Newfoundland Residents Fear Whale Explosion After Dead Blue Whale Washes Ashore [VIDEO]

By Ben Wolford on April 30, 2014 2:48 PM EDT

Residents of a town in Newfoundland fear this dead blue whale may explode any minute. (Photo: Screenshot/NTV)

Residents of a town in Newfoundland fear this dead blue whale may explode any minute. (Photo: Screenshot/NTV)

A rotting blue whale washed up on the shore of Newfoundland, Canada. Now it's becoming a safety hazard — the beast could burst at any moment.

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That hasn't stopped gawking tourists from gathering to see. "Right now, this is a great tourist attraction, but farther down the road it's not going to be so nice," one resident of the town, Trout River, told a local news station. The whale is already starting to smell. But the biggest fear for the seaside village of 600 is that it'll explode and splatter several tons of whale pieces across the picturesque shoreline.

"With the warm temperatures coming on, we're really concerned about the smell from this," Town Manager Emily Butler told the station. "We're also concerned with the health aspect of this animal being on the beachline." She says they've asked for help from the federal government to move the whale, but officials told her it's the responsibility of the town, which apparently doesn't have the resources to deal with it. Blue whales can weigh as much as 200 tons.

But perhaps it's not the best idea to move it. According to CBC, national wildlife officials are warning people not to touch it because of bacteria. At least one person thought it'd be fun to stand on top of it. "If somebody gets swallowed into the insides of that whale it's going to be quite dangerous to get them out of there," a local restaurant owner said.

There are enough videos on the internet of whales exploding to know a dead beached whale is pretty much a grenade waiting for someone to pull the pin. (Watch them below if you're not eating and don't mind the gore.) In November, a video surfaced of a biologist attempting to dissect a whale in the Faroe Islands and narrowly avoiding the shrapnel. Then in January, a camera captured a sperm whale falling from a crane harness onto a flatbed trailer and exploding on impact.

The blue whale in Canada is so big it seems about ready to pop. The swelling is caused by a buildup of methane, released as a byproduct of bacterial decomposition. It isn't clear from news reports how the animal died, but the Eastern Seaboard is becoming increasingly industrialized. Noise pollution, ship collisions, and fishing industry detritus are known to be killing whales. Blue whales are an endangered species thought to number around 500 in the North Atlantic.

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