Everyone's child goes through that curious questioning phase. Your son may still be going through it, or maybe your daughter has finally stopped asking you "why" every 30 seconds, but every parent has had to suffer through this constant question and answer period.
If you have a kid who likes to ask a lot of questions, we're here to prepare you with facts that you can use to distract them, stump them, or just entertain them with. They're also interesting for adults — just weight until you hear about a blue whale's tongue...
One Is Never Enough
If you live in Switzerland and own a guinea pig, you're breaking the law. The law for all Swiss citizens is if you own one, you have to own at least two guinea pigs.
Due to a law passed in 2008 by animal rights activists, you're required to own at least two guinea pigs at a time because they're herd animals and they get lonely. If one of your pets dies before the other (which is likely) there's also rent-a-guinea-pig companies to fill in legally until you get your little guy or girl a new companion.
Bellybuttons, Who Needs 'Em?
Some animals that lay eggs — like the platypus, for example — don't have belly buttons. You've never noticed but it makes sense right? What's the point of a belly button if you don't need an umbilical cord?
Platypuses, fish, marsupials like kangaroos or koalas, no belly buttons to be found! Typically, any animal that is classified as a mammal will have one, even if you're not able to automatically identify where it is, but egg-laying mammals like platypuses are the exception to the rule.
Did your daughter make her first friend at school and now she won't stop talking about what she and Jenny did at recess? Distract her with this fact: cows have best friends too.
Studies have shown that cows have friends within their herds, and if they're separated from those friends, they become stressed out and have a heightened heart rate. Farmers have also often noticed that cows will spend more time with certain cows than others in their herd, further reinforcing that they choose to have friends.
Your New Superpower
Is your son super into science right now, or maybe he's looking for his own superpower after watching Spiderman one too many times? Let him know that humans glow in the dark. That can be his superpower.
According to a study conducted in Japan in 2009, humans are bioluminescent (yes, like those fish on Blue Planet) but our glow is too dim to see with the everyday eye. Pitch it to him as "only really special people will be able to see it" and you'll be good to go.
This will be one they'll have to sit silently and think about for a while — hopefully. A blue whale's tongue can weigh as much as, if not more than, an elephant. An average-sized adult elephant can weigh around 13,000 pounds (depending on the species) and a blue whale's tongue can too.
Imagine if just one of your body parts weighed as much as an elephant. Their hearts reportedly weigh as much as a car, which is probably why they're known for being such a friendly breed. They just have lots of love to give.
Mythical Creatures Are Real In Scotland
Is your kid going through a My Little Pony unicorn phase? Whether that phase has been going on for a month or for five years, you should let them know that they can move to a country whose national animal is actually a unicorn.
That's right. Scotland's legal national animal is the unicorn! Sorry America, the eagle doesn't compare to a mythical creature. The history of unicorns in Scotland dates all the way back to the 12th century when it was first used on the Scottish royal coat of arms by William I.
It's What's Underneath That Really Matters
Is your child really into animals lately? Maybe they went on a school field trip to the zoo or they just watched the new Lion King, but now they won't stop talking about what they learned. Here's a fact you can wow them with.
Tigers don't just have striped fur, the skin beneath their striped fur is also striped. Underneath every tiger coat is something that resembles a zebra, but there's no connection there, this isn't a dual tiger-zebra fact.
Otters Are More Interesting Than You'd Think
Otters, in general, are just mind-blowing creatures, but there are a couple of things about them specifically that everyone needs to know.
First, otters hold hands with their partners while they sleep so that they don't drift away from each other. The second fact: otters have a designated pouch — like a kangaroo — for them to store food, as well as to store their favorite rock which they use to open clams or shellfish. Seriously. Could they be any cuter?
The Honorary Planet
If your daughter is super into space and absolutely will not stop telling you about that one fact that she learned about Mars, give her a new fact to talk incessantly about.
From the time that Pluto was discovered as a planet in 1930 to the time that it was demoted from planethood, it never made a full rotation around the sun. It takes Pluto 248 years to make a full trip around the block so she made it almost a third of the way!
What If Your Pet Lives 250 Years?
If your son keeps asking you for a pet, regardless of what that pet is, you should teach him about the responsibility and commitment that comes with it by telling him about Adwaita the giant tortoise.
