03.24.2004 - This is a very typical dead animal removal scenario here in Florida. Because of the high water table, the houses here do not have basements. Many homes have foundations flush against
the ground, but many are elevated off the ground, with a crawlspace underneath. These areas are magnets for wild animals - they provide a safe refuge from the elements and a good place to set up a den.
Opossums in particular like to live underneath houses. Opossums don't live very long - about 2-3 years in the wild. They're very common around here, and they simply die frequently. They actually seem to choose to die indoors. I rarely encounter outdoor deaths like I do with other animals. So even if they're not already living under the home, they may choose to crawl under there to die. Once they do die, they decompose, and the homeowner most definitely notices this. Adult opossums usually weigh about 9-12 pounds, and that's a fairly large amount of decaying mass. The odor is very strong. It often makes the home unbearable.
When I'm called out to a home with a dead animal smell, the first thing I do is check to see if it's an elevated home, and if so, I check to see if there's access underneath, and if the odor is coming from the perimeter of the home. I also look for flies. In this case, I found all three - several openings which should have been screened shut, a bad odor coming from these opening, and flies going in and out.
I put on my disposable Tyvek body suit, which keeps me reasonably clean, and got my HEPA filter mask to block out the dirt/dust under the home, and to shield me from the odor (I do have to get up close and personal with the source, of course), and I got my headlamp and bodybag and trowel and BioShield. I crawled underneath, and luckily, this was as easy as it gets. First of all, the ground was covered with a black tarp! This made everything very clean. Second of all, I had plenty of headroom and there was no clutter or architectural obstruction. Sometimes I have no space and I have to wiggle through very tight areas, or even dig my way through tight spots. This is one of the reasons I carry the trowel. This opposum was right out in the open - no difficult search at all. If only they were all this easy! I normally bag the animal and then throw dirt on the remnants (fur, juices, maggots, etc) and bury them, but in this case I was able to simply bag the opossum and get out of there. Easy pickings! I love dead possum removal.
Do it yourself: Visit my How To Find and Get Rid of Dead Animals page for tips and advice.
Get professional help: Visit my Nationwide Pro Directory of dead wildlife removal experts.
A dead animal under a house can be a stray cat, a raccoon, or even a rat, but an opossum is the most likely culprit.
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Critters can crawl into the attic, in the basement, garage, and even your car from tiny crevices, eaves, or multiple other entryways. These unwelcomed guests can die and rot anywhere causing a strong odor around the house.
If you have noticed a strong stench of a dead animal coming from the walls, backyard, etc., first you need to locate it. Then, remove the dead carcass. Then remains the terrible odor of the pesky critter.
Now, if you are really struggling with removing the dead animal odor, deodorants are obviously the best solution.
But, the deodorization of the house doesn't end here. So, read on to save you time and future trouble.
How to Remove the Dead Animal Smell?
To get rid of the dead animal smell, here are multiple simple tips to clean your home from the bad stink of a dead animal:
Step 1: Locate the Dead Animal:
Whether you have an unvisited basement area or attic, an untended garage or car, or an elevated home with a crawlspace beneath the house; you can face the trouble of finding dead rats, mice, squirrels, etc., around these places. You might have set a trap to kill the critter while it moved in to set up its den inside your home. Whatever the case may be, now you need to locate the dead carcass using your sense of smell.
Step 2: Remove the Carcass and Clean Up:
Put on your safety suit and disposable gloves and get rid of the carcass first. Bag the carcass as well as any remaining juices or stinky material around the dead body. Open up the windows if it's the attic area for proper ventilation. Use bleach cleaners and disinfectants to clean up the area so your children or pets may not catch diseases.
Step 3: Deodorize the Space
Here are a few ways to remove the bad stench from the area even if it's underneath the house:
Vinegar is truly the simplest solution to deodorize the space. Just fill in several disposable cups with vinegar and arrange them around the area where the dead animal was found. The vinegar can magically soak in all the bad smell leaving the space odorless and fresh.
Use ground coffee or coffee filters:
Coffee beans and ground coffee is known for neutralizing smells. Use ground coffee or coffee filters while cleaning up the space or simply place it around the area. Both ways, this natural deodorizer will tone down the bad smell without wasting bottles of deodorants.
Use baking soda:
Baking soda is another great cleaning aid and deodorizer. Even when you are unable to locate the animal, add baking soda in water to spray all over the place where the smell is strong. Repeat it several times throughout the day.
Call Professional Cleaners:
If you are unable to find or remove the dead animal or cannot bear the pungent smell, call the professionals to locate the dead carcass and clean the space. Be it your home, garage, or car, the experts that specialize in ‘dead animal removal' and ‘odor control' will perfectly handle the job for you.