The world’s weirdest laws: 7 things you won’t believe are actually illegal 

As we know, every country in the world does things a little bit differently – but it’s pretty universal to have a set of enforceable laws designed to maintain order, reflect the nation’s values and – above all – keep its citizens safe. Most of them make a lot of sense. However, there are some that are a little more ‘out there’.

Whether they were brought in as a response to one specific event or are just no longer relevant in modern society, the world is full of things you won’t believe are against the law! 

Here are some of our favourite surprising laws from around the world: 

It is illegal to have a sleeping donkey in your bathtub after 7pm in Arizona 

This law was introduced in 1924, when a donkey belonging to an Arizonian merchant was washed down into the valley after sleeping in the merchant’s bathtub. When the local dam broke, the town was flooded – and hundreds of people spent lots of time and energy to save the donkey. Thankfully, they were successful – and the donkey survived! However, the people of Arizona wanted to avoid similar situations in the future, so this very unique law was passed soon afterwards. 

It is illegal to forget your wife’s birthday in Samoa 

Forgetting about the birthday of someone you love is pretty bad form in lots of places, but in this Polynesian island country it’s a VERY serious mistake to make. Yep, in Samoa you could be facing actual law enforcement if your wife’s special day slips your mind – which we bet the women of Samoa are probably quite pleased about! 

It is illegal to hold salmon under ‘suspicious circumstances’ in England and Wales 

This law was passed in 1986 as part of the ‘Salmon Act’, which was put in place to stop illegal salmon fishing in the UK. Supposedly, if someone was seen to be ‘suspiciously’ holding salmon, that was enough to accuse them of such a crime. Illegal salmon fishing isn’t something we’re in favour of – but ‘holding salmon under suspicious circumstances’ is a pretty odd reason to get arrested! 

It is illegal to get drunk and ride a cow in Scotland 

There are a lot of cows in Scotland – and apparently enough people riding them while intoxicated for this law to be in place! It also prohibits anyone from drunkenly taking care of a horse, carriage or steam engine. We’re not sure what happened in Scotland for this law to be enforced, but it sounds like a pretty interesting story! 

It is illegal to allow your chickens to cross the road in Quitman, Georgia 

In lots of English-speaking countries, there’s a classic joke that goes: ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ – and the answer is: ‘To get to the other side’ The joke isn’t very funny – but Georgia’s law made us laugh! Basically, it’s there to make sure that animal owners keep their chickens in check, which does actually make a lot of sense. 

It is illegal to eat an orange while having a bath in California 

Unless the police have secret cameras in every bathroom (spoiler alert: they definitely don’t!), we’re not sure how they’d enforce this one – but it’s a real law that actually exists in the state of California! It was thought that the citric acid found in oranges could react with the natural oils in the bath, causing an explosion. Of course, we now know that not to be true at all – but the law still exists today! 

It is illegal to wear a Winnie the Pooh t-shirt in Poland …or any Winnie the Pooh merchandise! 

If you’re anywhere near a playground or school, that is. Yep, this cuddly little bear is banned in certain spaces in Poland, because he doesn’t wear any pants! If you’re unfamiliar with this popular children’s cartoon, he loves eating honey, has lots of woodland friends – and he only ever wears a little red t-shirt. A bit too risqué, apparently! Are there any weird and wonderful laws where you live? Let us know in the comments! 

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Alice Dunbar

Hi, I'm Alice and I'm one of the Senior Content Editors at INTO. I love how studying abroad brings different cultures and nationalities together, helping make the world a more exciting and compassionate place. In my spare time, I enjoy crafts, blogging, cooking, documentaries and singing along to musicals – loudly!

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