Whale Explodes on Busy Street

Question: What is more bizarre than a 60-ton whale on a flatbed truck being driven down the street?

Answer: A 60-ton whale on a flatbed truck exploding and raining blubber all over the sidewalk.

That’s what happened in Taiwan recently, when a dead sperm whale being shipped to research facilities for an autopsy developed a colossally bad case of gas and blew up before it reached its destination.

The whale was apparently found alive on a Taiwan beach last weekend, and died shortly after it was discovered. Since the 56-foot whale was the largest whale ever beached on Taiwan’s shores, scientists wanted to study it and perform an autopsy.

Apparently, too much time passed between when the animal died and the time it was set to be moved to the autopsy location, because it had already started to decompose. When things decompose, they release gasses as a by-product. In the whale’s case, the gasses were trapped in its belly. The pressure inside the decomposing creature grew so much that it popped like an over-inflated balloon. Unfortunately, it was on a truck in the middle of the city of [Tainan] at the time–cars and shops lining the street were spattered with whale bits and juices, much to their owners’ dismay.

According to news reports, traffic was tied up for hours while officials tried, literally, to clean up the streets.

Incidentally, newspaper editors worldwide were probably squealing with glee, since they had a ready made headline–several reports about the incident we re titled “Thar She Blows!,” after the famous line from the book Moby Dick.

–Written by Nia Williams (kidsnewsroom.org)

The Whale

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