Residents of Trout River in Newfoundland, Canada fear that a blue whale carcass that washed ashore last week may be ready to explode. The stinky, 82-foot-long cetacean has been expanding due to a buildup of various gasses, and might go by the way of a putrefied sperm whale that exploded in the Faroe Islands last November.
Emily Butler, Trout River town manager, commented, “The whale is blowing up. It looks as if it’s a big balloon, from a distance. There is a possibility as well, with all these gases inside the whale, that it may possibly explode…That’s a major concern for us.”
Trout River, pop. 600, had asked for a hand in removing the carcass from provincial and federal government agencies, but were told that they have to deal with the whale themselves. Butler added, “I wouldn’t want to direct anybody to actually remove this animal you know, under the town’s responsibility because we don’t have the expertise to do such a thing. I’m also hearing that DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) would seem to take this as being an interference with navigation if it’s taken back out to the ocean.”
The blue whale is the largest known animal to have ever existed, sometimes reaching 100 feet in length. and weighing almost 200 tons. Trout River residents are already complaining of the stench of the whale, which would be compounded if it blew up. Though, it would appear that some sort of gaseous release will occur regardless of how the situation is handled.
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During the putrefaction process of a dead animal, various gasses begin to build up within the abdominal cavity of the carcass, specifically methane, sometimes resulting in animal explosions. These foul forces of nature are rare, though not unprecedented. Here is a clip of the Faroe Islands explosion:
It is not yet clear how Trout River plans to dispose of their whale, and Butler said, “We’re really concerned about the smell from this. We are also concerned with the health aspect of this animal being on the beach line.”
Image via YouTube