Pest Problems

How to Get Rid of a Dead Animal

Imagine waking up in the morning on the weekend. The sun is shining, and the day is all yours to do as you please. You walk out of your bedroom, and there it is – a dead animal rat corrupting the wonderful free day. Finding a dead animal in your yard or your house is not only an unsightly thing to see, but it can get very dangerous if you don’t do something about it as soon as possible.

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In this article, the Fantastic Services pest control team will explain the dangers of a dead animal in your house and will walk you through the steps of its removal. The most common examples are dead squirrels in the attic or basement, dead mice or rats after dealing with a rodent infestation, or a dead bird in the yard.

Damage by dead animal carcases

Having a dead animal on your property comes with many problems, some of which can put the health of your household at risk. Some of them are:

  • The smell. Decomposing organic bodies produce an unpleasant smell you won’t be able to ignore. Your neighbours might detect it too.
  • Disease. A living animal carries diseases, but a dead one is a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria and viruses. Among them are the plague, tapeworms, toxoplasmosis and many more. If you own a pet and they ingest the carcass, they will most likely fall sick or even die. The same goes for humans who come in contact with it.
  • Infestation. Most furry animals are infested with fleas. Once the animal dies, the fleas will have to find another host. It could easily be your pet, your clothes or your carpet. Additionally, if given enough time, a fly or an ant infestation will befall your home.
  • Hygiene problems. When left alone long enough, animal carcasses get feasted on by worms and maggots. Not only are they unsanitary, but they leave very hard-to-handle stains on carpets and hardwood.

Now that we established that a dead animal is bad to have on your property, it’s time to explain what you should do to get rid of it. Or, if you don’t want to get rid of it yourself, there is always professional pest control and dead animal removal service. While the cost of pest control can be expensive, if you have a serious infestation on your hands, it’s the only way to remove it permanently.

What does a dead animal smell like?

Almost every homeowner isn’t aware of dead rats or mice. It’s usually only the rotten odour of a dead animal you’ll smell in your attic or, worse, in your walls and air vents. Rodent carcasses emit a stinky odour of decay and a “bouquet” of toxic gases like methane, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and pyruvic acid.

The smell of a dead rat can harm a person’s health because of the toxic gases and microscopic compounds it emits into the air. Since most houses aren’t ventilated consistently, the gases can get into your lungs and cause illness.

How to find the dead animal

Unfortunately, you don’t always have a dead animal on an easy out in the open spot. Sometimes, a squirrel has made a nest inside the mountains of clutter in your attic. Sometimes, a rat has died between the walls of your property. To find the carcass, you might have to do some searching.

  • Follow the odour. You best trace would be the one that is the hardest to ignore. Sniff around, and eventually, you’ll reach the room of the source. It’s a health risk when dead animals decompose in walls because they can release disease-causing bacteria.
  • Follow the flies. Dead organic matter attracts flies. As a result, you might also be dealing with a fly infestation. The flies feast and lay their eggs where the carcass has broken skin. After some time, the body will be covered in maggots, which in turn will produce more flies.
  • Declutter. If the dead animal is situated in a room with lots of clutter, you will have to move everything out of the way to get to it. You could also use it as an opportunity to put some of the items to avoid this from happening again.
  • Call a handyman. If the dead animal is between the walls, you have no choice but to call a professional handyman. It’s not advisable to attempt and open the wall yourself if you’re not a specialist.

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How to get rid of a dead animal

Time needed: 15 minutes.

Once you’ve found the dead animal, be very careful with the removal. Never touch the animal with your bare hands! It’s not advisable to even breathe close to it. It’s known that the hantavirus, which rats carry, can infect a human even from the contaminated dust they inhale.

  1. Wear protective gear

    Rubber gloves and a face mask are a must when handling dead animal carcasses. Otherwise, you risk disease transmission.

  2. Use a shovel

    You can scoop the decomposing animal with a shovel for extra security, so you don’t have to get too close to the disease-ridden carcass.

