548,000 people in the United States
The 2020 covid epidemic killed 1.07million in the US.
92. A copy of every tweet ever made in the USA is kept in The Library of Congress archive
93. The colour of fire hydrant caps indicate to firefighters the amount of water pressure they can expect from that hydrant
Lilith, also known as the First Wife of Adam or the Primordial She-Demon, is a female figure in Mesopotamian and Jewish mythology. The Zohar Leviticus 19a describes her as “a hot fiery female who first cohabited with man”.
95. Playdough was originally wallpaper
Playdough was remarketed wallpaper cleaner with added almond perfume.
96. In 2021, 😭 became the world’s most used emoji. Previously, 😂 had spent years in the top spot
97. France had its last guillotine execution in 1977
99. Time goes more slowly near things that exert a lot of gravitational force, such as large stars
100. Tomatoes were considered poisonous for many years in Europe, and they were grown for ornamental reasons only
Tomatoes’ leaves and stems are toxic (but they can be used in moderation for food flavouring).
USA uses 17%, and the next highest is Russia with 5.6%.
102. The dot over the letter i is called a tittle
103. The human heart creates enough pressure in the bloodstream to squirt blood 30 feet.
104. Every year 4 people in the UK die putting their trousers on.
Also, in 2000, slippers caused 27,000 visits to A&E per year in the UK. This is likely likely higher now with an aging population.
105. At high altitude, water boils at a lower temperature, so Tibetans can drink their tea while it is still boiling without burning themselves
106. Gay marriage was legally recognized in Ancient Rome, and Nero himself married at least two gay couples
107. Emus are the only birds with calf muscles
110. The longest war in history was between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly. It lasted from 1651 to 1986, there were no casualties
During the English civil war, the Dutch sided with Cromwell’s parliamentarians against the Royalists. The Royalists were pushed out of England to the Isles of Scilly. From here the Royalists raided Dutch shipping lanes, so the Dutch declared war on the Isles of Scilly. 3 months later Cromwell forced the Royalists on Scilly to surrender. The Dutch went home and forgot to declare peace, so the two countries remained at war until 1986 when a historian unearthed the mistake.
111. Whales have regional accents
112. There is the image of a spider hidden in the top right hand corner of the US dollar bill.
113. Yo-yo means come-come in Filipino where it said to have originated
114. More breakfast cereal is produced in the town of Battle Creek, Michigan, than anywhere else in the world.
Each custom shoe starts at $1,200 (about £1,070).
116. There are about two chickens for every human in the world
50 billion chickens are killed for food every year, not including male chicks and unproductive hens in egg-production. Chickens are living descendants from dinosaurs. They have good memories and can remember other chickens and human faces. One study showed they prefer beautiful people, suggesting it’s not just humans that appreciate symmetry. Chickens Prefer Attractive People – National Geographic
117. Most of the water on Earth probably erupted from volcanos 4 billion years ago and condensed into rain
By clocking 63.157km/h (39.245mph) across the flying kilometre, Meyan’s aristocratic friend Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Jeantaud Laubat’s electric, powered by a single 36hp motor fed by Fulmen non-rechargeable batteries, was hailed as having established the inaugural World Land Speed Record.
Muscle strength in 10 year olds has fallen by 20% to 30% over the 16 year period between 1998 and 2014.
121. Lollipops were named after a candy store inventor’s favourite horse Lolly Pop
In 1931, candy store owner George Smith registered his hard candy on sticks under the name Lolly Pop, named after a horse he saw at a local fair. Because it took so long to patent, competitors used the name too and it became so widespread that it became common use.
The average count of viruses in 1ml of surface layer water is about 10,000,000.
The world’s oceans are teaming with viruses. A litre of seawater typically contains billions of viruses – the vast majority of which remain unidentified.
124. Cat urine glows in the dark.
So does human wee, but cats’ is particularly glowing due its high phosphorous content.
125. A company developed contact lenses for animals, including, lions, giraffes, tigers and bears
A German company, S & V Technologies, developed contact lenses for animals, including, lions, giraffes, tigers and bears suffering from cataracts.
126. On the Isle of Skye it rains 225 days a year
Planning a trip to the Hebrides? Pack your brolly because this area has the highest average rainfall in the UK. You can expect it to rain on 225 out of the 365 days of the year.
127. The zorilla is the smelliest animal in the world
The zorilla is a striped polecat that resembles a skunk. When attacked it emits a putrid, yellow liquid from its rear. It is said to smell rancid and metallic and can be smelt from half a mile away.