Whale Explosion May Not Begrime Canadian Village After All; But The Smell Is Only Getting Worse [VIDEO]

By Ben Wolford on May 7, 2014 12:03 PM EDT

A new picture from Reuters shows the whale in Newfoundland seems to be deflating. Residents had feared it might explode. (Photo: Reuters)
A new picture from Reuters shows the whale in Newfoundland seems to be deflating. Residents had feared it might explode. (Photo: Reuters)

Residents of the small Newfoundland village of Trout River feared a beached whale in its harbor might explode, but new pictures released by Reuters and tweets from a reporter in Canada suggest that's not going to happen. "Those waiting for #explodingwhale to pop will be disappointed. It's running out of gas," tweeted NTV's Don Bradshaw.

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The whale washed up in April and quickly began to rot. As bacteria feasted on its insides, the microbes released methane that ballooned the enormous blue whale. Residents began complaining of the smell, and the town manager pleaded with the Canadian government to help them move it. It wasn't clear what killed the whale.

The whale was much bigger two weeks ago. (Photo: Screenshot/Don Bradshaw)
The whale was much bigger two weeks ago. (Photo: Screenshot/Don Bradshaw)

Now it seems the methane has found a less explosive way to escape, but it wouldn't have been surprising if the whale had burst. According to scientists and the YouTube videos below, whales tend to explode when people tamper with their corpses. The CBC reported that some people were trying to stand on it, which could've detonated the beast.

National Geographic asked a marine biologist named Andrew David Thaler about whale decomposition, and he said it's "one of the worst smells in the world." In the ocean, the whales generally sink after a while, and the spot where they land becomes a feasting site for the next few decades. If they wash ashore, however, the smell can be enough to drive you crazy: "Imagine a jar of bacon grease that you leave out in the sun for weeks. Now imagine that odor is so potent that it clings to everything you own. It gets in your sinuses and stays there for days afterward. I participated in the necropsy of a right whale about six years ago and my chest-waders still smell faintly like that day."

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