An exploding whale video that went viral this week shows a marine biologist running to escape guts that come flying out of a dead sperm whale after he cut into the animal’s stomach..
The video was quite graphic, showing the animal’s innards flying out in a burst of blood, tissue, and bodily fluids. It may have been shocking for viewers, but animal experts say the exploding whale video showed a common post-mortem event for large mammals.
Earlier this year the Science Channel broadcast a program called Outrageous Acts Of Science, and one segment showed a group of four whales that turned up dead on a beach in the Netherlands. Biologists came to remove the carcasses, but first had to carefully slice into them to remove pockets of gas that lurked inside.
As they cut into one of the whales, the gas exploded and sent innards flying out across the sand — a scene nearly identical to what was seen on the exploding whale video that went viral this week.
Experts say that is actually quite common to see in dead whales.
“This whale, before it died, ate a lot of things, it ate a lot of other creatures and those creatures started to putrefy in its stomach and released a lot of gases when they did,” explained biologist Adam Ruben. “And so this whale has a tremendous build up of gas.”
The exploding whale video shown on Outrageous Acts Of Science looked disgusting, and biologist Adam Ruben assured that for the people there, it smelled just as badly.
“There’s going to be three gases that are going to be coming out of this whale that are not going to be nice,” he said. “You’re going to have methane, which is basically farts; hydrogen sulphide, which is rotten eggs; and you’re going to have ammonia, which smells a lot like cat pee.”
The exploding whale video that became popular this week was another example of the same phenomena. Bjarni Mikkelse, a scientist tasked with cutting open the carcas of a large whale that washed up in the Faroe Islands, hit a large pocket of gas that built up inside the animal that sent its guts flying across the sand.