In this modern world, where the amount of fake news, alternative facts, scams, and quasi-claims seem to be off the charts, it’s easy to doubt things. But despite our suspicions, many of us still enjoy and seek out good "truth is stranger than fiction" stories. Because life is weird. Science is crazy. Evolution is wild. And there are so many staggering or downright surreal things happening right under our noses we don't even notice.
Chances are, you've stumbled upon at least one piece of trivia that is so weird, it sounds totally made up. And you’re definitely not the only one. There’s an entire thread on 'Ask Reddit' where this subject matter takes center stage. "What is a true fact that sounds fake?" asked user TheMemeing and inspired hundreds of members to share their intriguing tidbits of knowledge immediately.
From snails having 14,000 teeth to Mantis shrimp generating light, just because something sounds a little bogus, it doesn’t mean it’s not real. We've gathered some of the most illuminating responses from the thread, so continue scrolling! Although remember that a little healthy skepticism goes a long way, so put your thinking caps on and take everything you read online with a pinch of salt. Then upvote the facts that surprised you most, and be sure to share your own nuggets of information with us in the comments.
Psst! When you've finished this list, take a look at our previous post filled with fake-sounding facts here.
#1There are more slaves today than in any point in history
Image credits: tranc3rooney
#2Female dragonflies drop out the sky and pretend to be dead to avoid unwanted male advances.
Image credits: SuvenPan
#3Oxford University predates the Aztec Empire by 3.5 centuries.
Image credits: astrielx
#4In 1895 there were 2 cars out of the entire state of Ohio and they still managed to crash into each other
Image credits: Infamous_fire94
#5Donald Trump was actually the US President at one time.
#6In the Pompeii eruption, the extreme heat caused some victims' brain tissue to turn to glass.
Image credits: 0ddcharlie
#7Bananas are berries and strawberries aren't.
Image credits: sushandeep
#8The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn.
Image credits: klakkrr
#9Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of big words.
Image credits: Kiabobiia
#10The greenland shark, has a life expectancy of between 250-500 years. That means there could be a greenland shark swimming around, that swam the oceans when the Spanish conquistadors went to search Mexico for gold, which at that time, were inhabited by the Aztecs.
Image credits: Eremitic23
#11McDonalds feeds 1% of the world’s population daily.
Image credits: UniquePotato
#12A fully loaded Amazon Kindle is a billionth of a billionth of a gram heavier than an empty one.
Image credits: Aggravating_Speed665
#13Snails have 14,000 teeth and eat bones and meat not just vegetables.
Image credits: Feathertail80
#14The ancient Egyptian empire lasted more than 3000 years. It has been less time since the empire fell.
Image credits: librician
#15Sharks existed before grass.
Image credits: Yrrebnot
#16People were on the moon before they put wheels on suitcases.
Image credits: sheepywife
#17There’s a penguin named Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III who is the ceremonial head of the Norwegian Royal Guard
Image credits: Poorly-Drawn-Beagle
#18The lighter was invented before matches.
Image credits: Unhappy-Nail-9281
#19Hot water freezes faster than cold water. Mpemba effect. The guy who discovered it (in modern times, since Aristotle wrote about it) was ridiculed by everybody including his own teacher, but 6 years later the results were published and is considered fact.
#20The Mantis shrimp punches so hard it generates light.
Image credits: Angel_OfSolitude
#21There’s a type of mold that, as a single celled organism, can move around by itself, learn, recognise colours and solve mazes. there are many species of slime mold that can come in all colours such as banana yellow, hazard-jacket orange and, fittingly, slime green.
#22Australia has the largest amount of wild camels in the world.
There are more pet tigers in Texas than there are in the wild of the entire planet.
Image credits: Black---Sun
#23Koalas are so dumb that they can't recognise a eucalyptus leaf if it isn't attached to a tree.
Image credits: thedragoncompanion
#24The day Michael Jackson's hair caught fire while filming a Pepsi commercial was the exact middle of his life.
Born: August 29, 1958
Pepsi incident: January 27, 1984
Died: June 25, 2009
Image credits: divshappyhour
#25The chainsaw was invented to aid in childbirth. It was used and invented in the 1700s to cut through the woman's pelvic bone before C-sections became the commonplace way to deliver babies.
Image credits: YourMomSmokesMeth
#26Nestle intentionally created a famine by giving put free formula in African countries and pushed a campaign that said it was healthier than breast milk. Then when most of the population had converted and dwindled the number of mothers capable of nursing, they began charging exorbitant prices for formula. this caused thousands of children to starve to death and they got away with it.
#27Humans can smell geosmin (the chemical released when it rains or snows) at 5 parts per trillion. Which means that humans are 200,000 times more sensitive to smelling geosmin than sharks are at smelling blood.
