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Amazing Facts About Puerto Rico
Top Facts About Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rico was discovered by Christopher Columbus on November 19, 1493. It was his second of four expeditions to America.
- One of the ships, discovering today's Puerto Rico (named after rich resources, especially gold, and obviously a port), was called San Juan. San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico, it's the largest and most populous city, the second oldest city in America established by Europeans (after Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), and also the world's busiest ship port.
- Puerto Rico is not an independent country in a classic sense. Officially it's an unimported territory of the United States of America with full name Free Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. There were several referendums about the political status of Puerto Rico in the last decades and the option of becoming one of the US states was always rejected. A tourist needs to obtain the same kind of visa to visit Puerto Rico as if he would visit the USA.
- Puerto Rico became part of the US after the treaty ending the American-Spanish war in 1898. Before that USA unsuccessfully tried to buy Puerto Rico from Spain for 120 million dollars.
- The Puerto Rican flag was designed in 1895 as a sign of solidarity with the Free Cuba Movement. It basically the same as the Cuban flag with red and blue colors reversed. The influence of the USA is shown only after 1952 when the tint of blue was changed to a darker tone and now looks more like blue in the US flag.
- Puerto Ricans pay no federal income tax if their earnings come from the territory only. They, however, pay other kinds of local taxes and are also included in the US Social Security System.
- The official currency of Puerto Rico is the American dollar. But they call it peso or dolar.
- Noche de San Juan is held every June 24 in honor of the patron saint of the city (St. John the Baptist). Millions of people enter the sea at midnight and dunk their heads seven times in a row.
- Puerto Rico has the only tropical forest without snakes. It's also the only tropical forest on the list of US Forest Service.
- A frog called coqui is small but the loudest amphibian in the world. It's an endemic species and one of the most known unofficial symbols of Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, it's already on the list of endangered species.
- The largest rum distillery in the world (Bacardi) is located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They produce more than 100 thousand liters of rum every single day. There are more than 40 other brands of rum on the island. Pina Colada was officially invented in hotel Hilton in San Juan. Rum has 400 years of tradition in Puerto Rico which is the only country in the world with a minimum age for rum. It has to stay in a barrel at least one year before it can be sold.
- Barceloneta, a municipality in Puerto Rico has so clear water it needs almost no treatment for use in pharmacy. Consequently, there's the largest pharmaceutical complex with 14 industries in the world. Other interesting characteristics of Barceloneta are huge pineapple plantations and blue sand beaches.
- Cockfighting is legal (and very popular) sport in Puerto Rico with special stadiums built for it.
- The leatherback sea turtle, the largest known reptile, lives in Puerto Rico.
- There are no native mammals in Puerto Rico. All are 'imported' from other countries. There was a barkless dog living in this area (already recorded by Columbus) but is extinct today.
- The first winner at the Academy Awards (Oscars) was not American, but Puerto Rican: Rita Moreno. Several celebrities come from Puerto Rico: Rosie Perez, Jimmy Smits, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Benicio del Torro, Tito Puente, ... Five Puerto Ricans won the title of Miss Universe so far.
- Playa Quique Bravo in Rincon is known as the best beach for surfing in the world.
- One of the biggest tourist attractions of Puerto Rico is a system of numerous caves (about two hundred altogether), made by one of the largest underground rivers in the world. Speleologists believe only about 20 percent of all caves is already discovered.
- Another top attraction is a 100-foot waterfall Salta (sometimes Chorro) de Dona Juana, a cascade, composed of three connected waterfalls with a pool at the bottom where visitors can swim. It's pretty easy to climb up to the top with a spectacular view on surrounding mountains.
- Arecibo Observatory, located in Puerto Rico but operated by Cornell University, was the largest telescope in the world for more than 50 years (until 2016) telescope in the world. Its collecting dish has 305 m in diameter. It's featured in several popular movies (like Contact with Jodie Foster).
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Amazing Facts About Frogs
1. There are almost five thousand known species of the frogs. Toads are included. Biologists don't really treat them differently. They all belong to the same group of animals.
2. Frogs don't drink! They absorb all needed moisture through the skin.
3. Several species of frogs have so translucent skin you can see their internal organs. They are called glass frogs.
4. Paedophryne amauensis is a frog species which grow only up to 0.8 cm what makes it the worlds smallest known vertebrate.
5. The hairy frog Trichobatrachus robustus is sometimes also called the horror frog. It owes its name to hairy (1) body and ability to break its own bones and stick them out of the skin to shock the enemy. It's able to retract the bones later and completely heal the wounds.
6. Only 5 cm long golden poison dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis) possess enough poison to kill up to 20 adult men.
7. Waxy monkey tree frog (Phyllomedusa sauvagii) produces a mix of alkaloids with narcotic power forty times stronger than morphine. Native Indians in Peru used this skin excretion called Sapo or Kambo before hunting or going on the warpath because it is an extremely powerful painkiller. It also suppresses hunger, thirst, and tiredness, intensifies sensitivity of senses, increasing physical strength at the same time. Medicine is still trying to find a way to safely introduce it in pharmacy, but owners of racehorses already abuse it.
