Whales are huge, incredibly huge animals easily the biggest animals alive today, the blue whale, possibly the biggest animal that has ever lived bigger than any dinosaur. This is easy to understand in the abstract, but actually to stand next to one of these animals is a really humbling experience.
So imagine you’re walking along a beach, and you see a dead whale that has washed up on to the beach and as you get closer, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and you’re just in awe at the size Of this thing, you’ve, never seen anything like it before, like it’s almost impossible to believe this is an actual living creature.
It’s dead and it stinks, but you’re just drawn to it. Like a moth to a flame, you just got ta get closer to this amazing creature, and then you get out your phone to take a picture and put it up on Instagram and then okay.
It might not explode that bad, but there is kind of a thing about dead whales exploding. It happens a lot actually and it’s, just as bad as it sounds now might be a good time for those out there, who might be a little bit more squeamish about this kind of thing to let you know that this is gon na, Be a article about dead exploding whales, so you’ve been warned.
So why whales, and not other animals, do they naturally produce nitroglycerin? Do they live in a Michael Bay world? Actually, the same process that causes this in whales takes place in all dead animals when animals die, including us bacteria in our guts, start to sort of decompose, our tasty innards, and when they do so, they produce gas.
The gas specifically is methane and it builds up inside the body and it causes the belly to kind of swell a little bit, which is why sometimes, when you see a dead animal on the side of the road, it looks all bloated and swollen because it’s, bloated and swollen now for most animals.
This process, doesn’t produce enough gas to actually cause it to explode, just because they’re smaller animals, but also because they’re. Their holes are looser, and here I thought this couldn’t get any grosser land animals don’t have to worry about keeping water out of their orifices at all times.
Whales do and many whale species dive to incredible depths and there’s, incredible pressures down there, so they have to have you know pretty tight holes, but also these whales are really heavy. So when they’re beached and they’re in a place where they’re, not really supported by water.
The way their bodies are meant to be supported that pressure against the ground causes their orifices to kind of seal shut, Plus whales have thick layers of blubber underneath their skin, so even if it does start to get eaten away by scavengers, it takes a lot to Get down underneath that skin, to where the gas is built up long story short, you’ve got a gigantic animal that builds up a lot of pressure in there with really thick skin and really tight orifices.
It’s. Just the perfect opportunity to get all explody so when a whale dies, its body becomes food for hundreds of animals in the sea and in fact the carcass can sink down to the bottom of the ocean and create its own little ecosystem down there.
For the bottom dwellers, but maybe because they have air left in their lungs or because the decomposition process has already built up some gas inside of them. Some whale carcasses float up to the top of the ocean and then ocean currents can just lead them onto a beach somewhere.
Now there’s. Also the phenomenon of live males beaching themselves, sometimes in mass. We don & # 39. T really know why this happens. One theory is that one whale might get beached or become distressed and they’ll, send out a signal and then a bunch of other whales will come to try to help them, and then they wind up getting Beach.
Now smaller whales, aren’t that big a deal scavengers can usually break them down pretty quickly and if they need to be taken back out into the ocean, it’s, not that big of a job but larger whales, like sperm whales, Can weigh up to a hundred thousand pounds and this can become a logistical nightmare.
Often the solution is to just cut them into pieces. This might be your last resort, but, as you can see from this article from the Faroe Islands in 2013, a little cutty cutty can lead to a little exploding exploding.
The thing that sticks out to me about this article. Every time I see it is the steam coming out of this whale, that’s, that’s so gross and insane. Now the marine biologist in this article later told reporters that he did expect that this could happen, which might explain his fashionable attire.
But where was this guy in 2004, when a 50-ton sperm whale washed up on a beach outside of Tainan in Taiwan, because they had a different idea of what to do with it? They decided they want to move to the cheese, sound natural preserves in order to study it and maybe even preserve the body for educational purposes.
So they hold it onto a trailer which, by the way, took three cranes to lift this thing and send it on its way. The problem is on its way to the preserve meant passing through the middle of town, so they were slowly driving this whale through the town and, of course, hundreds of townspeople came out to see this thing.
