December 27, 2023 | Jennifer Crump

Disgusting But Interesting Facts


Remember that kid in elementary school who would do anything for a laugh? He'd eat worms or roll in the dirt if it meant the attention of the class. Gross, right?

Well, it turns out human beings have a natural predisposition to be fascinated by the gross and disgusting. Yet there are some things so gross they're best left unknown.


42. If it doesn’t cure you…

Boiled toads were once thought to cure for rheumatism.  Not salivating at the thought of ground up boiled toad? Try this: rotted mice were fed to children to cure bed wetting.

The next time you catch yourself complaining about the 21st century, take a moment to say a prayer for the poor child who peed the bed 400 years ago, and got to eat a mouse as a result. Maybe go thank you parents now. They may not have been perfect, but things could have been a lot worse.

Disgusting But Interesting Facts

41. Can’t leave your phone? Consider this.

A London study found that one out of every six cellphones has fecal matter on it. And if that isn’t enough to get you to put it down (or at least wash it), an Arizona microbiologist found that cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than toilet seats!

Now that we all know this, each of us is confronted with a pretty painful dilemma: is it still worth it to scroll the internet while we're on the john? I mean nobody wants fecal matter all over their hands... but... it can get pretty boring just sitting there.

Retail Workers Disturbing Moments FactsShutterstock

40. The grossest thing in your house?

Apparently it's not just your phone spreading the nasty...

Kitchen sinks contain more bacteria than either garbage pails or toilets! How gross is that?

We all have that one sponge (it's the one so brown it blends in with the dishwater) which should have been retired long ago. Maybe this fact is enough for some of us to finally put it out to pasture.

 

Disgusting factsPixabay

39. They do what on your food?

Flies eat poop and transport a wealth of bacteria, including typhoid and dysentery on their bodies. That’s not the worst of it. When they land on your food, they also vomit a mixture of saliva and enzymes to break it down so they suck it up using their tongues. And their eggs? They lay them on rotten flesh to hatch maggots.

Espionage factsPixabay

38. You can attract more with honey. Literally.

If flies didn’t bother you before, they almost certainly are about to.

Misconduct is a problem that has vexed rulers for millennia. After all, it seems some portion of the population is just always going to flaunt the rules. However can we stop the menace? Lock up? The capital penalty? Stern letters?

The ancient Egyptian King Pepys had a more... ruthless solution. He would slather a slave in honey and the flies would flock to smell. Eventually, they would begin to feast. Suffice to say, said slave never misbehaved again.

Animals FactsWikimedia Commons

37. Who needs a pool?

As disgusting creatures go, the vulture comes in a close second to the fly. They live on rotted flesh – in fact they prefer it! And when a vulture is hot, they cool off by excreting (yes, pooping) on their own legs.

Disgusting factsPixabay

36. Gross by any measure

The hagfish would make a gross list based on looks alone. But it qualifies in other ways too. It is blind, toothless and feasts on old flesh. Hagfish look for openings in carcasses and then enter and eat the body from the inside out. For defense, they rely on mucus: when in danger, they can project up to 17 pints of it at their attacker.

Disgusting factsWikimedia Commons

35. What’s in that spitball?

Most people have seen images of hippos enjoying a mud bath. But the balls of goop they appear to be playfully flinging at each other are actually a disgusting mixture of their own urine and poop. The idea is to mark their territory and perhaps to humiliate their foes at the same time.

Disgusting factsFlickr

34. Gross is where the heart is

Frankenstein author Mary Shelley had a pretty gross secret hidden away in her desk: her passed husband’s heart. When her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, drowned in a boating accident, he was cremated, but his heart remained intact. Physicians believe it might have been calcified due to tuberculosis. Whatever the cause, it was eventually given to Mary and discovered in her desk when she passed a few years later.

History’s Greatest Mistresses quizGetty Images

33. Would the dentist still recommend?

Not crazy about the taste of toothpaste? Mint isn't exactly everyone's cup of tea...

Then again, it's not terrible.

The Romans, for their part, used powdered mouse brains.

So consider yourself blessed.

Cheats Codes for Life factsPixabay

32. Imported mouthwash

Looking for a fresher mouth? The Romans would use imported Portuguese urine, yes imported pee. It was so popular that Emperor Nero had to tax it and it remained a popular mouthwash until the 18th century.

Disgusting factsShutterstock

31. One more flavour of mouthwash

Looking for a different flavor of mouthwash? Tortoise blood was also once used to disinfect the mouth and clean teeth.

