The world is a mysterious and weird place, and the Internet is filled with weird facts about almost everything you can imagine – the human body, the animal world, and space and time itself.
Here are some of the weirdest jaw-dropping facts that will shock you.
1. A mantis shrimp can swing its claw so fast it boils the water around it and creates a flash of light.
Mantis shrimps are neither mantises nor shrimps. They are relatives of crabs and lobsters, and appear like armored caterpillars. The mantis shrimp’s smashers deliver the fastest punch in the animal kingdom. It can reach a top speed of 50 miles per hour. The flash of light it creates is called shrimp bioluminescence. The punch has a force of a rifle bullet, making the mantis shrimp stand out with its offensive fast smashes.
2. The northern leopard frog swallows its prey using its eyes.
Northern leopard frogs eat almost anything along their path including beetles, ants, flies, worms, smaller frogs, birds, and even garter snakes. To help them push food down their throat, the northern leopard frogs will retract their eyes into their heads. According to a study by the Journal of Experimental Biology, eye retraction serves as a secondary swallowing mechanism that contributes more when swallowing larger prey. You probably did not imagine that when you were busy dissecting them for your biology class.
3. It rains spiders in Australia.
A lot of people are afraid of spiders. Imagine the fear of seeing spiders raining down on earth, because that is something that commonly happens in Australia. Skip the months of May and August when arachnids tend to throw their webs into the air and create a parachute going down from the sky. The process is called ballooning and it can be an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare. The spider colonies travel through the air with their silk parachutes, only to fall in masses of web and silk down to the ground. You will then see farmlands and buildings completely covered with silky webs. A blanket of snow is not so bad now compared to this phenomenon.
4. Albert Einstein’s eyes are in New York City.
The famous scientist is well known throughout the world, but not everybody knows that his eyes can be found in a safe deposit box in New York City. Back when Albert Einstein died in 1955, his brain was removed and preserved into 170 pieces by Dr. Thomas Harvey. He also removed Einstein’s eyeballs to give them to Einstein’s eye doctor: Henry Abrams.
5. Ball’s Pyramid in South Pacific had a single bush that was home to 24 giant stick insects.
Ball’s Pyramid is the remains of an old volcano that emerged from the sea around 7 million years ago. It was named after a British naval officer named Ball who first saw it in 1788. Back in 1918, a supply ship was stranded and brought black rats to the island to eat what were considered giant stick insects called tree lobsters. By 1960, the insects were considered extinct. In 2001, Australian scientists David Priddel and Nicholas Carlile climbed Ball’s Pyramid and discovered a plant that housed 24 enormous tree lobsters. They were the last of their kind. It is still unknown how they were able to survive with just one single patch of plants. Nowadays, giant stick insects are being bred in Melbourne Zoo.
6. Sand tiger shark embryos eat each other in the womb.
Shark embryos tend to cannibalize their littermates while in the womb. The largest embryo tends to eat all but one of its siblings. Research shows that this is a part of the struggle for paternity where embryos from different fathers compete to be born. Female full-grown sand tiger sharks typically give birth to two baby sharks measuring about 1 meter (3 feet) long. But inside the womb, around 12 littermates may be part of the gestation. The cannibalism allows sand tiger sharks to have larger babies compared to other shark species. This paternity strategy also strengthens their bloodline.
7. There are babies born with a parasitic twin.
Back in 1953, Rudy Santos was born suffering from a rare condition called parasitic twin. Parasitic twins crop up when a twin embryo develops in the uterus, but the pair does not fully separate. This results to one embryo fully developing while the other ceases development. The undeveloped twin is therefore called parasitic, due to its dependency on the body functions of the completely developed twin. Rudy Santos’ sibling had an extra leg, a couple of arms (including shoulders, and an extra pair of nipples all attached to his pelvis. This earned him the stage name “Octoman”. Another baby born with a parasitic twin was Manar Maged. The parasitic twin was composed of a head attached to Manar. The head could smile and blink, but could not survive on its own. Manar Maged died a few days after the operation that removed the second head.