Top 10 Weird And Wonderful Oddities Of Nature

Nature is full of wonder and mystery – and, fortunately for us, bizarre facts! This is not our first bizarre facts list and will definitely not be the last of one of our most popular topics! I hope you enjoy the facts.

10. Miracle Mice

Weird Fact: A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a ballpoint pen
During the summer months, mice will generally live outside and remain contended there. But as soon as the weather begins to cool, they seek the warmth of our homes. Because of their soft skulls and gnawing ability, a hole the size of a ballpoint pen (6mm – 1/4 inch) is large enough for them to enter en masse. Once inside, they will constantly gnaw at virtually anything – including concrete, lead, and plastic. This is to keep their ever-growing teeth at a convenient length. Contrary to popular belief, mice don’t generally like cheese – but will eat it on occasion. Mice can jump up to 46cm (18 inches), swim, and travel vertically or upside-down. To mouse proof your house, check all small openings with a ballpoint pen – if it fits the hole, it will let mice in.

9. Square Eyes

Weird Fact: Unlike most creatures, goats have rectangular pupils

We all imagine pupils to be round – as they are the type we see most often (on humans) – but goats (and most other animals with hooves) have horizontal slits which are nearly rectangular when dilated. This gives goats vision covering 320 – 340 degrees; this means they can see virtually all around them without having to move (humans have vision covering 160 – 210 degrees). Consequently, animals with rectangular eyes can see better at night due to having larger pupils that can be closed more tightly during the day to restrict light. Interestingly, octopuses also have rectangular pupils.

8. Blind Horses

Weird Fact: Horses can’t see directly in front of themselves

A horse has considerably wide vision (and the largest eyes of any land mammal) – being able to see a total field of up to 350 degrees. Horses have two blind spots – the first is directly in front of them and the other is directly behind their head. As far as seeing details, horses are red color blind and have vision of 20/33 (compared to a perfect human vision of 20/20)

7. Sick Rats

Weird Fact: Rats can’t vomit

Rats can’t vomit or burp because of a limiting wall between their two stomachs and their inability to control the diaphragm muscles needed for the action. Neither rabbits nor guinea pigs can vomit either. This makes rats particularly susceptible to poisoning (hence its popularity in controlling rat infestations). Because of this inability, rats will nibble at food to see if it makes them feel sick (they can’t vomit, but they can feel like they sure as hell want to!) If they don’t feel nausea they will scoff the lot.

6. Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla

Weird Fact: The scientific name for a gorilla is “Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla”
First off, let us just be clear: this is the scientific name for a particular type of Gorilla – the Western Lowland Gorilla (this is the type you are most likely to see in a zoo – and the most common). For some reason the poor gorillas got stuck with the weird names – if you aren’t a Gorilla gorilla gorilla, you are a Gorilla gorilla diehli, Gorilla beringei beringei, Gorilla beringei graueri. The Bwindi Gorilla (a type of Gorilla beringei) has not yet been given a trinomen – for the sake of fun and to be a little different, I propose it be named Gorilla beringei ChuckNorris. If you didn’t understand this item, don’t worry – I didn’t either!

5. Killer Swans

Weird Fact: A swan can break a man’s arm

Next time you are feeding the beautiful swans and want to give one a nice pat on the back – don’t do it! Swans are very protective of their young and will use their incredibly powerful wings to fend off dogs (and sometimes humans). They have a wing span of around 2.75 meters (9 feet). In 2001, a young man in Ireland had his leg broken by a swan when he was trying to provoke it. The following year another person had their arm broken.

4. Fragile Spider

Weird Fact: If you drop a tarantula it will shatter

First of all, unless you are allergic to tarantula venom, they are harmless to humans (though they pack a painful bite). Some tarantulas can also shoot the “hairs” off their legs which can pierce human skin and cause great discomfort. Now – back to the weird fact. Tarantulas have an exoskeleton (that means its skeleton is on the outside) like crayfish and crabs. They shed their exoskeleton regularly – normally by lying on their back. (When they are shedding their skeleton, it is a good idea to keep right away from them as they will attack due to their vulnerable state.) Because the exoskeleton is very fragile, if a tarantula is dropped from a low height, it will shatter and die.

