Time Lapse Video Reveals How Long it Takes a Watermelon to Decompose

The whole watermelon in this video from Photo Owl Time Lapse stays in good shape for over a year. Then, around day 471, things take a turn.

Indra Budianto/500px/Getty Images

It can be hard to tell how long certain produce items will last in your kitchen. While some fruits like berries seem to spoil as soon as you take them home from the grocery store, others can last weeks without refrigeration. Based on the video below, the longevity of a watermelon is hard to beat. 

The YouTube channel Photo Owl Time Lapse records time lapses of everything from potatoes to gummy bears to “uncover the gross but fascinating truth about your favorite treats,” and this video is the longest one they’ve filmed so far. It takes more than 600 days for the uncut watermelon to fully decompose inside a plastic storage container. 

The first minute and 20 seconds are uneventful. Though the watermelon gradually loses its vibrant green coloring and firm appearance, it manages to maintain its shape for an impressive 471 days. But while it doesn’t look rotten from the outside, that doesn’t mean the watermelon would be safe to eat after a year and some change. The next day it starts to leak fizzy, yellow liquid, demonstrating the decay that’s been going in within the melon’s soft interior. 

At this point, things start to fall apart fast. The rotten rind collapses into a puddle of its own juices. Fuzzy white mold starts to grow on the outside and eventually overtake what’s left. Bugs appear around day 530, and by day 605 all that remains is a flattened, dried husk. 

It’s the channel’s longest timelapse by far, beating out the rotting potato time lapse that previously held the record by more than 150 days.

It’s an interesting look at the fruit’s decomposition process, but you shouldn’t take it as an excuse to store a watermelon at room temperature for a year. According to one farm, whole watermelons can be kept for up to a month before they start to go bad. These foods, on the other hand, almost never expire.