Can carrots really help you to see in the dark?

Our lovely marketing manager Nicola Gray celebrates the publication of the paperback edition of Chickens Can’t See in the Dark by sharing a whole host of weird and wonderful chicken and carrot facts.

9780192756800_CHICKENS_CANT_SEE_DARK_CVR_JAN13This month we are celebrating the publication of Chickens Can’t See in the Dark in paperback, a fun story with the added bonus of encouraging kids to eat their carrots! It’s the tale of a plucky young chicken called Pippa and her quest to find the truth behind the Old Hens’ tale that chickens cannot see in the dark. Pippa stumbles upon the theory that carrots are the answer to her chicken conundrum and that a feast of carrots is all that is needed for night vision.

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 But can carrots help you to see in the dark?

It’s not just chickens who have believed that munching carrots have this beneficial side effect. During the Second World War, Britain’s Air Ministry spread the rumour that eating carrots helped their pilots to see Nazi bombers attacking at night. Although experiments had been conducted into carotene contained in carrots and night blindness, no enhancement of night vision was found. In fact, this rumour was used to cover the Royal Air Force’s latest radar equipment to prevent the Germans from finding out about their new technology.

The lie was so convincing that it spread amongst the English public who began to grow and eat more carrots to help them to navigate more easily during blackouts. So there we have it, it’s a myth.

Or is it? Carrots are known to contain lots of Vitamin A, an important vitamin for healthy vision, so there is an element of truth in Pippa’s carrot theory.

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Crazy carrot factoids

While we’re on the topic of carrots, I’ve got a few more facts up my sleeve to astonish and amaze:

  • Did you know that the world’s longest carrot measured 5.841 m (19 ft 1.96 in) and was grown by Joe Atherton, for the UK National Giant Vegetable Championship in Somerset?
  • Eating three carrots can give you enough energy to walk three miles. I’m not personally volunteering to try this one, if anyone else does please do let me know if it’s true.
  • Carrots can be found in colours other than orange. There are varieties in purple, white, yellow, and red.
  • The record for the largest amount of carrots peeled chopped in one minute is held by James Martin. He peeled and chopped 515 grams of carrots for a Children in Need special of Ready Steady Cook.
  • Off on a slight tangent, did you know that the fastest marathon dressed as a vegetable is 3 hr 09 min 21 sec and was achieved by Michael Neville dressed as a carrot at the Virgin London Marathon on 25 April 2010?

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Feathery facts

And for those of you who would like some enlightenment on our feathered friends, fear not, I also have a selection of top chicken facts:

  • The scientific name for a chicken is Gallus domesticus. The word chicken is of Germanic origin.
  • Believe it or not, according to one article, the chicken is the closest living relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex.
  • Chickens are not capable of sustained flight. Rubber chickens however are! A group of students in California sent a rubber chicken to an altitude of 120,000 ft to test the levels of radiation it would be exposed to.

It’s all well and good sharing these facts with you, but I now have an intense craving for carrot cake. I’m consoling myself that it must count as one of my five fruit and vegetable portions for the day. Or at least might help me see in the dark.

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Nicola picNicola Gray is Marketing Manager at OUP Children’s Books



Chickens Can’t See in the Dark is out now in paperback, hardback and eBook format.

3 thoughts on “Can carrots really help you to see in the dark?

  1. Next time I have three miles to walk, I know to take three carrots.
    All interesting to know.

  2. Sally Prue says:

    Carrots: the solution to global warming?

    This is a lovely post!

  3. Valentina Fazio says:

    Very interesting facts to know, thanks Nicola!! And I will remember to eat three carrots if I am to run 3 miles:)

    Really amazing post!!

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