It’s that time of year again—a dead whale has washed ashore, and officials aren’t sure what to do with the rotting carcass because there’s a possibility that it could explode.
The 15 tonne, severely bloated and slightly decayed animal graced the shores of Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer, near Montpellier, France, earlier this month. Having closed off the beach to the public, French authorities are now trying to come up with a plan of action for the rotting whale.
At the moment, it’s unclear whether disposing of the animal by land or by sea would be best, but one idea that’s been thrown out there is to drag the carcass out to sea and then blow it up with dynamite. However, this is hindered by the fact that boats can’t get close enough to the whale due to the presence of sand banks, The Local reports. Another master plan is to chop it up into little bits and then dispose of the chunks elsewhere, but we all know what happens when we start jabbing things into dead whales:
Dead whales can explode because of a build-up of pressure that results from the accumulation of gases inside the body. These gases, which include methane and carbon dioxide, come from the putrefaction and fermentation of the animal’s tissues after death. Often, the pressure gets released through natural weak points such as the mouth or anus, but a bite from a hungry shark or the knife of a curious marine biologist would also do it.
It is possible to relieve the pressure in a controlled manner with gentle incisions, but this can go horribly wrong if they penetrate too far. One unlucky person learned this the hard way, and ended up being flung into the air with the animal’s exploding guts. However, the person was standing on top of it, which was probably not the most sensible thing to do.