Strange and unusual laws don’t just exist in the United States, but can be found in all corners of the globe.

Here are a handful of random examples.

•In Israel, it is illegal to bring bears to the beach.

So next time you plan an outing to the sunny shores of the Mediterranean, you best tell your 5-year-old son to leave Teddy at home.

•In parts of Sweden, it’s illegal to flush the toilet after 10 p.m.

I guess that means that sometimes when you gotta go, you gotta go quietly.

•In Switzerland, it’s illegal to own just one guinea pig. 

It’s considered animal abuse because they’re “social beings and get lonely.” I guess rabbits have a way of handling that themselves.

•It’s illegal to take a selfie with Buddha in Sri Lanka.

The idea is that when taking a selfie with Buddha requires turning you’re back on him, and that’s a sign of disrespect that’s punishable by imprisonment in the island nation off of India.

•Being a jerk is illegal in the Philippines.

Wow, what a great law! I can think of a few people who might be behind bars if we had something similar here.

•You can’t give your baby a strange name in Denmark.

The Danish government has a list of 33,000 names new parents must stick to. So you’re not likely  to find a kid named North (Kanye West), Moon Unit (Frank Zappa) or Dweezil (Zappa again) there.

•Men aren’t allowed to wear skirts in Italy.

Note to Scotsmen: Remove the kilt and put on some pants before getting off the plane in Venice.

•In China, it’s illegal for Tibetan monks to reincarnate without permission from the government.

I realize China is known for strict laws, but I kind of wonder how this one is enforced.

•Pregnant women in Madagascar are prohibited from wearing hats.

That’s, umm, I…oh well.

•Causing a nuclear explosion is illegal in Germany.

Wait, that mushroom cloud is your fault? Come with me, you’re under arrest.

•You can’t pay with too many coins in Canada.

When making a payment of more than $10, it’s illegal to pay with more than a single coin under the Currency Act in Canada. I have to admit, I’ve been in situations when I would have appreciated such a law. Nothing like being next in line when someone uses their penny collection to buy food at the grocery store.

•It’s illegal to die inside Britain’s Houses of Parliament.

Since the building is considered a royal family palace, anyone who dies in it must be buried with full honors. 

Question: What exactly would the punishment be for the deceased?

•You can’t kiss on the street in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Ironically, the town is known for its “Kissing Alley.”

You might think this is an old, outdated law, but it was passed in 2009 and is occasionally enforced.

•Marijuana is outlawed in Jamaica.

As hard as it is to believe, since 1913, Jamaican law has stated that the cultivation, use or possession of pot is illegal. “We don’t enforce that one much, mon.”

•Driving shirtless is unlawful in Thailand.

Driving a car shirtless is considered offensive in Thailand, so motorists need to wear a shirt no matter how hot the weather is (or their abs are).

Question: Were women involved in the reasoning behind this law?

•In Burma, it’s against the law to access the Internet.

Right now, many of you are wondering how any business conducts business in Burma.

•In Victoria, Australia, only licensed electricians can change a light bulb.

Question: How many Australian licensed electricians does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: As many as are in the room.

Not that it matters, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the weird legislation that can be found all over this planet.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email:

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Doug Davison

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at

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