There were even like vendors selling snacks and hot food to the people that were gathering to watch this. As somebody who comes from a small town myself, I can imagine the kind of crowd that would turn out to see a 50 ton whale being rolled to the street, but you can probably see where this is going.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t yeah. The whale exploded right in the middle of town it showered on lookers and storefronts in cars and blood and guts. It was disgusting. It made international news. Luckily, there was not a article of it that I could show you, but the pictures kind of told the whole story, but none of these stories come close to the exploding whale in Oregon in 1970.
This is actually one of the most watched articles in internet history. Literally but in case you’ve, been living in the carcass of a dead whale at the bottom of the ocean. In 1970, a giant sperm whale washed up on the beach outside of Florence Oregon.
It was way too heavy to move they didn’t know what to do with it, so the state highway division decided to get rid of it in the most American way possible blow it up. So this wheel, didn’t explode on its own man.
Did it explode? The idea was that they were gon na put so much dynamite, underneath this whale that it would blow it up into tiny pieces that could then be picked away by scavengers and the birds that were already gathering around it.
It’s, not the worst idea, but it just went so incredibly wrong, even though they made a point to put all the explosive on the land side of the whale hoping it would blow it into the ocean. Massive chunks of blubber and well guts.
Just showered the crowd of onlookers that had formed to watch the explosion, even though the police had kept them a quarter-mile away. A coffee table, sized chunk of whale actually caved in a car and the whole plan that the scavengers and seagulls would take care of the bits of the whale didn’t work for two reasons: one the blast, scared them all away and two most Of the whale was still there, it didn’t even budge, so the road crews had to haul it away.
Anyway, they had to do all the things they were trying to avoid. By blowing it up. It was just such a wily, coyote dukes, of hazzard solution. To this thing it just immediately became an internet classic all right, let’s say you’re walking along and you come across a giant dead whale.
What do you do about that? Well, if you’re like me, and you live in Dallas, you freaked out, because what what, if you are in a beach – and it makes sense for a whale to be there, the first thing you want to do is not get too close to It or for the love of God, don’t climb on it.
Not only is there the potential that the whale might explode according to Jack Lawson at the Canadian Fisheries Department, there’s, also the possibility that you might fall inside the whale and get stuck according to an article in the Atlantic.
He said the skin is starting to lose its integrity and if someone were to walk along, say its chin, that it’s, all full of that gas, they could fall into the whale. The insides will be liquefied and retrieving them would be very difficult.
He went on to say I’ve fallen into the side of a whale up to my chest. It’s, not very nice. Yeah understatement of the year did a few in the United States. The next thing that you want to do is call the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, because, according to law, stranded mammals on a beach is kind of their responsibility.
Noaa has offices all along the coast. They’ll, probably send a marine biologist out there to take some samples and to study the whale, because a dead whale carcass is kind of a gold mine too those guys they study whales, all the time, but most of the time the whales are Out in the ocean – and they’re just kind of hard to get to now, after that, if the whale is stranded on a remote beach, far from any towns or homes or anything like that, they’ll, probably just leave it there For scavengers to pick it apart, just like whale carcasses can feed thousands of animals in the sea.
Same is true on the land it might take months, but eventually nature’s. Gon na do what nature do, but if that whale near where people live and it’s literally coating every square inch of everything with oily whale stench.
Well, there’s. A few things you can try. One option is to bury the whale which presents its own set of challenges, because you literally have to dig like two stories down into the beach to make sure it stays there.
Another option is to drag it back out to sea which might not be an option for larger whales or for whales that have already decomposed too much besides. The ocean currents can always wash it right back up onto the beach and last but poor.
Finally, not least, the option is to butcher the whale into smaller pieces and haul it away to the landfill piece by rotting, dry heaving piece. So next time you’re walking along a beach and see one of nature’s, most majestic creatures laying there before you.
The best option really is to just keep walking unless you want that majesty all over your face. I know some of you are thinking dirty thoughts with that last one stop so hey today’s, article is sponsored by Mack Weldon.
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