3. Scary Spice

Weird Fact: Nutmeg is poisonous

Nutmeg is a hallucinigenic drug which is regularly used to flavor such lovely things as custard tarts and fruit cakes. It is also a poison which will kill you while you suffer a variety of extremely revolting (and one or two not-so-revolting) side-effects on the way. Ingesting 2 grams of nutmeg will give you similar feelings to having taken amphetamines (the not-so-revolting side-effect) but will also cause nausea, fever, and headaches. Ingesting 7.5 grams will cause convulsions, and eating 10 grams will cause hallucinations. Eating a whole nutmeg can lead to “nutmeg psychosis” which includes feelings of impending doom, confusion, and agitation. There have been two recorded cases of death by nutmeg (one in 1908 and one in 2001).

2. Shaking Leaves
Weird Fact: The telegraph plant is capable of rapid movement – even in the absence of wind 

The Telegraph plant is a tropical plant usually found in Asia – but also in the South Pacific. The plant has the amazing ability to shake its leaves (which rotate on their axis and jerk up and down). There are a few other plants with rapid movement abilities (such as the venus fly trap) but this is the most bizarre and least known. It should be noted that when we refer to “rapid” in relation to plants – it is not super fast – but it is definitely visible with the naked eye.

1. Burning Issue

Weird Fact: The Bombardier beetle shoots boiling liquid as a defense mechanism

The incredibly complex bombardier beetle has an amazing and unique ability: when threatened it shoots boiling hot chemicals from its abdomen up to 70 times rapidly. The liquid is a combination of hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinones which join together inside the beetle causing a chemical reaction. The liquid is fatal to small insects and creatures and can be very painful to humans.



Snow Wall in Japan

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is an international mountain sightseeing route some 90 kilometers (56 miles) long. The route goes across the 3,000-meter-high North Alpine mountains, the so-called “roof of Japan,” and connects Toyama and Shinano Omachi. You can enjoy the panorama by taking a train, highland bus, trolley bus, cable car, and ropeway. Since the lines opened in June 1971, the Tateyama mountain area has been transformed from an isolated spot into one of the nation’s best sightseeing areas, where a million guests visit every year.

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is an international mountain sightseeing route some 90 kilometers (56 miles) long. The route goes across the 3,000-meter-high North Alpine mountains, the so-called “roof of Japan,” and connects Toyama and Shinano Omachi. You can enjoy the panorama by taking a train, highland bus, trolley bus, cable car, and ropeway. Since the lines opened in June 1971, the Tateyama mountain area has been transformed from an isolated spot into one of the nation’s best sightseeing areas, where a million guests visit every year.

Murodo-daira of Tateyama has one of the heaviest snows in the world, and the snow reaches about seven meters (23 ft) on average. In particular, the snow mantle at Otani, a five-minute walk from Murodo Station, sometimes gets more than 20 meters (65.6 ft) because of snowdrifts. The famous “Snow Walls” are formed by expelling this heavy snow, and the 500-meter-long area with such snow walls is open to sightseers from mid-April to late May.



Top 9 Rivers

There are hundreds of rivers in the world. Some are remarkable for their length or width, others are popular for their panorama or color... This is a list of rivers that are champions in their categories.

1. The Deepest River in the World - Congo River

The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of 230 m (750 ft). It is the third largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon. Additionally, its overall length of 4,700 km (2,920 mi) makes it the ninth longest river.

2. The World's Longest River on an Island - Kapuas River

Kapuas River

The Kapuas River (located on the island Borneo) is the longest river in all of Indonesia, stretching for 1.143 km (710 mi) linking Pontianak to Sanggau as well as the Sintang and Kapuas Hulu Regencies. It is also the world's longest river on an island, a little longer than the Sepik River (1,126 km or 700 mi),the longest river on the island of New Guinea. Kapuas river rises in the mountains of Kapuas Hulu near the border with Sarawak, Malaysia, and flows west. It empties into the South China Sea about 20 km south of the city of Pontianak. The river drains the extensive Lake Sentarum area, an extensive protected reserve of wetlands and freshwater lakes, and intermittently flooded forests.