Image credits: spookyskelley
#28From 1912 to 1948, the Olympics awarded official medals for painting, sculpture, architecture, literature and music, alongside those for the athletic competitions.
Image credits: Lone_Wolf_888
#29Johnny Cash was the first westerner to learn of Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953. He was a morse code operator at the time
#30Apple seeds contain a substance that releases cyanide into your bloodstream
Image credits: rygad33
#31More people drown in the desert than die of dehydration.
Image credits: mitchade
#32The Michelin Star system was developed by Michelin tires.
Image credits: Pasghetti_Western
#33Dinosaurs were around for so long that there were already dinosaur fossils while they were still alive.
Basically, as T-Rex was munching away on Triceratop steaks, Stegosaurus had already been dead and underground for millions of years by that point.
#34Placebo medicine is more effective if patient is told it's expensive.
#35Cleopatra only had 2 pairs of great grandparents.
Image credits: oy-cunt-
#36The oldest hotel in the world is The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Japan and has been in business since 705AD. The crazy thing is that it’s still a family business. For 52 generations
#37King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden were turned away from a German restaurant in 2011 since there were no free tables and they didn't have a reservation.
#38Volkswagens most sold product is a sausage.
#39Betty White (1922) is older than packaged sliced bread (1928 in the USA and 1937 in the UK).
Image credits: martusfine
#40Sharks who hang out on sandbars a lot can get a sun tan.
#41The creation of sticky notes was a result of glue that wasn’t sticky and deemed a failure( 3M)
The formula was put in the records as a failure and later a scientist found it to be useful to stick notes to his workbench.
Then we got sticky notes
#42Breathing out one nostril at a time naturally.
#43Hillary Clinton won a Grammy.
#44A spider called the banana spider, can bite you and cause a painful Erection that last hours
#45Butterflies are fond of cow s**t, fresh blood, and corpses.
Image credits: itsme_Imtheproblem
#46Alligators will give manatees the right of way if they are swimming near each other
#47Cheetahs don't roar, they meow.
#48For one hour every year a part of Oregon and Florida will have the same time of day
Image credits: hunterlong12
#493 of my grandparents have the same birthday and two of them on the same year
#50The last official execution by guillotine was 1977 September 10th at Baumetes Prison in Marseille, France.
#51The universe’s resources are finite and eventually the processes making new stars will be unable to continue. The universe will become a dark void intermittently filled with stellar bodies.
We live in a glorious time where we can see beautiful pictures of the stars and enjoy them from our backyards. Count yourself lucky.
#52President Jimmy Carter is a badass who once dove Into an active nuclear reactor to prevent a meltdown.
#53Sharks are older than the rings of Saturn
#54Salvador Dali was alive when the first Prefador movie came out, so he might have watched it in the cinema
#55Argentina occupied California in 1818 for a week.
#56Snakes have necks and tails
#57Both Stalin and Hitler were briefly in the same city as each other (Vienna) before they met (or knew about each other, at least).
#58Attila the Hun died from a nose bleed on his wedding night
#59Solid matter is made up of mostly empty space.
#60Nintendo was founded in 1889.
#61We are closer to the last ever dinosaur than the last dinosaur was to the first ever dinosaur.
#62Over 30 million people in china live in caves!
#63Can you believe if a person who can completely see is blind almost 40 mins to an hour per day? This phenomenon is called Saccadic Masking and also known as (visual) Saccadic suppression. It is a visual illusion where the brain selectively blocks visual processing during our eye movements.
A saccade is a quick, simultaneous movement of both eyes between two or more phases of fixation points in the same direction. Humans become effectively blind during a saccade.
#64-40 c is equal to -40 f
#65Shaving your cat in the summer heat is bad and can actually cause overheating.
#66Killer Whales love Great White Shark liver. They are capable of extracting it with surgical precision, leaving the Great White to bleed out and die.
#67I once read that if you keep a goldfish in a dark room, it will eventually turn white.
#68When Joe Biden was born, he was closer to Abraham Lincoln's presidency than his own.
#69Most common houseplants thrive on neglect.
Most people kill their house plants by paying too much attention to them, by overwatering them or over fertilizing them.
#70Insurance companies most years pay out more dollars in claims and loss expenses than they collect in premium dollars. They make all their money by investing the premium dollars before they have to pay them out.
Edit: I’m talking about car and home insurance. Health insurance works differently and I never worked in that field so I don’t know.
#71Pineapple actually tries to eat you while you eat it.
Bromelain extract is a mixture of protein-digesting (proteolytic) enzymes and several other substances in smaller quantities.
The burning you feel when eating pineapple is its liquids trying to digest you. That's also the reason for the lingering feeling after eating it.