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20 Strange and Unusual Facts That Sound Too Scary To Be True!

11. There is a parasite which destroys the tongue of a fish and then itself replaces the tongue for the rest of its lifespan, essentially transforming itself into a living, parasitic, but fully functioning and otherwise harmless tongue is known as Cymothoa Exigua.

Cymothoa exigua
Image source: reddit

The tongue-eating louse, Cymothoa Exigua, is a parasite of the Cymothoidae family. This parasite enters a fish through its gills. After entering the fish, these parasites sever the blood vessels present in the tongue of the fish, causing the tongue to fall off.

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Females are 8–29 millimetres long and 4–14 mm wide, while males are approximately 7.5–15 mm long and 3–7 mm wide. Once the tongue falls out, the parasite attaches itself to the stub of what was once its tongue and becomes the fish’s new harmless tongue for the rest of its lifespan.(source)

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12. There is a brain-eating amoeba (Naegleria Fowleri) that lives in fresh water bodies. It can kill a human in seven days. Death rate is 98% and there is no effective treatment against it.

Brain Eating Amoeba
Image credits: CDC/ Dr. Govinda S. Visvesvara/Wikimedia Commons

Naegleria Fowleri is an amoeba found in warm bodies of freshwater such as rivers, lakes, hot springs and ponds. It is also found in hot water heaters, near warm-water discharges of industrial plants, and in poorly chlorinated, or unchlorinated swimming pools, soil, poorly maintained municipal water supplies in an amoeboid or temporary flagellate stage. There is no evidence of it living in salt water. If a human being gets infected by it, then fatality rate is 95%.

The onset of primary symptoms include changes in taste and smell, headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and a stiff neck. Secondary symptoms include  hallucinations, lack of attention, ataxia, seizures and confusion. After the start of the symptom, the disease rapidly progresses in the brain of the sufferer, leading to death after 7-14 days of the infection.

No effective treatment of Naegleriasis, also known as Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), Amebic Encephalitis, and Naegleria infection has been found yet.(source)

13. Discovered in 1976, the Megamouth shark is an extremely rare species. Only 60 of them have ever been seen.

Megamouth shark
Image source: imgur

In the year 1976, the first Megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios), an extremely rare species of deep water shark got discovered about 25 miles off the coast of Kane’ohe, Hawaii when it got entangled in the Navy ship of the United States. It was a total of 5-m (14.7-ft), 750-kg (1,650-lb) in height and weight respectively – a sensational discovery. It was the smallest of the three extinct planktivorous sharks, the other two being the Basking Shark and the Whale Shark. In the past 40 years, just 61 specimens of Megamouth shark have known to have been caught. Three of such catches have also been recorded.

Megamouth Sharks have rubbery lips and large heads. As their name signifies, they swim with their mega mouths wide open. Specimens of this distinct shark has been found in waters of different areas – Hawaii, Mexico, California, Australia, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, Senegal, Ecuador, Japan, Philippines and Taiwan.(source)

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14. In the South African nation of Lesotho, there is an airstrip where the pilot rolls the airplane off a cliff and drops until there is enough airspeed to fly. Very few pilots are trained enough to handle the airplanes in such scary conditions.

Matekane Air Strip
image source: www.claytor.com

It is a common occurrence to fly off a cliff at the Matekane Air Strip, located in the country of Lesotho in South Africa. The runway is perched at a height of 7,500 feet, on a narrow mountain airstrip and has a 2,000 feet drop, off a cliff! There have been instances, when planes have failed to obtain the required speed on the 1,312 feet long tarmac and plunged off the cliff to take flight. There are very few trained pilots in the world who can successfully manage take offs and landings in such scary situations.(source)

15. By the time they are 70, two out of three Australians will be diagnosed with Skin Cancer.

skin cancer australia
Image source: oncologynews.com.au

Skin cancer occurs when skin cells are damaged – for example due to overexposure from ultraviolet sun rays.

It has been found that in Australia:

  • 80% of all newly diagnosed cancer is Skin Cancer.
  • General practitioners have over 1 million Skin Cancer patient consultations annually.
  • 95% to 99% Skin Cancer is caused by exposure to the sun rays.
  • In Australia, almost 14% adults, 24% teenagers and 8% children are sunburnt on an average summer weekend.
  • Many Australians get sunburns when they are taking part in watersports and activities at the beach or pool, as well as during gardening or barbecue.
  • Many Australians get tanned knowingly. Almost half Australian adults still hold the belief that a tan looks healthy.
  • Some people who use fake tans mistakenly believe that it will provide them with protection against UV radiation. As a result, they may not take sun protection measures, putting them at greater risk of Skin Cancer.

Australians need to bust myths, else they will always rank highest in the number of Skin Cancer patients – two to three times the numbers in Canada, US and UK. (source)

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