3. The Largest Sinking River in the World - Trebišnjica

Trebišnjica River is a river in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It used to be a sinking river, 96,5 km (60 mi) long above the ground. With a total length of 187 km (116 mi) above and under the ground, it was the largest sinking river in the world.

4. The World’s Shortest River - Roe River

The 61m (200 ft) long Roe River is a weird river. It is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s shortest river. It is a river that runs between Giant Springs and the Missouri River in Great Falls, Montana, USA. Since 2006, the Guinness Book of Records does not list a shortest river category anymore.

5. The Most Colorful River in the World - Caño Cristales

Caño Cristales is a Colombian river located in the Serrania de la Macarena, province of Meta. The river is commonly called "The River of Five Colors," "The Liquid Rainbow" or even "The Most Beautiful River in the World" due to the algae produced colors like red, yellow, green and blue at the bottom of the river giving it a unique appearance.

Caño Cristales

6. The World’s Dirtiest River - Citarum River

Citarum River is a weird river located in West Java, Indonesia. It is considered as the world’s dirtiest river. Walungan Citarum, its local name, has an important role in the life of the Javanese people. The river is economically and agiculturally important but the river is heavily polluted by human activity. There are approximately 5 million people who live in the basin of the river. A $500 million worth of loan had been granted by a prominent bank for the cleaning of the very polluted Citarum River.

7. The World's Highest Major River - Yarlung Zangbo

The Yarlung Tsangpo River is the highest major river in the world. Its longest tributary is the Nyang River. In Tibet the river flows through the South Tibet Valley, which is approximately 1200 km (745 mi) long and 300 km (185 mi) wide. The valley descends from 4.500 m (14.750 ft) above sea level to 3000 metres (9.850 ft). As it descends, the surrounding vegetation changes from cold desert to arid steppe to deciduous scrub vegetation. It ultimately transitions into a conifer and rhododendron forest. The tree line is approximately 3,200 m (10.500 ft).

8. The World's Widest River - Rio de la Plata

Rio de la Plata

Many people believe that Amazon is the widest river in the world, which is not true at all. Amazon is basically the largest river in the world, and the credit for this goes to its length of 6.400 km (4.000 mi) - which also makes it the second longest river in the world next only to river Nile in Africa. The distinction of being the widest river in the world goes to South American river - Rio de la Plata, which boasts of a maximum width of 140 mi (225 km). Rio de la Plata is formed as a result of confluence of two rivers - River Uruguay and Paraná River in South America. Even though it is a river, Rio de la Plata behaves more like an estuary owing to which it is typically characterized by a mixture of freshwater and seawater.

9. The Longest River in the World - Nile

Nile River

Nile River in Africa, is the longest river on Earth. Nile River flows along the 6.650 km or 4.132 miles and flow through nine countries: Ethiopia, Zaire, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, South Sudan and of course Egypt. The Nile has a very important role in the civilization, life and history of the Egyptians since thousands of years ago. One important role from the Nile is the ability to produce fertile soil as a result of sedimentation along the river basin. By the existence of this fertile soil make the inhabitants of Egypt can develop the farming and the Egyptian civilization developed since thousands of years ago.


The Beauty of Antelope Canyon

The Navajo call it ‘the place where water runs through rocks’ and that is literally true. One of the most unearthly places on the planet, take a look at the astounding Antelope Canyon.

The peculiar formation of a slot canyon can make for an eerie experience and certainly the Antelope Canyon, on the lands of the LeChee people of the Navajo Nation is one of the stranger places you might choose to visit if your budget doesn’t quite run to a space shuttle. The shuttle, though, never lands on alien planets – yet you can still get the experience for very little here on our very own third rock from the sun.

