The duration it takes for a dead body to decompose depends on various factors, any of which may affect the necessary time it takes to break the body down. But surely, if the body is exposed to the elements, the decaying process will be very fast. The most important thing to remember in decomposition is the exposure of the dead body to bacteria. In order to survive, bacteria need oxygen and are found in large concentrations in water. Therefore, if a dead body is exposed to water or air, then it will dramatically decompose. Insects and animals will feed on tissues if a dead body is exposed to them, and this also quickens the decomposing process.
Average Time Needed for a Body to Decompose
How long does it take for a body to decompose? When a person’s heart stops pumping blood to the body, the cells and tissues are denied oxygen and rapidly start dying. But the exact decomposing time differs. Generally, it could take about a year for the body to decompose into a skeleton in ordinary soil and eight to twelve years to decompose a skeleton. And if a dead body is inside a coffin and buried deep underground, it could even take 50 years to decompose all tissues on the body.
Normally, substantial decomposition mostly occurs in the course of two weeks, and the body’s soft tissues start disintegrating even with preservation. If the body does not get enough protection from the elements, it can even skeletonize in a space of a year. However, the teeth and bones can last even for a hundred years if the soil is not highly acidic and warm. The following table shows body decomposition after death in a timeline (in moderate temperature).
How Long Does It Take for Body to Decompose?
|24-72 hours after death||Internal organs begin to decompose.|
|3-5 days after death||Body starts bloating. Blood-containng foam begins leaking from mouth and nose.|
|8-10 days after death||Massive decomposition of organs in abdomen accumulate massive gas; body turns from green to red because of blood decomposition.|
|Several weeks after death||Nails and teeth begin to fall.|
|1 month after death||Body starts to become fluid.|