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I have a scene where a little girl has a pet. It could be a dog, cat, bird, monkey, whatever works for the scene, it just has to be something that humans keep as pets. She is feeding the pet with a food that has been treated with a substance that explodes if ingested by a human, but not by the pet.

The explosion does not need to be super big and messy, just enough to blow a noticeable hole through the person's neck or stomach would be fine. It is okay if the substance is somewhat toxic to the pet as long as it does not explode. If it is toxic, it should not cause any obvious symptoms until at least 5 minutes after the person has exploded, presuming they both ate the food at the same time. Best answer would be one that would not add any obviously unsafe taste or texture in the food, but this is not a hard requirement.

Is there an actual substance that would meet this description?

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    $\begingroup$ How long does it take after the pet's eaten before the owner does? If it's a bird it might be easier, since some birds don't immediately have the food eaten sent to the stomach. Depending on the time period you want, looking at digestion time between humans and their potential pets might be useful too, as there're few things more horrifying than seeing that the food you and your pet ate, now in the animal's crap, has just exploded, while you're yet to poop your share of it out. $\endgroup$ Jan 4 at 22:20
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    $\begingroup$ @ProjectApex No symptoms within 5 minutes of the explosion, presuming they both ate it at the same time. As for timeframe, I am looking for something that would explode at some point before leaving the stomach, but esophagus or even mouth would be fine. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 4 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ the only thing that is going to cause a human to explode is an actual explosive which will explode any animal of similar or lesser mass as well. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jan 4 at 23:18
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    $\begingroup$ Certain cookies and other yummies can cause a slow-motion (decade long) explosion AND can cause mess on a daily basis. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Jan 5 at 1:22
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    $\begingroup$ First idea is something that reacts badly with another food substance in the human's stomach which is typically not given to pets. For example it is not advised to give chocolate to dogs, or milk to most animals. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jan 5 at 12:52

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Your poison is Aluminum Phosphide.

Your pet is (Surprise!) a camel.

Let's get into it.

Aluminum Phosphide is a highly toxic powder. When it reacts with water or stomach acid, it produces Phosphine gas, which is highly toxic to cells. Phosphine gas is especially deadly when inhaled. Poisoning normally starts to show symptoms within a few minutes, in humans. Phosphine gas is also pyrophoric, exploding spontaneously around 38°C (100°F). Aluminum Phosphide consumption, and subsequent Phosphine production, was suspected in the tragic death (Warning - graphic news article) of a patient in India who exploded on the operating table while being treated for poison. Note, this is an extremely rare case, perhaps because humans' resting temperature is a bit below 38°C (although the stomach temperature is close). Give your victim a mild fever and worse luck, if you must.

But why a camel, of all creatures? First, their gut acidity is much milder than that of humans, around a PH of 6.4 vs 1.5. Thus, Aluminum Phosphide will turn to Phosphine gas somewhat more slowly than it would in humans (how much, I don't know). Second, their resting temperature, in the right conditions, can be notably lower than that of humans, dipping to 34°C. This effectively prevents the automatic explosion of Phosphine in a suitable camel. Third, they seem to be obligate nasal breathers, or at least breathe nasally as a primary means is respiration (I couldn't find a great source for that yet; suggestions welcome). This would prevent the camel from being as affected by the respiratory effects of the Phosphine gas, although the direct cellular damage would still take place in the gut. Finally, and importantly, camels are big, tough animals. Toxic effects are likely to be slower for them than for humans, for most poisons.

So when the villain laces some dry food with Aluminum Phosphide, being sure to keep it out of moisture, the camel will last for a few minutes, but the human, if particularly unlucky and feverish, has a chance of a very unusual and unpleasant demise.

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A dragée filled with a very strong base

dragée

A dragée is a small piece of candy with an outer shell, that slowly dissolves in your mouth. A human child knows these candies and will suckle on them for a while; right until the shell is breached, the base is released, and depending on its strength it will injure the mouth tissue or even violently react with the saliva itself. Whatever it does, it won't be pretty.

The pet can be any pet. The difference is that an animal is not used to candies and will simply swallow the dragée whole. Then it breaks open in the stomach, where the base reacts with the stomach acid rendering both inert. The pet may have digestion problems for a while but it should be fine.

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If you could get candy coated sodium (think something like M&Ms) and convince both the human and pet to swallow them whole, it would just require getting the human to eat enough (I think a "Fun Size" mini pack would do) and a candy shell designed to resist desolving inside the pet's digestive system a little longer than in a human digestive system.

If you want a longer delay in the human, add an enteric coating layer beneath the candy shell. That won't dissolve until it enters the small intestine.

Either way, pure sodium coming into contact with a wet environment, like the inside of a human, will undergo some interesting and violent chemical reactions.

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"treated with" so there are only small amounts of the substance. there are some bacterial infections that can make you feel like you will explode, but that is not the same thing.

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