I have a question, how would it be scientifically possible for a naturally exploding creature to function? Some ideas I have had are:

  1. They need to have a sulfur and carbon based diet to create gunpowder in them some way.

  2. They just naturally create gunpowder as their organic waste.

  3. They have an organ that creates gunpowder in them.

  4. Exploding as a last resort self defense. This would require heating their bodies to burn or ignite their gunpowder.

(Sorry if this is too broad, I know I had a problem with that before.)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is a sandbox in the meta where you can take your questions for a test run and see what people don't like about them. Anyhow what do you mean by exploding and why do you thknk gunpowder is the only way? Gunpowder needs to be dry btw. $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ I Think I saw the shape of a neat question in there and tidied it up a bit, as so many others have done for me in the past. This also sounds kind of like Swamp Dragons in Pratchetts discworld :) $\endgroup$
    – Paul TIKI
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ Check out The Bombardier Beetle $\endgroup$
    – Lee Leon
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ You might want to take a look at this question. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ You might be interested in some of our existing questions, such as How can a fish that explodes by itself prosper enough to reproduce on a grand enough scale to persist as a species? and Anatomically Correct Creeper $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 17:49

4 Answers 4


Ants do it.
Some ants and termites will kill themselves in a process called "autothysis" in order to defend their colonies. They will rupture their own organs, creating an explosion.



So to take things in sequence, beginning with How's...

The world of explosive compounds goes way beyond gunpowder, although there is a small amount of charm there. Sulfur, Saltpetre, and Carbon in a diet seems like it would be simple to arrange, but it seems a bit limited to me. Fuel to air mix with any number of flammable gasses will also create a satisfying boom. A lot of these natural gasses are also pretty easy to arrange.

Almost all vertebrates have some beneficent bacteria in our intestines. These help us digest a broad variety of foods. The bacteria break down certain parts of the food and produce a variety of gasses. One of the more common gasses is Methane. Normally the gas is passed on through, resulting in humorous noises and sometimes clearing rooms.

Depending on your creature, this can have a variety of benefits. Methane is lighter than air. It can also be ignited with palladium.

So give the critter a reason to float or fly and have him live in an area rich in palladium. As the critter grinds up palladium rich rock or gathers it in something like a bird craw, it can expel it through that and you get jets of flame. Alternately it may try to float away. Your reasons can vary pretty widely.

(Edit: I forgot the Why's)

Flame for defense seem to be a pretty good solution. For Nest defense. It actually plays both ways. A good flame digestion cycle as a re-usable tool to set bad critters on fire would work pretty well. Adult animals are known to sacrifice themselves for their young. That's where an explosion could work. Last ditch effort to drive away multiple nest raiders, or maybe a really big one. The little critters would have to still be in eggs or protected in some way from the blast.

Put the creature in a hardened external shell and you could have Shrapnel to go along with the concussion. Also, with the shell, you could have a different version of Bobby the Boom Turtle.

Have fun with your demolition pets!


They can host methane synthesizing bacteria, like cows in their bowels and they can store this methane in a bladder like organ.

They can have electricity producing organs like torpedoes do, and lit a spark at will.

Now, lit a spark when the methane is mixed with air (empty the bladder) and you get your nice explosion.


Yeah, that could work. There is a toad which does it, not to your exact specifications, but it may be helpful nonetheless.

odditycentral.com: A Fascinating Story of Exploding Toads and Clever Crows

As for why, well it could be a way of warding off predators from the species, like how some nasty tasting butterflies do when a big mean bird takes a bit out of them and gets a mouth full of gross goo. Or the explosion could be on a particular part of the body and not kill the creature, but still scare of the predator, like how some locusts will let a bird have their leg and it tastes bad so the bird leaves their species alone.


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