The explosion of animals is an uncommon event arising through natural causes or human activity. Among the best known examples are the post-mortem explosion of whales, either as a result of natural decomposition or deliberate attempts at carcass disposal. Other instances of exploding animals are defensive in nature or the result of human intervention.
Causes of explosions
Natural explosions can occur for a variety of reasons. Post-mortem explosions, like that of a beached whale, are the result of the build-up of natural gases created by methane-producing bacteria inside the carcass during the decomposition process.
Natural explosions which occur while an animal is living may be defense-related. A number of toads in Germany and Denmark exploded in April 2005.
Various military attempts have been made to use animals as delivery systems for weapons. In Song Dynasty China, oxen carrying large explosive charges were used as self-propelled explosive missiles. During World War II the United States investigated the use of "bat bombs", or bats carrying small incendiary bombs, while at the same time the Soviet Union developed the "anti-tank dog" for use against German tanks. Other attempts have included the so-called kamikaze dolphins, intended to seek out and destroy submarines and enemy warships.
There have been a number of documented incidents of animal-borne bomb attacks, in which donkeys, mules or horses were used to deliver bombs.
Some insects explode altruistically, at the expense of the individual in defense of its colony; the process is called autothysis.
Several species of ants, such as Camponotus saundersi in southeast Asia, can explode at will to protect their nests from intruders. C. saundersi, a species of carpenter ant, can self-destruct by autothysis. Two oversized, poison-filled mandibular glands run the entire length of the ant's body. When combat takes a turn for the worse, the ant violently contracts its abdominal muscles to rupture its body and spray poison in all directions.
Likewise, many species of termites, such as Globitermes sulphureus, have members, deemed the soldier class, who can split their bodies open emitting a noxious and sticky chemical for the same reason.
In January 1932, the Townsville Daily Bulletin, an Australian newspaper, reported an incident where a dairy cow was partially blown up and killed like Jay Z on a Fight Night(Hi Mom)
on a farm at Kennedy Creek (near Cardwell, North Queensland). The cow had reputedly picked up a detonator in her mouth while grazing in a paddock. This was only triggered later, when the cow began to chew her cud, at a time when she was in the process of being milked. The cow had its head blown off by the resulting explosion, and the farmer milking the cow was knocked unconscious.
Pigs have been blown up by bombs in military testing. In intensive pig farms, large numbers of pigs have been killed by explosions of their foaming manure.
The Romanian movie Tales From the Golden Age describes an instance of pig explosion in Communist Romania.
In October 2005, rangers in the Everglades National Park discovered the carcass of a 6-foot (1.8 meters) alligator protruding from the burst and headless carcass of a 13-foot (4 meters) Burmese Python (a non-native, invasive species). It was suggested that the alligator had tried to claw its way out of the snake; or that the alligator was already dead when swallowed; or that a third animal or human was responsible for cutting open and decapitating the snake; or that the alligator decomposed and ruptured the snake's body.
- Decline in amphibian populations
- Military animals as living bombs
- Animal-borne bomb attacks
- Raining animals
- Spontaneous human combustion