If you’ve always enjoyed the way icicles transform a landscape into a glorious winter wonderland, take a moment to enjoy that feeling one final time, because it turns out those glimmering, shimmering, crystal-clear spikes are actually bird poop popsicles. This revelation comes to us from meteorologist Katie Nickolaou, who decided to use facts and science to brutally shatter our collective sense of wonder:
Maybe you’re thinking “So what—frozen bird poop hasn’t killed me yet, and it isn’t gonna kill my sense of whimsy!” And if that’s the case, we are all more than likely doomed. Our icicles could be full of well over 60 different diseases that we know about, and countless others that we probably won’t discover until it’s too late: there’s histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis, candidiasis and salmonellosis, good ol’ fashioned St. Louis Encephalitis, and oh so much more. And if all that disease wasn’t enough, birds could also be covertly implanting your best snacking icicles with over 50 known ectoparasites like chicken mites, bed bugs, yellow mealworms, and West Nile Virus. It’s probably best to skip the icicle lollipops and just pick up a bag of crunchy ice from Sonic if you’re seeking a one-ingredient, zero-calorie frozen treat.
After her PSA went viral, Nickolaou decided she was not done destroying the mythical realm of icicles for children of all ages; in another TikTok video, she explains that it is extremely hard to stab someone to death with an icicle, making it a less-than-ideal murder weapon. However, you could, I suppose, chop an icicle into pieces and stir it into a cool, refreshing pitcher of lemonade that can be served to your enemies.