Adwaita passed away in 2006 after living for longer than the United States has been a country. Adwaita was born around the 1750s and was estimated to be about 250 years old when he passed. So if your son wants a pet, tell him he's making a really big commitment and maybe it'll deter him!
Put A Little Boogie Into It
Is your son super into dance lately? You should tell him that bees dance too. Honeybees do something called a waggle dance to let other bees know about the direction and distance to a good patch of flowers, or to a water source, or to indicate a potential new location for a colony.
Basically, honeybees love to dance, and they'll do it for whatever reason they want. If you see a bee flying in a figure-eight type pattern, that means they're communicating with their friends!
Do You Have To Sign For Delivery?
If your daughter ever complains about the long car ride to grandma's house, let her know that the other option would be for you to mail her there! When the US Postal Service was started in 1913, there were cases of parents mailing their children to other locations, and it was far cheaper than gas.
One case in 1914 saw parents "mail" their four-year-old girl from Grangeville, Idaho, to her grandparents' house over 70 miles away because postage was cheaper than the train ticket would've been. On June 13, 1920, it was ruled that you could no longer mail children.
Cheese As A Currency
There's a bank in Italy that accepts wheels of Parmesan cheese as collateral for loans, so if your son is super into grilled cheese, let him know it's better than money — if he lives in Italy.
The Credito Emiliano bank accepts Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is exclusively found in the Emilia-Romagna region, as collateral since the wheels of cheese can be worth thousands of dollars. The wheels also need to be aged anywhere from 18 to 36 months so it's an ideal substitute for long-term investments.
Queen Of The Nile Or Of Pizza Hut?
You can shock your history-loving kid with the fact that Cleopatra actually lived closer to the creation of Pizza Hut than to the creation of the Great Pyramids.
Cleopatra, though commonly associated and depicted with the Great Pyramids, was born nearly 2500 years after they were built. On the other hand, she was only born about 2000 years before the first Pizza Hut opened. Similarly to that, she was born closer to the creation of iPhones than to the Great Pyramids. Mind blown, right?
Another fun timeline fact is that sharks are actually older than trees. Sharks have seen a lot in their existence. The earliest species that could be classified as a tree lived around 350 million years ago, whereas the first species of sharks have been around for approximately 400 million years.
Sharks have survived four global mass extinctions during those 400 million years as well. Another aquatic animal older than trees is jellyfish, who've been around for an estimated 500 million years.
American History Shows Just How Long A Generation Really Is
President John Tyler, the 10th President of the United States, has two grandchildren who are still alive today. John Tyler was born in 1790, took office in 1841, and he has two living grandchildren. Not great-great-grandchildren but direct grandchildren.
Tyler had 15 kids, one of whom was Lyon Gardiner, who was born in 1853. Lyon had 6 children, two of whom were born in 1924 and 1928, and are both still alive today at age 95 and 91.
An animal kingdom factoid for your inquisitive child is the fact that there are species of burrowing spiders that keep tiny frogs in their burrows as their own pets.
The tiny frogs are meant to keep the burrows clean by eating any bugs that are too small for the spiders to care about, but could also potentially eat the spider's eggs. These tiny frogs are basically hunting cats but for spiders, and the two work together to keep their bellies filled.
Perfect For Your Next Family Vacation
If your kid is looking for places to add to their travel bucket list and they love animals, let them know there's an entire island in Japan inhabited entirely by bunnies.
Described by one Trip Advisor reviewer as an island that will make you feel like you're a Disney character, Okunoshima Island is a tourist destination that has hundreds of bunnies living on the island. You can visit the island, feed and play with the bunnies, and there are even companies that will take you on private tours.
They'll Have To Learn The Hard Way
If you're looking for something that might distract them (for a little while) on a long car ride or in a doctor's office waiting room, challenge them to try and hum while plugging their nose.
It's not possible to hum while you hold your nose closed, which they'll eventually learn after enough trying, but it'll definitely get them to focus on something other than talking to you, so you get a couple minutes of peace and quiet and they learn something!
Get That Blood Pumping
We've got one last aquatic animal fact for you (there's just so many to choose from) to wow your lil tykes with. Are you ready? Octopuses... have three hearts. Eight tentacles, three hearts, octopuses are just a medical marvel really.
They have one heart that circulates their blood, which is inactive when they're swimming and is the reason they prefer to crawl. Then the other two hearts pump the blood through its gills, which is what the octopus uses to breathe!