17 Strangest Laws from Around the World

The law is expected to be black and white, but sometimes, it’s more like a rainbow. Some laws from other countries are so strange and unexpected that they’ll make you wonder if you’ve stepped into a world where logic took a vacation.

This is a list of some of the stranger laws we found.

1. Cutting Cactus in Arizona Gets You 25 Years in Prison

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In Arizona, they take their cacti seriously. They take it so seriously that if you’re caught cutting one, you could be looking at 25 years behind bars.

The sentence is because these cacti are crucial to the desert ecosystem. Plus, they’re a symbol of Arizona’s unique landscape and heritage. That’s why it’s not only against Mother Nature to take a souvenir from the desert but also a big no-no according to the law.

2. Don’t Run Out of Gas on the German Autobahn

Empty Gas Can
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In Germany, keeping your gas tank topped up while cruising on the Autobahn is more than a suggestion — it’s the law. German highways are all about efficiency and speed, and they don’t have time for stranded vehicles causing chaos. That’s why planning your pit stops wisely and keeping that gas tank full is essential.

3. Voting in Egypt Is Compulsory

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Voting isn’t just a civic duty in Egypt — it’s mandatory. Every eligible citizen must cast their ballot in elections.

Egypt takes democracy seriously and expects its citizens to do the same. Compulsory voting isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. It ensures that everyone’s voice is heard and that elections reflect the people’s true will.

4. U.S. Bingo Games Shouldn’t Last More Than 5 Hours

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In the U.S., bingo sessions are like Cinderella at the ball — they can’t go past midnight, or in this case, five hours. This rule isn’t about spoiling the fun; it prevents bingo addiction and binges. After all, too much of a good thing can lead to tired eyes and drained bank accounts.

5. Never Destroy Turkey’s Currency

Image Credit: By Chi Ho Chan from Hong Kong – Turkey 250000 lira banknote, CC BY 2.0, WikiCommons.

It’s a big no-no to mess with Turkish currency. Whether you’re tearing it, burning it, or scribbling on it, destroying Turkish money is strictly forbidden.

As with most countries, Turkey’s currency symbolizes its economy and stability. Defacing it could confuse or even undermine confidence in the nation’s financial system.

6. No More Than 50Kgs of Potatoes in West Australia

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In Western Australia, there’s a spud-tacular rule you won’t believe: no hoarding potatoes. This rule aims to prevent people from monopolizing the potato market and ensuring everyone gets their fair share of spuds.

This doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your favorite root veggie. It just means you’ll have to make more frequent trips to the store to stock up for your potato fix.

7. Never Forget Your Wife’s Birthday if You’re in Samoa

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In Samoa, forgetting your wife’s birthday isn’t just a slip-up — it’s practically a crime. There is a cultural expectation that husbands remember their wives’ special day.

Family and relationships are everything in Samoa. Forgetting your wife’s birthday could be seen as a sign of disrespect and neglect, and nobody wants to be in the doghouse for missing such a momentous occasion.

8. Police in Ohio Can Bite Dogs

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There’s a law in Ohio that might make you do a double-take: In certain situations, law enforcement officers are permitted to use their teeth to subdue aggressive canines.

This controversial tactic is reserved for extreme cases where an aggressive dog poses an imminent threat to public safety or the officers themselves.

9. No Reincarnation in China Unless You Have Permission

Image Credit: Hao Wei – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Reincarnation is regulated by the state in China; it’s not a philosophical or religious concept. Surprisingly, you need official permission to even consider returning for another round of life.

This rule primarily applies to Tibetan Buddhists and explicitly targets the selection process of the next Dalai Lama. The Chinese government aims to assert authority over religious practices by requiring permission for reincarnation.

10. No Splashing Water on Pedestrians in Japan

Tokyo, Japan
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Before jumping in a puddle in Japan, you may want to think twice since there’s a rule that you should not splash water on pedestrians.

This rule isn’t just about keeping pedestrians dry. It’s about fostering a culture of respect and mindfulness. By discouraging splashing, Japan promotes harmony and consideration among its citizens, even amid rainy weather.

11. Don’t Chew Gum in Singapore

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Singapore’s law makes chewing gum illegal in most cases to keep the city clean and orderly. In the past, discarded gum caused significant headaches for maintenance crews by holding up the work on public transportation and creating a mess on sidewalks.

So, to maintain Singapore’s reputation as a clean and pristine city-state, the government implemented strict laws against chewing gum.

12. Never Feed Pigeons in San Francisco and Venice

Image Credit: Toby Hudson, Own Work – CC BY-Sa 3.0/Wiki Commons.

The San Francisco and Venice governments believe feeding pigeons can lead to some pretty messy situations. Pigeons are notorious for their prolific breeding and messy eating habits, and feeding them can attract large flocks that create unsanitary conditions and damage property.

The next time you’re tempted to share your lunch with a pigeon in San Francisco or Venice, remember that it’s best to let the birds feed themselves.

13. Don’t Step on Currency in Thailand

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Images of the king of Thailand appear on the currency, and the Thai people hold their monarch in the highest regard. Most homes and businesses have portraits of the king and royal family on the walls.

Stepping on money, therefore, is seen as a sign of disrespect towards the monarchy and the nation as a whole.

14. Never Honk in New York City

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The city that never sleeps expects you to refrain from honking your horn. This law all comes down to maintaining some semblance of peace in a city that’s already buzzing with activity.

With streets crowded with pedestrians, cyclists, and cars, unnecessary honking adds to the chaos and can annoy residents and visitors alike.

15. Headlights Remain on in Scandinavia

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Never forget to turn on your headlights as long as you’re in Scandinavia, even if the sun is shining. With long and dark winters coupled with frequent fog and snow, visibility can be a real challenge for Scandinavian roads.

This bright idea helps improve drivers’ visibility and makes it easier for other road users to spot vehicles, reducing the risk of accidents.

16. Flush by 10 p.m. in Switzerland

Electronic control panel of toilet sanitary ware with automatic flush system, japan toilet bowl
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Toilets in Switzerland have a bedtime rule of 10 p.m. It’s all about noise pollution. In Switzerland, many buildings are packed together. Since sound travels quickly between apartments, late-night flushing can disturb neighbors and disrupt their sleep, leading to complaints and conflicts.

And in some buildings, the earliest you can flush is 7 a.m.

17. Don’t Climb a Tree in Toronto

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Climbing trees is an innocent pastime, but don’t try it in Toronto. Climbing trees is risky in general, and the city has implemented rules against tree climbing to prevent accidents and potential lawsuits.

While it might seem like a bummer for outdoor enthusiasts, you can still enjoy Toronto’s green spaces safely by taking a walk or having a picnic.

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