One almost expects to turn a corner and run in to a group of Vulcans performing one of their weirder ceremonies. Pointed ears aside, however, this place is very much down to earth and is one of the most visited slot canyons in the world. It is easy to see why. Its out of this world beauty is capable of transforming the visitor, as it were, to another world. Split in two parts, the Upper and Lower canyons have their origins in pre-history. It is little wonder that the Navajo revere them so greatly.

Light somehow manages to find a way through the walls of the canyon, despite its narrowness. The color of the rock is a giveaway to those in the know – the walls of the canyon are made of sandstone. And one thing that sandstone is susceptible to is water. The medieval cathedrals of Europe will slowly weather away under the aqueous precipitation of the millennia. So it is with the Antelope Canyon – in fact it owes its existence, in one of the driest places on earth, to the erosive qualities of life sustaining H20.

With a leap of the imagination, this gorgeous view upwards of twin light tubes allows us to believe we are privy to the blueprints that Mother Nature surreptitiously provides for the continuous evolution of the canyons. The spirals show us where the water has slowly but persistently eroded the sandstone through the ages. Can any man-made structure match the sheer grace of this canyon below the ground?

So how exactly was this beautiful canyon formed? Although you might hesitate before accepting the fact, for the most part it is due to flash flooding. There are other sub-aerial processes involved as well but rainwater during the monsoon season is the primary culprit (if one were to assign anything like blame for this marvel of nature). There are large basins above both parts of the Antelope Canyon and the rain gathers here until it reaches a kind of critical mass.

When this happens it gushes in to the canyon. Over the thousands of millennia it took to create the full effect the water slowly but inexorably made the corridors of the canyons deeper and steeper. The hard edges of the rock were inevitably worn down and formed the flowing shapes on the rock face. So it was not the work of mighty and ancient Navajo spirits (perhaps…) but of the sheer tenacious persistence of the elements. Flooding still happens to this day – as recently as 2006 a thirty six hour flood forced the tribal authorities to close the lower part of the canyon for half a year. The sand arising from the erosion gets everywhere.

As can be imagined, this natural phenomenon attracts photographers (and more casual tourists) like bears to honey. However, a permit must be obtained nowadays as it was announced a Navajo Tribal Park in 1997. Although it may for some spoil the picture, as it were, to get an idea of the sheer scale and depth of the canyon it is perhaps a good idea to place someone down there – just to get a sense of perspective.

Although these pictures belie the fact, photography is pretty difficult to get right here due to the necessarily wide exposure range needed to get the picture right. This is due to the fact that light reflects off the walls of the canyon like a ball on a table tennis board. Ping pong, ping pong. Although I initially hesitated to include a picture with a human presence this does something to give an impression of the sheer scale of the canyon.

The upper canyon is known by the Navajo as ‘the place where water runs through the rocks’ and the lower as ‘spiral rock arches’. The former is the most visited as its entrance is at ground level, as is its entire length. Thus the tourist does not need to climb – and the famous beams of light are more prevalent in the upper canyon. They can be seen at their best in the summer months when the sun is at its highest in the sky. Between March and October each year the canyon gives the visitor the feeling of being on a beautifully shot Hollywood set – is that Indiana Jones disappearing around the corner?

The lower canyon has stairways to facilitate human travel to its base. Even with these aids to the tourist it is a much more difficult proposition than the upper, situated a few kilometers away. It is quite easy to stumble as the footing is never quite even but this should not deter the visitor even though, unsurprisingly, casual visitors are rarer in the lower.

Due to the danger of rain in the monsoon period, visitors are not allowed to visit the canyon on their own – they must take a tour guide with them. Flash floods can happen, well, in a flash and there was a tragedy in 1997 when eleven tourists were killed by a flood. The only survivor, without irony, was the tour guide who had had training in dealing with swift flowing water. As a result of this the stairways were fully bolted in to place and there are even cargo nets at the top of the canyon which can be deployed to ‘catch’ people in the event of a flood.

So, like so many other things in nature, Antelope Canyon is beautiful but can be deadly too. It remains, however, a superlative example of the inexorable power of nature and a reminder to us that there are many things more powerful on this planet than the human race.