8. Frogs, especially their legs, are popular in several world cuisines. The raising demand put frogs on the lists of endangered species in many countries, many are already extinct, due intensive hunting the natural balance and agriculture in many parts of the world were ruined, but frog farming introduced new problems - escaped animals became invasive species in new environments.
9. Most frogs are able to jump about twenty lengths of their bodies (for a human that would be more than thirty meters!) and some of the frogs living in the trees are also successful gliders being able to glide up to fifteen meters from the starting point.
10. Suriname toad (Pipa pipa) has a unique way of reproduction. A female lays eggs in batches of three to ten. These eggs are caught in the holes on their backs where tadpoles hatch and grow up to the fully developed toad stage.
11. There are also species of frogs which carry the fertilized eggs in their stomachs until tadpoles hatch and are then carried up to another two months - to jump out of the adult's mouth as fully developed frogs.
12. Each frog species has its own specific sound. Some are croaking, others barking, chirping, clucking, whistling, ...
13. Common coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) is the loudest known frog. With a call reaching one hundred decibels it equals the sound of the power lawn mower. Coqui frog is one of the symbols of Puerto Rico.
14. Frogs are extremely elastic and squishy animals capable to urinate out (!) a radio transmitter of a quarter of their lengths stabbed in their backs in a matter of a few days. It looks the evolution forced them to learn how to get rid of any foreign object out of the organism in order to survive.
15. Many frogs have extremely powerful tongues, being able to build the forces up to two times bigger than their own weight. Imagine being able to catch and pull a 150 kg pig with the sheer power of your tongue!
16. Holy Cross frog (Notaden bennettii) from Australia deserts produces the strongest non-toxic glue in the world. They spend nine months of the year underground. When it rains they come to the surface and numerous insects try to bite them. Instead of that, they are trapped on the skin which is shed later to provide a tasty and nutritious meal to the frogs.
17. Torrent frogs (Odorrana tormota) are able to communicate with each other on a chosen frequency (including ultrasound) being able to hear whatever they want no matter how much noise is in their surrounding. They also use the sound for locating possible mating opportunities.
18. Australian green tree frogs (Litoria caerulea) are able to live in deserts where there is no rain for months. They are hiding in hollow trees during the days, leaving them in the colder nights when they collect condensed water from air which is drunk through their skin.
19. Frogs are the only vertebrates immune to mosquito bites thanks to special repellents produced on their skin. Unfortunately, these repellents are too stinky to use among humans but there is still hope to find a way in the foreseeing future.
20. Every year when a frog goes into a hibernation a new layer of calcium sheath is formed around the bones. You can count these to find frogs age just like you can count the tree rings to find the age of a tree.
21. Frogs in captivity can live up to 20 years.
22. Frogs regularly shed their skin. Most of them do that once per week and some even every single day! After that, they usually eat it.
23. Frogs swallow with a power of their eye muscles. When they catch a pray in their mouths, they retract eyes and push the food in their stomachs!
24. The eyes of the frogs have usually excellent night vision. They are able to see in all ways at the same time - front, back, and both sides.
25. There is a frog in Indonesia (Barbourula kalimantanensis) which breaths through its skin only. It has no lungs!
26. While most frogs just lay their eggs and leave them, some are actually very devoted parents. The male of strawberry dart frog species guards the eggs and regularly waters them to keep the amount of moisture in safety measures.
27. The biggest frog in the world is Goliath frog. It lives in West Africa and weights up to three kg.
28. The world smelliest frog species lives is Venezuelan skunk frog (Aromabates nocturnus) and produces the same compound as skunks.
29. Frogs are around at least for two hundred million years. They lived before dinosaurs, they survived them but are today, thanks to the human race, more endangered as ever before.
30. The wood frog living in the Arctic Circle uses glucose in its blood as an antifreeze to survive even up to two-thirds of its body is frozen.
31. While most of the frogs live in fresh water some species adapted to live in areas with salty waters as well.
32. Their amazing transformations, adaptability, and fertility earned frogs many places in stories, myths, fables and fairy tales all over the world. The most known of all is probably The Frog King by Brothers Grimm.
33. Thanks to the close connection of frogs with water, life, and fertility they are widely considered as a sign of good luck and a popular motif on talismans.
34. A dream about the frog should always be explained in the context of the dream and the dreamer, but in most cases predicts important changes. Dreaming about a frog when you are in a serious relationship often means disappointment, cheating or similar unpleasant event in your love. The bigger the frog, bigger the problem or obstacle to solve or overcome. But if a frog is in the grass, it can mean you are about to meet somebody new and this person will soon become very important in your life. If you are dreaming about catching the frog, this may be a sign of illness, but if you are eating the frog, something good, probably in the field of finance, awaits for you in the near future.