One unfortunate (and sometimes gruesome) aspect of homeownership that many people dread is coming across a dead animal on their property-or worse yet, inside their home or car. Oftentimes, a dead squirrel is a common finding either in or around your home, property, or backyard, or even inside your car (most often, under the hood). Knowing how to properly dispose of a dead squirrel will adequately prepare you in case you ever have to get rid of a dead squirrel carcass.
In short, to dispose of a dead squirrel, it’s best practice to wear disposable gloves and use a small shovel or plastic bag to pick the body up; you should place the dead squirrel into a plastic bag (double bagged, if possible) and either dispose of the dead squirrel in your regular household waste or bury it.
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to request a pickup of a dead animal by the local garbage company or city/town department, however, this option may not be viable during Covid-19 or in certain locations. Keep reading for more information on where you could potentially find a dead squirrel in your home or on your property, or in your car, how to help get rid of the smell from a dead squirrel, and the correct way to dispose of a dead squirrel.
Where You Could Find a Dead Squirrel
There are a variety of places in and around your home that you could unfortunately come across a dead squirrel (or other small rodents like rats, mice or birds for that matter). These include:
Areas Inside Your Home
There are many areas or rooms in your home in which you could potentially find a dead squirrel; these include (but are not limited to): attics, basements, chimneys, within the walls itself, in the garage, or in the eavestrough of the roof. Certain areas, such as within the walls of your home, may be extremely difficult to remove.
If you suspect that you have a dead squirrel or other animal behind or within the walls of your home, it’s best to contact a professional service to remove the dead animal (depending on the location of the carcass, you may need renovations to repair areas of your home).
In/Around Your Backyard
Of course, there are numerous places that you could come across a dead squirrel in your backyard or on your property, including: in a swimming pool or bird bath, in and around a storage shed, in and around trees/bushes, underneath decks, or simply on the grass. Dead squirrels found outside in your backyard have typically died as a result of an attack from another animal or a failure to thrive (for example, if a baby squirrel was left alone by its mother and died from hunger).
In Your Car
Unfortunately, sometimes squirrels create nests/homes under the hood of a car; this especially common in colder climates during the Winter season, as it is often warm under the hood from the engine. Squirrels can also sometimes crawl into the tailpipe and get stuck. Rarely, if you happen to run over a squirrel while driving, the carcass (or parts of it) may also get stuck in and around the wheel of your car. It may be difficult to find where the terrible smell of a dead squirrel is coming from.
How to Properly Dispose of a Dead Squirrel
There are essentially two ways that you can dispose of a dead squirrel; these methods will be the same regardless of where you happen to find a dead squirrel in or around your home. For each of these methods, you should wear a pair of gloves (wear disposable gloves; never directly touch a dead animal) and use a small shovel or plastic bag to pick the dead squirrel up. You should place the dead animal (along with the used gloves) inside a plastic grocery bag. Ideally, you can double bag the plastic bag.
Disposing of a Dead Squirrel in Your Regular Household Waste
Many cities or municipalities recommend disposing of a found dead squirrel (from your property, not roadkill) in regular household waste or compost.
To dispose of a dead squirrel in your regular household waste, you’ll want to use disposable gloves and either a shovel or plastic bag to pick up the body. You should then place the dead squirrel into a plastic grocery bag (double bagged), tie it and place it in either the garbage or your collected compost/green bin (to be kept outdoors). Be sure to throw the disposable gloves away with the dead squirrel as well. After disposing of the dead squirrel in your household waste, you should thoroughly wash your hands and anything else (such as a shovel) that came into contact with the squirrel).
Burying a Dead Squirrel
Another way you can dispose of a dead squirrel is by burying it in a shallow grave. Of course, this requires you to bury the dead squirrel on your property and requires you to dig up your yard. If you choose to do this, follow the above steps (using disposable gloves, a shovel, etc.) and bury the squirrel.
This may not be a good option if you have pets, as they may dig up the grave and then you’ll have another problem on your hands!
How to Deal with Residual Smell from a Dead Squirrel
Oftentimes, a dead squirrel that’s found in any area of your home (excluding, of course, any outdoor areas or eavestroughs) or car may leave behind a residual smell from the decomposing body. The smell will likely be much worse if you didn’t find the dead squirrel right away. The same is true if you have a dead squirrel in your car; you may mistakenly believe that you ran over a squirrel or other small animal or garbage, and not think twice about the fact that the smell may actually be a result of a dead squirrel somewhere in your car (like under the hood). No matter where the dead squirrel was found, the smell will dissipate eventually.
The best thing you can do is create as much air flow around the area as possible and use commercial cleaning and air freshener products to help with bad odors. Following is a complete breakdown of how to deal with the smell of a dead squirrel, according to where it was found.
Dealing with the Smell from a Dead Squirrel in your Home
A residual smell from a dead squirrel, depending on where it was in your home, may last for a couple days to weeks. If the area in which the dead squirrel was found is easily accessible, such as in your basement or attic, it’s best to thoroughly clean the area where the dead squirrel was found with a commercial cleaner.
If a commercial cleaner doesn’t completely rid the area of the smell, you can try mixing baking soda with vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the area (let it sit for a few minutes before wiping away with a damp cloth). Using air fresheners (or even cups of vinegar stationed around the area you found the dead squirrel) can help with residual odors. If you’re able to (if it isn’t too cold outside) you can also open windows around your home to get proper air circulation moving throughout your home.
Dealing with the Smell from a Dead Squirrel in/around your Backyard
Luckily, if you find a dead squirrel in your backyard or property, you already have fresh air to your advantage to help deal with any residual smell.
If you happen to find a dead squirrel on the grass/under a tree or bushes, or in the eavestrough of your roof, you can hose off the area.
If you happen to find a dead squirrel in a shed, air out the shed after removing the carcass.
Finally, if you find a dead squirrel in your swimming pool, you likely will need to fully clean (if not drain and refill) the water with the appropriate chemicals. There may not be much of a smell if the dead squirrel was found in the swimming pool, as you likely would have noticed it quickly had it been floating around in plain sight, plus the water wouldn’t really allow for the smell to travel much (unless it had been in water for a few days).
Dealing with the Smell from a Dead Squirrel in your Car
Dealing with residual smell from a squirrel carcass in your car may be a bit more tricky. If you know where the squirrel was found, you’ll want to clean the area (use an appropriate automotive cleaner), you can also open the windows, use the air vents on full blast, and have car fresheners to absorb or help rid the odor from your vehicle. You can also use specialized pet odor sprays on your car’s upholstery and cups of vinegar (leave them for a few days sitting in your car) to help absorb the smell.
Disposing of a dead squirrel may seem a bit tedious, but it’s best if you take the recommended steps, such as wearing gloves and using a shovel, to dispose of the carcass safely and efficiently.