50 Awesome Facts You Probably Had No Idea About

We’ve been learning a lot from reading National Geographic Kids’ new book 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything) 2. If you need a great conversation starter, here are 50 of our favorite awesome facts from the book.

1. In 1889, the Queen of Italy, Margherita Savoy, ordered the first pizza delivery.

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2. You can buy eel flavored ice cream in Japan.

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3. It’s considered rude to write in red ink in Portugal.

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4. Although the bobcat is rarely seen, it is the most common wildcat in North America

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5. A cat’s tail contains nearly 10 percent of all the bones in its body.

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6. Gecko feet have millions of tiny hairs that stick to surfaces with a special chemical bond and let them climb walls and hang on by just one toe.

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7. The term “astronaut” comes from Greek words that mean “star” and “sailor.”

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8. The calcium in our bones and the iron in our blood come from ancient explosions of giant stars.

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9. The Nile crocodile can hold its breath underwater for up to 2 hours while waiting for prey.

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10. Jellyfish, or jellies as scientists call them, are not fish. They have no brain, no heart, and no bones.

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11. The Chinese giant salamander can grow to be 6 feet (1.8 m) long, making it the largest salamander in the world.

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12. People reportedly prefer blue toothbrushes over red ones.

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13. Some people used to believe that kissing a donkey could relieve a toothache.

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14. Scientists say that the best time to take a nap is between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. because that’s when a dip in body temperature makes us feel sleepy.

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15. Because the speed of Earth’s rotation changes over time, a day in the age of dinosaurs was just 23 hours long.

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16. Hummingbirds’ wings can beat 200 times a second.

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17. There are more than 1,200 water parks in North America.

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18. A seahorse can move its eyes in opposite directions—all the better to scan the water for food and predators.

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19. To cook an egg, a sidewalk needs to be 158°F.

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20. A group of jellyfish is not a herd, or a school, or a flock; it’s called a smack.

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21. It would take 100 Earths, lined up end-to-end, to stretch across the face of the sun.

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22. Less than 1 percent of Antarctica is ice-free.

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23. The highest wave ever surfed was as tall as a 10-story building.

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24. The Beagle Brigade, used in 21 international airports in the U.S., keeps a yearly average of 75,000 illegal items out of the country.

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25. Some apples can weigh about as much as a half gallon (2L) of milk.

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26. Corn is grown on every continent except Antarctica.

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27. Unlike most fish, seahorses are covered in bony plates instead of scales.

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28. You lose about 50 to 100 hairs a day.

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29. “Armadillo” is a Spanish word meaning “little armored one.”

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30. The world’s smallest fruit—a utricle—is the size of a small ant.

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31. New Jersey has the highest concentration of shopping malls.

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32. Komodo dragons can devour 5 pounds (2 kg) of meat in less than a minute. Any extra fat they eat is stored in their tails.

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33. Not all moons are dry and dusty like ours. Jupiter’s Europa has a liquid ocean under an icy crust.

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34. Some Viking chiefs were buried inside their ships.

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35. At any moment, clouds cover about 60 percent of Earth.

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36. All apes laugh when they are tickled.

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37. Spotted hyenas can digest skin and bones.

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38. The quills on African porcupines are as long as 3 pencils.

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39. Scientists believe that people who dream about an activity will actually get better at it in real life.

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40. Your hair contains traces of gold.

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41. In Japan, instead of a “man in the moon,” people see a “rabbit in the moon.”

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42. Depending on the speed of the wind, some clouds travel up to 100 miles per hour (160 kph) across the sky.

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43. Naked mole rats are sometimes called sand puppies.

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44. Opal has been discovered on Mars.

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45. George Washington loved exploring caves.

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46. It takes a gallon and a half of milk (5.7 L) of milk to make a gallon (3.8 L) of ice cream.

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47. The TV remote is the dirtiest item in a typical household, hospital, or hotel room.

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48.The Hercules beetle can grow big enough to cover an adult human hand.

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49. The finest quality emeralds are more valuable than diamonds.

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50. Hearing is the fastest human sense. A person can recognize a sound in as little as 0.05 seconds.

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For more incredible facts like these, pick up 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything) 2, in bookstores now or available online here.

All images courtesy of iStock.

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