Animals FactsWikipedia

30. What’s in your coffee mug?

Bodily excretions are the things that creep people out the most but consider this: 40% of office coffee mugs contain coliform bacteria – poop according to several studies. Takeout it is! Worried Woman With Coffee And Phonebnenin, Adobe Stock

29. Extra protein

Everyone eats insects. The FDA’s Defect Levels Handbook states allowances for dietary staples. Foods like broccoli, canned tomatoes, and corn contain “insect fragments:" heads, antennae, wings, thoraxes, legs – and even whole bugs. Fig paste is allowed 13 insect heads per 100 grams; canned fruit juices can contain four maggots per litre; and 10 grams of hops can legally contain 2,500 aphids. Let's not get into the allowances for rat hair...

Russell Brand factsPixabay

28. A side of larvae with that?

Fine... we'll get into the rat hair. The FDA limits the number of rodent hairs that can be found in peanut butter to 5 per 100 grams.

Twisted FactsMax Pixel

27. Cannibalized airmen

In 1944, nine American airmen were shot down over the Japanese island of Chi Chi Jima. Eight were captured, chopped up, cooked, and served to Japanese officers in everything from gourmet stir fries to special skewered appetizers. The ninth man, who escaped, was George HW Bush who would eventually become the 41st President of the United States.

US Presidents factsGetty Images

26. Bloodbath

The Asian giant hornet is two inches long with a quarter-inch-long stinger. It can inject venom that dissolves human flesh and can paralyze the nervous system. But even grosser is what they will do to honeybees. If they encounter a nest, they mark it to attract other giant hornets. Then they attack, chopping up the defenseless bees by dismembering them in a frenzied bloodbath that can destroy up to 30,000 bees in just three hours. They leave behind a pile of heads and limbs.

Disgusting factsWikimedia Commons

25. Gross cures

History is full of interesting cures. Ancient Egyptians crushed a pig’s eye and mixed it with red ochre (a common dye). They poured the mixture into a patient’s ears as cure for blindness.

Egyptian Pharaohs FactsShutterstock

24. The ultimate gross revenge

When he discovered that his wife had cheated on him with another man, Peter the Great had the man ended. He forced his wife to keep her lover’s head in a jar of moonshine in her bedroom. The head, still in it’s jar, is now kept on display at the Kunstkamera museum in St. Petersburg.

Disgusting factsShutterstock

23. Who loves jellybeans?

Who doesn't love a good jelly bean!? Colorful, shiny treats that are full of sugar... You just can't get better than that, can you? Even Dumbledore loved them (although the Harry Potter variety can get a little more nasty than our real world candies).

But perhaps our jelly beans don't have as many differences from Berty Botts Every-Flavor Beans as you think. After all, their colourful, shiny exterior is actually covered in a shellac, which is a compound made from bug excretions.

Yum.

Disgusting factsPixabay

22. The human snake connection

Before you read on, savor this moment. It's the last time you'll believe that you've got nothing in common with a snake.

Human beings can shed up to 40 pounds of skin in their lifetimes. Not so different from snakes really, just a lot more skin!

Disgusting factsShutterstock

21. Twice in your life

It's a common misconception that people never bathed during the Middle Ages. They did. But then the Christian church authorities proclaimed that public bathing led to immorality, promiscuous intercourse, and diseases. In response, many curtailed their bathing. Queen Isabella of Castile proudly claimed to have bathed only twice in her entire life!

Medieval England FactsWikimedia Commons

20. Where does it go?

Snot is gross. That much is a pretty universally accepted fact. Indeed, if you're ever looking for an opinion to share with friends and family that is basically guaranteed to be met with agreement, you almost certainly can't go wrong with saying that snot blows.

So what's grosser than snots itself?

Maybe that humans produce 1 liter of snot every day.

RIP tissues.

Craziest Excuses factsFlickr

19. It seems pretty harmless but...

What’s gross about a sneeze? Well, first it is composed of snot. Second, it’s hard to escape! The spray from a sneeze can travel up to 30 to 60 miles an hour and fly up to 30 feet in the air.

When you move beyond how utterly gross that is, it's kind of amazing though, no? The things we're capable of... Behold, the marvels of the human body! We're so majestic.

Weird Laws FactsWikipedia

18. Headless and still horrifying

Cockroaches can survive for a week without their heads, and a decapitated cockroach can still wiggle its antennae.

When the nuclear apocalypse comes, the roaches will be laughing all the way to the burned out ruins of the bank.

And the Jellyfish will control the seas.

Nicolas Cage factsPixabay

17. Gross defense

The regal horned lizard has a unique way of fighting off predators. It shoots foul smelling blood out of its eyes... straight into the attacker’s mouth. Don’t worry though, they seldom use this technique on humans.

Disgusting factsWikipédia

16. Green is good. Or not.

The Prasinohaema lizard has green bones, green muscles and even a green tongue. It also has green blood that is extremely poisonous.

