Marine experts are still figuring out what to do with a dead 28-foot sperm whale that washed ashore a few days ago on San Jose Island.

It was discovered Monday on private property. The whale is said to be a female and is still on the shoreline. Experts advise the public to stay away because it weighs several tons and may be carrying a lot of bacteria.

"It could be a source of disease, especially as it's decomposing," said Tony Amos of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. "You can imagine a carcass, 28-foot of decomposing in the sun."

Even though the whale is dead, it is protected under the Federal Marine Mammals Act, which makes it illegal to touch. No one knows yet what caused the whale to beach itself.