Dead Fish

Why do dead fish float? Presumably they are neutrally buoyant when alive, otherwise they would have to expend large amounts of energy just to stay under the water, and evolution frowns on such silliness. If it’s due to gases, what are they and where do they come from?

First of all, not all dead fish float, you only see the ones that do.

Dead fish can obviously no longer control their swim bladder, should they be so equipped, and the physiological processes that maintain their “neutral” bouyancy are no longer operating. The gasses (not sure what they are, but I would assume methane plays a heavy role) are the natural result of decomposition.

Y’ever see a big ole puffy opossum at the side of the road? Don’t poke that puppy with a sharp stick unless you’re upwind and prepared to run and/or vomit.

Ah, dead possum poking…how I miss those days. I spent some of the best times of my life poking the old dead possum…

Is that what you kids are calling it these days?

Your Quadell

Well this begs the question for us city slickers: Why does a dead opossum stink when you poke it? Is it a defense mechanism so that the perpetrator won’t harm the next opossum?

      • Every so often a deer gets cut in half crossing the train tracks. Once I heard of a cow going this way. (I didn’t know to put this here or in the “trains” thread.) - MC

Why does a dead opossum stink when you poke it?[/queue]

IIRC, it has to do with competition. The bacteria that are busy consuming the corpse emits foul smelling, and typically toxic substances to keep other scanvangers from eating it.

On bloated corpses, once, while collecting snakes, my brother and I came across a bloated poodle on the side of the road. It must have jumped out of a car window. As is typical of bloated mammals, the four legs were sticking straight out in a splayed fashion like a knocked over stool. Anyway, using dull sticks(so-as not to puncture it’s belly) we set it upright. We left it standing by the road, truly a hideous sight.

Other scavengers have adapted to the presence of these bacteria - witness the vulture’s long skinny neck and completely bald head, an adaptation denying the microbes a fertile breeding ground on the bird’s body. I don’t think the products of decomposition are toxic or in any way harmful to the internal workings of these opportunists.

And I think the smell actually attracts scavengers, sort of like a nice ribeye grilling in a mesquite bbq on a soft summer evening. Mmmm…

Now that’s some sick, twisted shit there, Sweet. I love it.

And I think the smell actually attracts scavengers, sort of like a nice ribeye grilling in a mesquite bbq on a soft summer evening. Mmmmmm

Thanks, Nick. No more ribeyes for me. :slight_smile:

Sorry, I don’t bring any carrion luggage when I go surfing, so you can keep your steenkeeng thread.


The stink may keep us humans away but it sure does attract other animals. I remember a necropsy i helped with a few years back. We were cutting open stinky rotting sea mammals (BTW: Their stink is a bit different from land animal stink), and when we cut into the abdominal cavity of a dead bull Sea Lion, the smell nearly made everyone pass out.The smell kind of hit everyone in a wave :). I remember seeing a few dogs wandering around near us too… anyways i just felt i had to share :).

“Let me show you something
that you’ve never seen before
like a light im gonna shine on you
forever is a word i dont often get to say
but if you say it loud enough i’ll say it too”

“Carrion luggage” D’oh!

That reminds me of a set of designer luggage I saw, named after Amelia Earheart. Who the hell would want bags that disappear over the Pacific?

RE: that poodle. Way back in highschool a rumor was goin round one day concerning a cow some the boys had found the night before. Soon as school let out at least half the student body was roarin down the dirt section road. Sure enough there it was standin just off the road. All straddle legged and lookin ‘fat’ if not sassy. No one wants to know what it looked like the next day,beleave me.
“Carrion luggage” I am gonna steal that one soon as I get a chance to use it.

" Pardon me while I have a strange interlude."-Marx (Melissa Gilbert is in the rest room right now or she would have a snappy comeback)

Re: Sweet and the poodle… so that was you!! Thank you for one of the creepiest childhood memories a kid could ever have. I ever find your address I’m gonna give it to my mom so she can sue you for all my therapy bills. :wink:

Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!