This may be an unpleasant and gruesome topic but, at some point in our lives, a lot of us will be faced with the dilemma of what to do with a dead animal. It may be a squirrel or a bird in your garden, or a beloved family pet, or even a pest that has died inside the walls.
Regardless of the situation, you should know how to safely dispose of the animal carcass in order to avoid the terrible odour, as well as the potentially life-threatening health risks associated with dead bodies.
After reading this article, you will be able to take decisive action to protect your family and pets should you stumble upon a dead animal in or around your home.
The danger of a dead animal
Dead and decomposing animals are a serious health hazard for you, your family, and any pets you may have. The greatest risk comes from the parasites that the corpse is hosting, fleas and ticks in particular.
As these parasites feast, they become carriers of various diseases. If no action is taken, these bloodsuckers will eventually begin searching for a new food source, namely you and any other mammal in the house. If this happens, you run the risk of contracting bite-transmitted diseases, some of which cause organ failure and death.
Another way in which people contract diseases from dead animals is through incorrect handling of the corpse. Even if treated quickly, the diseases from rotting animals can affect your health for the rest of your shortened lifespan.
This may sound alarmist but, in our opinion, the risks warrant such a strong warning. Don’t worry, though – this article will cover the entire process of safely disposing of a dead animal.
How to dispose of a dead rat in your garden
This is one of the most common places to find dead animals. In the majority of cases it will be a bird, pet, squirrel or some other small rodent. In the UK, you are permitted to bury rats and animals (excluding livestock and horses) in your garden.
We recommend that the grave is at least two feet deep and includes a layer of rock above the corpse to stop it from becoming unearthed by scavengers. But if you are not comfortable with this or are worried about vengeful rat ghosts, there are some other options available.
Your local vet, or council authority, may assist you in having the corpse incinerated, but it is important that you do not attempt to burn the body yourself or you may end up being visited by the authorities.
A third option is to simply dispose of the dead rat at the landfill. However, check with the staff first as some facilities do not allow the disposal of hazardous biological materials.
No matter which option you choose, you will need to take the following precautions:
- Do not touch the corpse with your bare hands; ALWAYS wear gloves.
- Wear a long-sleeved top and trousers to avoid parasites.
- Try to minimise your physical contact with the corpse as much as possible. Scoop it up with a shovel or use the inside of a bin bag to pick it up.
How to dispose of a dead rat in a wall
If a rat, a squirrel, or another animal has entered your home, got stuck and subsequently died, you can tell by looking for these signs, such as swarms of flies around a particular area, or unexplained stains on your walls.
- Locate the dead rat. The most effective method is also the simplest – by smell. Sniff around the walls until you find the area with the strongest smell.
- Cut a hole in the wall to remove the carcass and clean up the juices, as well as any maggots. Have everything you will need ready before removing the animal, though. The last thing you want is to run around your house holding a decaying animal while frantically searching for a bag.
- Contact professionals. When you book a visit from one of the highly trained experts at Fantastic Pest Control, they will come to your home (in a discreet way to save you from any potential embarrassment) and perform an inspection to locate the dead rat. Once found, they will remove the corpse and seal it in a sanitary bag. As for the disposal, the corpse is taken to an incineration facility where it will be safely destroyed.
How to get rid of the residual smell of a dead rat
Despite having gotten rid of the dead rat, you will most likely find that the unpleasant stench of decay is still present. You should prepare yourself for a bout of intense cleaning in order to eliminate the smell.
- Wear gloves throughout the cleaning process.
- Open as many windows as possible.
- Use a cloth or paper towels to clean up any juices, fur and anything else left by the corpse.
- Spray the area with an enzyme cleaner and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes. This will give the enzymes time to break down all biological material.
- Wipe the area.
- Spray the area with a disinfectant and wipe.
If the animal died touching anything made from fabric, such as a carpet, rug, or curtains, wash them on a high-temperature setting with hydrogen peroxide, mixed in with your usual laundry detergent. If it cannot be washed, you will need to throw it away as the smell will persist and the area may retain some dangerous bacteria.
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As previously mentioned, you should take every precaution you can when disposing of dead animals. The bacteria, viruses, and parasites they carry pose a severe risk to your health, as well as the health of your family and pets. Our recommended safety precautions are:
- Latex or rubber gloves – never touch a dead rat with your bare hands.
- Overalls or a long-sleeved shirt and trousers – to protect you from parasites, such as ticks and fleas.
- A HEPA face mask – this will stop you from breathing in the nastiness.
- Keep pets and children as far away from the corpse as possible.
- Seal containers or bags as soon as possible after placing the carcass inside.
- When finished with the disposal, take a shower and wash the clothes you were wearing in a high-temperature setting.
So there we have it, your guide on how to dispose of dead animals safely. We hope you never have to experience this, but if you do, at least you are now armed with the knowledge of how to deal with the situation safely.
Image source: Lemau Studio/shutterstock.com
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