Unicorns used to be so common that every child would have known some really great unicorn facts without really having to try very hard to think of some. Unfortunately, now that it has become significantly harder to spot a unicorn in the wild, that shared knowledge of unicorns has all but disappeared.

I’ll bet that, even as a keen unicorn spotter yourself, you would be hard-pressed to think of more than just two or three really good facts about unicorns. However, the thing that’s really great about finding out new facts about unicorns is that the more facts you know, the more you will believe in unicorns and the higher your chances of spotting one are if one happens to cross your path.

I’ve been collecting interesting, unusual and truly bizarre unicorn facts for as long as I can remember so here are my top 10.

1. Unicorns are masters of disguise

Probably the most surprising fact of them all; you probably never knew that unicorns are masters of disguise.

Although unicorns are much rarer than they were in the very-olden-days, it’s highly likely that you’ve crossed the path of a unicorn at least once in your life; you just never knew you did.

Unicorns are so magical and so clever that they can hide just about anywhere, and can disguise themselves as most things too.

If you’ve ever noticed a rather large rabbit with rainbow eye-lashes, or even a duck with a slight hint of glitter on your adventures, you might have thought that you were going a little bit mad.

In reality, it’s because you just stumbled upon a unicorn not-quite-in-disguise.

That’s a very useful thing to know when you’ve got your heart set on finding the whereabouts of your local unicorn.

2. Unicorns are healthy eaters

When it comes to unicorn food, it’s a widely held misconception that unicorns like nothing more than to stuff their faces with cupcakes and rainbow-coloured sweets.

True, there are a few unicorns that have a particularly sweet tooth, but even these prefer to have a diet that consists of at least a few non-brightly-coloured foodstuffs.

Most unicorns I’ve met seem to prefer to be healthy eaters; mainly living off a diet of moss, apples, grass and the occasional ice-cream with sprinkles if the weather is particularly hot.

3. Unicorns hate slime

You now know that unicorns are masters of disguise, and can use this knowledge to assist you in your adventures to discover your very own local unicorn.

However, another key fact about unicorns is that they hate slime.

You would never catch a unicorn disguising itself as anything slimy so, if you do happen to come across a sparkly snail or an iridescent slug, it’s far more likely that it's a gnome or a furzleworzle in disguise than a unicorn.

I have to admit that I was particularly thrilled when I made this discovery as, when I was much younger, I had become convinced that I had spotted a unicorn living in my local swamp. After picking up many slimy creatures that eventually turned out not to be unicorns at all, I was relieved to find that I need no longer continue my search in that area; especially as I had a rather unsettling feeling that the gnomes and bogarts were transforming themselves into various slimy things just to taunt me.

4. Unicorns are very shy

You probably know this already, but it’s a good fact to bear in mind when you go out on your adventures.

You’ll need to have a lot of patience when trying to spot a unicorn and it’s important to keep your spirts up by remembering that not only are they masters of disguise, but they are also very shy too.

Unfortunately this fact makes unicorns even harder to spot in their natural habitat; unless you come across an unusually gregarious unicorn, which is quite possible of course.

5. Every unicorn has a favourite magic trick

Whether it’s shooting rainbow sparkles out of their horn, conjuring a glittery cloud of butterflies or changing the arms and legs of a small child different colours (not permanently of course), each unicorn has a favourite magic trick.

If you happen to make friends with a unicorn, it’s a good idea to ask to see its favourite magic trick as it is certain to be something very special.

In the very-olden-days a unicorn’s favourite pastime used to be entertaining the village children with special magic tricks that would make them giggle for hours on end.

6. Unicorns can be any colour you can imagine

No two unicorns are the same, and they can be found in any colour you can possibly imagine.

If you were to close your eyes and imagine the most beautiful unicorn you’d ever seen, it would be quite possible that there would be a unicorn just like that somewhere in the world; in fact, you might have just made a unicorn change into that exact colour.

There is a theory amongst some unicorn specialists that the colour of the unicorn does not depend on genetics, habitat or diet, but is determined by the power of imagination.

Some say that when unicorns are born they have no colour but rather take on the colour of their surroundings, just like a chameleon. This provides excellent camouflage for the young unicorn and would go some way to explaining why no baby unicorns have ever been spotted in the wild.

As the unicorns mature, they begin to transition through a number of temporary colours, until a burst of imagination fixes the unicorn into its permanent colouration when it is around 5 or 6 years old.

7. Unicorns love quizzes

I can’t remember exactly how I discovered this peculiar unicorn fact, but I’ve found that pretty much every unicorn I’ve ever met has loved a good quiz.

Whilst some prefer word-searches, other like crossword puzzles and others simply enjoy a good old fashioned general knowledge quiz, what’s for certain is that having a good natter about general interesting facts whilst your on your unicorn spotting adventure will almost certainly get the attention of a unicorn.

8. Unicorns can live to be hundreds of years old

No-one knows exactly how old the oldest unicorn in the world is, but we do know that they can live to be hundreds and hundreds of years old.

A unicorn’s magic is very powerful and, although their magic can’t make them live forever, it does have a fantastic rejuvenating effect which keeps them young and full of life even when they are very, very old.

9. Unicorns talk in pictures

Although unicorns can’t talk like you and I, they do have ways of communicating and can share their own language with special people with whom they have a deep and heartfelt bond.

It may take years and years of meeting the same unicorn before that bond is strong enough for you to be able to communicate with each other in this special way.

It has only ever happened to me once, but I have been lucky to have a conversation with a unicorn in its own language. A very strange experience, the unicorn spoke to me in pictures which kind of felt like having the most wonderful dream but much more vivid and real.

If you are ever lucky enough to build up a friendship with one unicorn in particular, I would urge you to be patient and keep believing in the power of imagination until it feels ready to have a conversation with you in unicorn language. It really is quite an amazing experience.

10. Unicorns live all over the world

Contrary to popular belief, unicorns exist all over the world and are not restricted to any particular habitat.

During the very-olden-days it was true to say that the unicorn’s favourite place to live was in enchanted forests, but since these have become increasingly rare, the unicorn has had to get used to living in all sorts of places.

Where a unicorn lives is nowadays determined primarily by the unicorn’s individual preference. Some like to live in cities, other prefer beaches whilst some still prefer the comforting familiarity of the forest whether it’s enchanted or not.

Unicorns don’t always live in the same place either. As they are naturally inquisitive, they like to explore and, on the recommendation of other unicorns, they will even travel to other countries to visit places that sound particularly interesting to them.

However, this can cause some problems with their powers of disguise initially. For example, a unicorn from Bournemouth may favour disguising itself as a seagull but, whilst this may be perfectly adequate for the Promenade, it would look slightly out of place if they disguised themselves as a seagull whilst visiting the Arizona Desert.

On a more positive note, this love of travelling can provide some unique opportunities for spotting out of place unicorns-in-disguise. For example, if you were to catch a glimpse of a moose wandering round the streets of Peckham, you could almost certainly say that it was a Canadian unicorn who had only recently arrived in the area.