Unlike us pathetic humans, there are plenty of creatures around the world who do just fine in chilly weather. These animals have all found ways of dealing with harsh conditions, whether that be by changing their behaviour or evolving their bodies. So, if you’re the type of person who started whining about the cold as soon as summer was over, spare a thought for these guys…
Some people say lightning never strikes twice in the same place. These people obviously haven’t heard of the Catatumbo lightning in Venezuela, which has been striking the same spot almost continuously for centuries!
Teotihuacan, the name given to this ancient city by the Aztecs, translates as “birthplace of the Gods.” If you think this makes it sound like the Aztecs were overly pleased with their building skills, think again – they didn’t build the city, they just found it. Amazingly, by the 14th century when the Aztecs rose to dominance in the area, Teotihuacan had already been abandoned for around 600 years.
Sometimes called Brazilian grapes, jabuticaba fruit are big purple berries, 3-4 cm in diameter. Unusually, rather than growing in bunches, the fruit grows all the way up the tree’s trunk and leaves it looking like it might have a hideous disease.
A rambutan is a soft, white-fleshed fruit (similar to a lychee) covered in a red spiny skin. The word rambutan is Indonesian for “hairy”. This is fine as a description of how it looks, but really needs something more to make it clear that they’re talking about a fruit – the tree that the rambutans grow on is also called rambutan (and that isn’t even hairy) so there’s bound to be some confusion.
The fruit of the thatch screwpine is made up of many little wedges, each containing between two and eight of the plant’s seeds.
The salak is a type of palm tree which grows its fruit in clusters at the base of the plant (rather than dropping it on you from above, like some other palm trees I could mention).
A noni is a type of mulberry, but one which is far too ugly to have a handbag named after it. The fruit can reach up to 18cm long and looks like some kind of gross, larval blob – like it might suddenly split open and a horrible insect will climb out and fly towards you.
Buddha’s hand is a citrus fruit originating in India or China. Judging by its appearance, it’s 50% lemon and 50% squid (figures are approximate).
I’m not sure if it says something about the Philippines, but the people who live there certainly believe in a lot of strange creatures. Of course there are giants, mermaids and vampires – all the usual ones – but there’s also manananggal (a monster who can split in two and the top half flies off), pasatsats (ghosts of people who died, specifically, in the Second World War) and Tikbalang (a misdirecting horse/man/horse).