Disgusting factsWikipedia

15. Supper anyone?

15th century Romanian ruler Vlad the Impaler was the inspiration for Dracula and had a uniquely gross way of dealing with his opposition. He invited hundreds of them to a banquet and had them impaled on long sharp poles. His contemporaries reported that he also had a penchant for consuming the blood that dripped from of some of his victims, hence the Dracula connection.

Scandalous Historical FactsWikimedia Commons

14. A grisly graveyard

There are over 200 corpses of climbers and Sherpas on Mount Everest. The extreme weather prevents their removal and preserves them, creating grisly reminders of their sad demise.

Astonishingly, the bodies are actually used by some climbers as waypoints (or landmarks) to help guide them in their quest up the mountain. This is because if a climber dies, they are likely on the well-trod path to the summit.

50 Year Anniversary Of Conquest Of Mount Everest.Getty Images

13. Where that smell is really coming from

Disgusted by something that just smells bad? Consider this – you are smelling it because the molecules of whatever it is are actually sticking to the inside of your nostrils. In the case of farts, it's not poop you're inhaling... it's intestinal gas. Comforting.

Employees should have been fired factsShutterstock

12. Unwanted guests

Doctors in India recently removed a 6-foot-long tapeworm by pulling it through a man’s mouth. Which probably went down in his diary as a really terrible day.

Tapeworms can grow up to 80 feet long by some reports and are often caused by consuming raw pork or beef.

Trashiest Holiday factsPixabay

11. Chew your hair? Chew on this.

Another set of doctors removed a 14-pound hairball from a woman. The woman suffered from trichophagia, a condition in which people compulsively consume their own hair. Before they discovered the hairball, she suffered from severe pain and had lost 84 pounds.

Disgusting factsShutterstock

 

10. The grossest of jewels

How about a jewel made from a bundle of hair, vegetable fibers, and food that forms in the stomachs of humans and animals? They’re called bezoars, and Queen Elizabeth had one in her crown jewels. Other royals put them in their drink glasses, and they were even believed at one point to offer protection against poison.

Disgusting factsWikimedia Commons

9. Ending for parts

Two men named Burke and Hare were responsible for a series of murders in the 1880’s. Their victims were used to provide body parts for surgeons to practice on. One of the men, William Burke, became a victim himself when he was hung for his deeds and his skin was distributed to collectors. Famous author Charles Dickens reportedly had a piece of Burke’s skin that he used as a bookmark.

Unsolved Mysteries FactsShutterstock

8. What he could he do with a hammer?

A performer by the name of Brad Beyers who goes by the show name “The Human Toolbox” drilled through his head with an electric drill. He has also hammered a nail through his face and hung a wooden board on it and pushed an icepick up his nostril.

Disgusting factsPixnio

7. Frogs bring vomit to a new level

Vomit is always gross but it's how frogs do it that makes it a whole lot worse. When a frog vomits, its entire stomach spews out and hangs out of its mouth. The frog then digs out the contents of the stomach and swallows it back down again.

Animals FactsWikimedia Commons

6. But was it the chemicals or the smell that worked?

The ancient Egyptians used crocodile dung as a contraceptive. Early North American women soaked dried beaver testicles in booze and then drank the solution.

Steve Irwin QuizWikipedia

5. Frankenfish

It sounds like a comedy sketch, but the snakehead fish is also known as “frankenfish” because of its predatory nature and long rows of razor sharp teeth. A voracious predator, the snakehead consumes everything it encounters and can even go on land if it runs out of prey in the water. It has pseudo lungs that allow it to breath and propels itself forward across land by wiggling. It eats everything from other fish to small mammals and birds and will even turn on other snakeheads.

Disgusting But Interesting FactsWikipedia

 

4. Cat ladies be warned!

If you passed and your body remains undiscovered, your dog will likely wait a long time before it resorts to eating you. Cats on the other hand will only wait a day before they begin to consume you.

And they’ll start on the most tender parts, your face for example.

Nice kitties...

The Weirdest Wills FactsFlickr

3. Literally giving the finger

The women of the Dani tribe in Indonesia cut off parts of their fingers to mourn the passing of a loved one. The finger is tied with a string to numb it, and the stump is burned to cauterize it.

Embarrassing Crush MomentsFreepik,wayhomestudio

2. Dancing with the perished

Once every seven years, the Malagasy of Madagascar unearth their passed to dance with them. The ritual allows the spirits of the passed to join the ancestors after the body has fully decomposed.

Disgusting factsWikipedia

1. An evil twin?

You’ve probably heard stories of twins being consumed by the other twin, but here is the gross truth. Most are benign tumors called teratoma. Teratoma tumors have been discovered containing human hair, bone and even teeth! Some contain organs and are thought to resemble small humans. Teratoma tumors are often formed at birth, although people often don’t realize they have them until later in life.

Disgusting factsWikimedia Commons

 

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31

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