Not all wild animals die in the wild. When squirrels live in an attic or elsewhere in a house or property, they may die in the wall or in a hiding space in the attic, and the common complaint is that there is a terrible odor in the house or an animal carcass and odor in the yard. There may also be a presence of flies, and you may be concerned about the health risks and that the carcass may stain the wall or the ceiling.
When the breakdown of tissues starts, then the indescribable odor can start to happen. The first stage of decomposition takes place immediately after the animal dies. The fluid drains to the lowest point of the body, which may result in discoloration and stiffness. The PH in the body can start to change and the cells can start to break down. By now, there is no defense that can be used against the process, and the body is further broken down because of microorganisms. The breakdown of the cellular materials is what may create a terrible odor that can be associated with the deceased animal, and when the decomposition process has finished, the smell can then start to dissipate. The process may take around two months, depending on the size of the animal.
The problem with wildlife is that the animals may unknowingly die in the home, and the homeowner will not discover the animal’s presence until they either come across the carcass or smell the awful odor of decomposition. A squirrel could have already been living in the home, or it may have sought out the home in the final stages of its life. In either case, you will want to locate the deceased animal and remove it as quickly and safely as possible.
One problem with wild animals is that when they are about to die, they seek out a confined space, which means it can be very difficult to locate a deceased squirrel in the home. Locating these deceased animals is often a skill that has to be learned through experience, so you may want to get the help of a professional. Look in dark confined spaces in your home, like the attic, and follow the smell to locate the carcass. When you decide to remove the carcass, it will need to be done by hand or perhaps a shovel, but be sure to wear protective gear like rubber gloves and a mask. There are a number of sites that may incinerate the animal’s carcass for you. If you do not know what to do, you should call the professional to do this for you since they have the experience and knowledge.
Go back to the How to Get Rid of Squirrels page or email us if you have any other questions about How to find and remove a dead squirrel in a house
We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.