Integers and floats are interesting creatures in Python. This list of values that can successfully cast to a number may surprise you:

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val                   isfloat(val) Note
-------------------- ---------- --------------------------------
"" False Blank string
"127" True Passed string
True True Pure sweet Truth
"True" False Vile contemptible lie
False True So false it becomes true
"123.456" True Decimal
" -127 " True Spaces trimmed
"\t\n12\r\n" True whitespace ignored
"NaN" True Not a number
"NaNanananaBATMAN" False I am Batman
"-iNF" True Negative infinity
"123.E4" True Exponential notation
".1" True mantissa only
"1,234" False Commas gtfo
u'\x30' True Unicode is fine.
"NULL" False Null is not special
0x3fade True Hexidecimal
"6e7777777777777" True Shrunk to infinity
"1.797693e+308" True This is max value
"infinity" True Same as inf
"infinityandBEYOND" False Extra characters wreck it
"12.34.56" False Only one dot allowed
u'四' False Japanese '4' is not a float.
"#56" False Pound sign
"56%" False Percent of what?
"0E0" True Exponential, move dot 0 places
0**0 True 0___0 Exponentiation
"-5e-5" True Raise to a negative number
"+1e1" True Plus is OK with exponent
"+1e1^5" False Fancy exponent not interpreted
"+1e1.3" False No decimals in exponent
"-+1" False Make up your mind
"(1)" False Parenthesis is bad

This list was taken from the following: https://stackoverflow.com/a/20929983