A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

20 Weird and Amazing Things That Only Happen in the Summer

There are some things about summer that are a no-brainer: s'mores around the campfire, fireworks on the 4th, and flip-flops on your feet. But have you heard about goats in trees and why relationships fizzle in the warmer months?

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It isn’t just warm weather, the countdown to the first day of summer, beaches and sunsets that make summer so special. There are many other small facets that add to the magic of the season and some of these little differences actually scientifically only occur during the warmer months.

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Bumble Dee/Shutterstock

Oui! The Eiffel Tower is taller

The Eiffel Tower gains about six inches in height during the warmer summer months. The famous landmark is mainly constructed of metal which expands in heat. In addition, the top of the tower may shift away from the sun by as much as seven inches due to the thermal expansion on the side facing the sun.

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A Geminid Meteor in the night sky over Lake Norman in North Carolina

Dazzling meteor showers

The Perseid meteor shower in August is an annual favorite of amateur stargazers—and according to NASA, 2019’s will be one of the best ever. We can thank the new moon for that, as it will provide an optimal viewing experience that allows the shooting stars to shine. The Perseids are active from July 17 to August 24, but they’ll peak on the nights of August 12 and 13th. Head away from house and city lights to for the best viewing ability, and you’ll be oohing and ahhing as as many as 100 meteors per hour zoom by.

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Baby Sea Turtle Tracks at Sunrise
Tommy Daynjer/Shutterstock

Bon voyage, baby turtles!

Sea turtle walks are a popular event on Florida beaches in June and July when huge mama turtles weighing in at around 200 to 250 pounds come ashore to lay their eggs. About two months later, the tiny and adorable sea turtles hatch but they don’t just make a run for the water. They wait until the sand cools, which is usually at night, and begin their journey to the water. If you’re lucky enough to see them at night, don’t shine any light on them. It could really interfere with their sense of direction and set them off course. Check out some more photos of precious baby turtles.

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Ambulance cars in hopital.

Avoid the ER in July

Don’t panic if you end up in the ER this summer, but a report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found the most dangerous time to go to the hospital is in July, especially if it is a teaching hospital where new doctors are trained. July is the month seasoned medical residents leave the hospital and new med students arrive. Death rates increase between 8 to 24 percent in July.

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Sparkler. Female hand holding a Bengal fire

Your chances of getting burned are greater

It doesn’t matter if you’re ten or 48 years old, waving a sparkler on the 4th of July is a time-honored tradition we all love. Unfortunately, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission Fireworks Information Center says those sparklers can heat up to 2,000 degrees—enough to melt some metals and your skin. In fact, in 2017, sparkler-related injuries sent 900 people to the emergency room. When you use them safely and correctly, fireworks can be fun too!

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Adorable newborn lies in the crib

Moody babies

A 2014 European College of Neuropsychopharmacology study revealed that babies born during the summer are more prone to mood swings and babies born in cooler months were more—pardon the pun—chill. Scientists in the study aren’t exactly sure why this happens, but neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin may be influenced by the season in which you are born. Just don’t let this study dictate your mood. By the way—here’s what the summer solstice means for your zodiac.

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Checking the glucose level with a glucometer

If you have diabetes, this can happen

Injection sites change in the summer due to excessive heat; the blood vessels get bigger and when insulin is injected it can be absorbed faster putting you at risk for low blood sugar. Get inside and cool off for a few minutes, then do the injection and remember to keep your insulin at a temperature below 86 degrees.

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Rocket Photos - HQ Stock/Shutterstock

All day, every day, sun

The Midnight Sun (visible sun for 24 hours) is a natural phenomenon that occurs around the summer solstice each year and lasts for several weeks. Northern lands, including Canada, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Russia, and Alaska all benefit. In Barrow, Alaska, for instance, the sun doesn’t set for two-and-a-half months! These are some interesting summer solstice facts you likely never knew.

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Goat feeding in argan tree. Marocco

Crazy climbing goats

Every June, goats climb 30 feet or more up the thorny and gnarly Argan trees of southwest Morocco to get a taste of the tree’s fruit, which looks like a shriveled up apple. It’s a scenario that seems like only kids could imagine but these goats were made for tree climbing. They have two-toed hooves, which spread out to give them balance and leverage. The soft soles of the goat’s hooves help them grab onto the bark and their dewclaws give them the ability to pull themselves up branches.

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Night firefly light

Blink if you want to mate

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina hosts a massive meet and mate night for fireflies. These synchronous fireflies show up in the thousands every summer for two weeks of synchronized blinking to attract mates. They have to act fast because even though the larvae takes one to two years to mature, once born, fireflies only live for around 21 days.

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Whale watching

A whale of a good time

Fall in New England may be picturesque with brilliant foliage but you may want to travel during the summer to witness the whales as they swim into these warm waters for their annual nutrient-enriched feeding frenzy of krill, herring, mackerel, and other schooling fish. The most common sightings include the Humpback, Finback, and Minke. Once the water starts to cool they head to warmer waters to mate and breed.

