Kids are curious beings. They are at a stage when they want to learn and make use of every possible point in time. So, as parents and adults, it sometimes gets hard to always provide them with new and interesting knowledge to quench their thirst. But fret not. We bring to you 15 interesting facts that you can share with your kids and amaze them. Here are 15 simple yet mind-boggling facts to amuse your kids.
1. When a bee is chosen to be the next queen, she is given a special royal jelly that she has exclusive access to. No other bee can get a taste of the royal jelly. It’s only for the queen.
Soon-to-be-queen bees are given a special royal jelly which is white in color and is secreted by the worker bees. Scientists earlier believed that by making the royal jelly unavailable to the other bees, it was made sure that none of the other bees had the potential to turn into a queen. But now, they have discovered that it’s the other way around. Not feeding normal pollen and honey to the future queen is what makes her royal rather than her exclusive access to royal jelly.
Basically, normal honey made from plants has a component known as phenolic acid. Scientists conducted an experiment in which they fed two groups of bees with different diets. One had phenolic acids, and the other that did not. Surprisingly, the bees on the diet that had phenolic acids showed shrinkage in their ovaries! Now, a queen bee is different because she is the only bee in the hive that lays eggs. So, the bees cannot take the chance of her ovaries shrinking. Hence, she is not fed normal honey and pollen. In order for her to have enough food, the other bees are forbidden from enjoying the royal jelly, a name that seems to be quite misleading now. (source)
2. Some spiders keep tiny frogs as pets so that they can guard their eggs.
Tiny frogs and large spiders share a similar bond to humans and dogs. This type of connection is primarily seen between the dotted humming frog, Chiasmocleis ventrimaculata, and the burrowing tarantula, scientifically known as Xenesthis immanis. There is a mutual benefit in this relationship. The spider protects the tiny frog from becoming food for predators, while the frog, on the other hand, protects the eggs of the spider from extremely small insects that the spider is unable to catch. Also, these extremely small insects become a food source for the frog.
But how do the frogs stop the spiders from eating them? Well, the spiders recognize their pet frogs with the help of chemical cues. Scientists have observed the tarantulas picking up the frogs, examining them with their mouths, and letting them go. Seems like they have a good system in place. (source)
3. It snows on Venus. but instead of earth-like snow, the snow in Venus is made up of metals.
Space is an amusing place filled with stars that are incredibly hot, areas that are freezing cold, black holes, supernovas, and what not. Now, finding a place in this list is Venus with her snowy metal. At the top of the mountains located on Venus, a layer of snow was detected by experts. Since the temperature on Venus is crazy hot, sometimes as high as 480°C, it cannot be real snow. It was discovered that this snow-looking stuff was actually a combination of two metals – bismuthinite and Galena.
The snow is created when the minerals on the planet vaporize because of the searing temperatures and enter the atmosphere as metallic mist. This mist, after reaching high altitudes, condenses and then falls back on the planet as “frost.” Layers and layers of it give the impression of it being snow. (source)
4. A baby panda, during its birth, is smaller than a mouse.
When baby pandas are born, they sometimes weigh less than a pound! That is impossibly small, considering adult pandas weigh more than 200 pounds. Dajun Wang, a wildlife biologist, explains that the reason behind baby pandas being so small is bamboo. Pandas survive only on bamboo and that gives them very little nutrition. They can easily convert the bamboo they eat into milk, rather than tissue and muscle. So, as an evolutionary breeding strategy, the babies are born small so that they get enough nutrition from the milk produced by their mothers. And eventually, they get bigger in size. Also, since the baby is tiny, the mother does not require too much energy to take care of the little one. Hence, the balance is ensured. (source)
5. Bees convey the news about the discovery of nearby flowers to their friends in the form of dance.
During the summer, honeybees fly longer distances as compared to the other seasons in search of food. They go in groups to forage for food for the entire hive. So, when they actually locate food, they communicate their find to their fellow bees through a dance.
Researchers observed a type of “waggle dance” that bees perform. They observed the dance for two years before being able to decode the meaning behind it. Apparently, the angle between the dancing bee and the sun, combined with the duration for which the bees waggled in a pattern forming the figure eight, tells the location of the food they found! This is actually incredible! The researchers were able to map the location with that data. (source)
6. Otters have special pockets on their skin to store their favorite rocks.
Sea otters using rocks to crack open shellfish such as crabs and clams are a common sight. They are seen using rocks to hit abalone shells and make them loosen their grip on the seafloor in just 15 seconds. What many people don’t realize is that some sea otters have a favorite rock, a rock that has been of great service to them. They don’t walk around wearing clothes with pockets to store their favorite rock. So what they do is use flaps of loose skin as pockets to store their favorite rock! These loose skin flaps are located under both forearms. Apart from their favorite rock, they also store food items. (1, 2)
7. There’s an island in Japan populated only by fluffy, cute bunnies.
Okunoshima, an island in Japan, must be the cutest island in the world. The reason for that is the entire island is populated by hundreds of cute rabbits that just roam around and enjoy their life there. Before the time of the rabbits, the island had a dark past. During World War II, the Japanese army used the island to secretly produce poison gas. There is a Poison Gas Museum on the island, but the cute rabbits are doing a good job of diverting the tourists’ attention away from the island’s dark history.
Although there is no exact explanation for the arrival of rabbits on the island, there is one probable explanation. During the war, when the Japanese army was secretly producing poison gas on the discreetly located island, a colony of rabbits was unfortunately brought to the island for lab test purposes. Some people believe that the current rabbits are descendants of the rabbits who were released by the army once the war ended.
There’s one more theory that goes around. It is said that a group of school children brought eight rabbits to the island. Since the island is devoid of any predators, the population of the rabbits kept on growing leading to the current large population. But considering the discreet location of the island, it’s hard to believe that some school children came to the island on their own. (source)
8. A polar bear’s skin is black.
This takes many people by surprise. Polar bears are residents of the coldest place on the planet. Their thick coat of fur and the thick layer of fat provides them with the insulation required to survive the coldest environment. Fur even grows on the bottom of their paws protecting them from cold surfaces while helping them to get a good grip on slippery ice.
But, underneath their white furry coat, they have black skin. Black skin helps polar bears to better soak-in the warm rays of the sun. (source)