Crazy President Facts

When you think of the men who have been United States presidents, you likely picture serious figures in fancy suits.

But, there’s a lot more to the presidents than people think. Here are some interesting facts you may not know . . .


John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents, were friends and rivals.

They both died on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after they signed the Declaration of Independence.


John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, had a pet alligator. It was a gift from the French general who had helped George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

The alligator was given its own room, with a bathtub, in the White House.


The police once stopped Ulysses S. Grant, the eighteenth president, for driving his horse-drawn carriage too fast. The police gave him a ticket and took away the carriage.

And this was while he was the president! Even presidents have to follow the laws.


James Garfield was the twentieth president. He was ambidextrous. This means that he could write with either hand.

He could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other . . . at the same time! What a talented president!


Do you know where the “teddy bear” got its name? During a hunting trip, a guide tied a bear to a tree for Theodore Roosevelt, the twenty-sixth president, to shoot.

Bad idea? Roosevelt thought so, too. He said it was unsportsmanlike. He did not shoot the bear. Teddy bears were named after him for this act of kindness.


Woodrow Wilson, the twenty-eighth president, had a learning disability. He wasn’t able to read until he was ten years old.

But, that didn’t stop him from doing well in school. He is the only president to earn a Ph.D.


The thirtieth president, Calvin Coolidge, had a pet hippopotamus named Billy.

It was a pigmy hippo, which means it was not as big as a regular hippo. Billy spent most of his life in the zoo. A lot of Billy’s relatives are still in zoos today.


Just like John Quincy Adams, Herbert Hoover, the thirty-first president, had a pet alligator – two, in fact!

Herbert Hoover’s son kept two pet alligators. The alligators were allowed to wander around the White House yard.


Before he became president, Gerald Ford, the thirty-eighth president, was a fashion model. He was on the cover of Cosmopolitan, a famous magazine.

Ford was also an accomplished athlete. He could have played in the National Football League if he had wanted to.


And finally, would you believe it? Barack Obama, the forty-fourth president, likes comic books!

When he was a young boy, President Obama had a pet ape named Tata.

What is it with presidents and weird pets?


Which president fact are you most surprised about? Why?

Many presidents had weird pets. Which pet do you think is the weirdest? Why?

This book does not include every president. Can you name any of the presidents that are not in this book?


FAZ Reading Level Detail

Lexile Score 720
Word Count 496

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