A blue whale washed up on the eastern Canadian shore recently, and town residents fear the massive carcass is a ticking time bomb. Literally.
Emily Butler, the town clerk of the tiny coastal town of Trout River, Newfoundland, says residents are worried the carcass could explode at any moment.
“We have a concern,” she said. “…because I'm not sure with the heat and gases that are trapped inside of this mammal if at some point in time it will explode.”
Here's a picture of the enormous carcass:
Massive whale carcasses have been known to explode before. The methane gas produced by decomposition truly turns the whale into a balloon waiting to pop. These explosive moments have been caught on video before. In 2013, this footage was taken of a washed up sperm whale in Oregon exploding as a local biologist tried to cut it open:
Jack Lawson, a researcher with Canada’s fisheries department, says the risk of the whale exploding is low.
“At some point, the skin of the animal will lose some of its integrity as all of the connective tissue starts to break down,” he said. “Eventually, that gas will seep out....It will just deflate like an old balloon.”
Butler says she and the town are frustrated since no one seems to be trained in removing a whale carcass this size. The massive whale measures in at an incredible 84 feet long. On top of that, the 60-ton carcass is reportedly suffocating Trout River with the terrible scent of rotting flesh. Let yourself think about that one for a moment.
In the meantime, you can check on the status of the whale at the aptly named hasthewhaleexplodedyet.com.