  3. Place into a plastic bag

    Prepare a plastic rubbish bag to put the animal in. Plastic bags are good at keeping any dangerous contents inside them. Tie up the bag into a knot and place it into a second plastic bag, just in case. Tie that one in a knot as well.

  4. Dispose of the bag

    Once that’s done, throw away the bag in an outdoor rubbish bin. It’s advisable to do the same with the rubber gloves and mask.

  5. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap

    Go back home and wash your hands thoroughly with soap to remove any possibility of infection.

If you spot a dead animal on public land, you need to inform the local borough, and they will dispose of it. If the dead animal is a deceased pet, you have the right to bury it on your own property.

Prevention is the best medicine. If you don’t want to ever scoop dead animals from your house, you have to make sure not to let them inside in the first place. Check the following articles to find out how to keep rodents and birds away:

Get rid of dead rat or mouse

You shouldn’t touch a dead mouse or rat with bare hands. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Put on a pair of rubber gloves. Wear a face mask as well when handling dead animal carcasses. Otherwise, you risk disease transmission.
  • Use a disinfectant or bleach-and-water mixture on the dead rodent and the immediate area.
  • Put the mouse or rat in a plastic bag and tie the bag into know and place it into a second bag. Once you’re done, throw the bag in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap to remove any possibility of infection.

Get rid of a dead fox

A dead fox should be removed immediately because it can harm your health and the environment.

  • Make sure you don’t touch the dead fox with your bare hands. Wear rubber gloves with leak-proof properties to handle the dead fox or use a heavy shovel.
  • You’ll have to pick up the dead fox and turn the plastic bag inside over the body.
  • Be careful handling the dead fox, so its claws or sharp nails don’t puncture the bag. Once it is in the bag, close it up and don’t forget to tie the ends. Use a twist-tie or rubber band to seal the bag.
  • Get another plastic bag and put the dead fox bag in it. Likewise, close this bag up and throw it in the waste bin.
  • After throwing the bag in the garbage bin, ensure you wash your hands with soap and warm water.
  • Avoid touching your face or other body parts to avoid allergens.

Dead animal disposal laws vary from council to council or city to city in the UK. Law prohibits burying or burning fallen stock or wild animals in the open because they’re a hazardous waste.

Ways to remove the dead animal smell

It’s hard to get rid of the smell of a dead mouse or rat. The smell can last even if the decaying rodents have been removed from the house. Dead animal odour can be eliminated by cleaning and disposing of saturated items. When cleaning up after removing dead animals, wear gloves.

Sanitise. Wash thoroughly the spot where the dead animal was found. There might be leftover fur, bodily fluids and maggots. Use an enzymatic cleaner that breaks down the organic matter and eliminates diseases and odours. After cleaning, dispose of the gloves and rags you used in a plastic bag.

Ventilation. Open all doors and windows and let the air move around the room. It’s the best way to get rid of the dead animal smell.

Fabrics cleaning. If the carcass was lying on a carpet or any other fabric, you should sanitise them. Dry cleaning is very effective for carpets. For other fabrics, you could put them in the washing machine, using hot water and a cup of bleach. Or you could dispose of the fabric altogether.

Freshen the air. Essential oils in a diffuser are an excellent way to freshen the air after your job is done. When you deal with a dead rat or dead mouse smell, use scented candles in your house for a couple of weeks.

Who to call to remove a dead animal

When dealing with dead rodents or foxes, your best choice is to call a professional pest control company. Aside from being safer, the pest technician can also give tips on preventing future infestations.

Our team will remove dead animals on private land or commercial properties like rodents, cats, dogs, badgers, foxes, and pets. Contact your local council to report dead animals on public land such as highways.

Get in touch with us for inspection and safe animal removal.


  • Dead animals pose a health risk.
  • Dead animals bring fly, ant and flea infestations.
  • Always wear protective gear when removing dead animal carcasses!

Having a dead animal in your house can quickly become a health hazard if you don’t act quickly. If you’re squeamish or generally don’t want to be bothered with a job like that, you can always call professional pest control experts to do this job for you.

Image source: Elisa Putti/


Did you even have to remove a dead animal from your house? Tell us in the comments!

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