Rotting whale carcass beached at popular surfing hotspot

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A 40-foot whale carcass is rotting at a popular surfing hotspot in California.

The mammal's tongue is so swollen that it is bulging out of its mouth like a giant black balloon.

Authorities are debating how best to remove the giant carcass. Options include towing it out to sea or cutting the whale into pieces and driving it away in trucks.

A dead whale sits on the shore on a beach in California (Lenny Ignelzi/AP/PA)
(Lenny Ignelzi/AP/PA)

The carcass has landed on a popular stretch of the Lower Trestles beach, south of San Clemente, with limited access to vehicles.

It can't be buried on the beach because the stretch is mostly cobblestones, according to Rich Haydon, superintendent at San Onofre State Beach.

A dead whale sits on the shore on a beach in California (Jeff Gritchen/AP/PA)
(Jeff Gritchen/AP/PA)

Heraclio Belmontes of Newport Beach went to see the whale with his two brothers.

He said: "It's at least twice my height. I was a chef for a while, so I've seen all sorts of dead fish. But never like this."

A dead whale sits on the shore on a beach in California (Jeff Gritchen/AP/PA)
(Jeff Gritchen/AP/PA)

The whale is likely to have died of natural causes and was discovered on the beach on Sunday. A decision on what to do with the carcass is expected in the next two days.

A second whale about the same size was spotted over the weekend floating off shore. Its carcass is breaking apart in the water.