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Bear catching fish
Julie Meyer/Shutterstock

Bears fishing

Summertime in Alaska brings out the four-legged fisherman in groves as wild bears gather around the various streams and falls and fish for sockeye salmon. Thousands upon thousands of salmon swim together upstream, but many don’t get a chance to spawn with the bears waiting to grab them for lunch. It’s not unusual for a bear to spear hundreds of salmon each day during spawning season.

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 Blow out candles on birthday Cake
Jaktana phongphuek/Shutterstock

You probably have a birthday party to attend in September

Nine out of ten birthdays occur in September with September 9th and 19th as the two most popular days to enter the world. Maybe it’s the spiked eggnog or the warm fuzzy feelings of the holidays, but more people are frisky during December and holiday miracles are conceived. If you were born in the summer, this is what we know about you!

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Close up shot of young people eating popcorn in movie theater, focus on hands.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Summer is full of drama

According to Fortune magazine, we’re not heading to the theaters as much because let’s face it, it’s pretty comfy to stream something on Netflix and watch in your pajamas with your own microwave popcorn, but major motion picture studios still invest millions on what they hope will be summer blockbusters. If you think about it, you probably saw blockbusters such as Jaws, E.T., and Star Wars during your summer vacation. Keep the tradition going!

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The starry sky captured Karoo National Park, South Africa, in winter. The Pleiades star cluster, Orion and Taurus Constellation clearly visible.
Fabio Lamanna/Shutterstock

Sirus-ly, it’s hot!

The “dog days of summer” (July 3 through August 11) has nothing to do with our beloved earth-bound furry companions, but “dog” is part of the equation. According to National Geographic, the dog star named Sirius appears to rise just before the sun, in late July. The Greeks and Romans referred to these as the hottest times of the year. The Egyptians referred to Sirius as the Nile Star and when they saw it rising before dawn, they knew the Nile would flood the banks and make their ground more fertile. Here are a few fascinating summer solstice traditions from around the world.

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Cheerful woman with engagement ring

D-Day for couples with kids

According to research from the University of Washington, more parents divorce in March and August than any other months. The ever-present family-activity calendar likely prompts parents to file. After all, who wants to ruin the winter holidays or summer vacation with a divorce and custody issues? The late summer filings coincide with the upcoming school year. Relocating or enrolling kids in a new school nudges on-the-fence parents to call their attorney.

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Young sporty active woman dressed swimsuit runs in the ocean with surf board in sunny day. Surfer girl walking with board on the sandy beach.
Photo Book Pro/Shutterstock

It burns when you pee after wearing a swimsuit all day

If you’re under 40 and female, your chances of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI) in the summer are fairly high according to this study published in the Open Forum of Infectious Disease online. In fact, hospitalization for a UTI spiked for this age group. Summer heat and humidity provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to hang out in your urinary tract. And when that happens, you’ll know it. It burns when you pee and you feel like you have to go every five minutes. Wearing a damp swimsuit all day, not drinking enough water, or holding in your pee because you just can’t walk to the beach porta-potty are all no-no’s.

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Natural shot of grilling sausages on barbecue grill. BBQ in the garden

That’s a lot of wieners!

Summer is hot dog season for a few reasons: It’s the favored portable food when you’re camping, at the ballpark, or a family picnic. Americans eat a whopping estimated 20 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. We might need a little more mustard because that equates to 70 hot dogs per person annually. See the best place to get a hot dog in every state.

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Sunset lightning storm over southern Florida during the peak wet season.
Jeff Gammons StormVisuals/Shutterstock

You have more thunderstorms if you live in these areas

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service, if you live in the lower Midwest and Southeast parts of the United States, you’re going to get more rain in the summer. These areas are more humid and high humidity and warm temperatures are a ripe formula for thunderstorms. It seems summer air can hold a lot more water vapor than colder air in the cooler months and once those clouds can’t hold anymore, they let it go and BOOM, you have a summer thunderstorm! You probably didn’t know these facts about thunderstorms.

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sad depressed woman thinking on bed in luxury bedroom

Summertime sadness

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) has two seasons: Winter and summer. More people suffer from winter SAD than summer SAD, but the causes and symptoms are generally the opposite. For example, research points to too much sun causing an overdose of vitamin D in the summer versus too little in the winter. Instead of overeating, with winter SAD, summer SAD sufferers actually experience a loss of appetite. Anxiety and poor body image, along with comparing yourself to your friend’s social media highlights are also contributing factors. Sleep patterns are off too. With summer SAD, insomnia keeps you up, causing irritability and moodiness. Whether you love summer or dread it, you should know these easy life hacks to make your summer breezier.

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, Family Handyman and Taste of Home, among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center.