01.02.2006 - Some dead animal removal jobs are very challenging - they involve persnickety housewives who recoil at the smell of day-old milk, and can
somehow sense a dead flea in the wall on the other end of the house. I arrive, can't smell anything above the scent of 50 sticks of incense and 30 lavender
candles, but persist on until I find the littlest critter tucked away in some impossible to find god-forsaken back corner of the house, barely raising the
slightest perceptible odor. Those are the lousy dead animal removal jobs.
This one, this one was a pure pleasure. It was easy. Very easy. I knew that it would be easy when I could smell it before I even entered the home, and when I saw about 444 flies buzzing in the house. Smelled like easy money to me. I walked right to the rear of the house - I didn't even have to follow my nose - the fly density was highest back there, and saw a large stain on the drop ceiling. I put on my respirator mask, popped off the adjacent ceiling tile, and was greeted by this beauty. This is the largest dead opossum that I have removed to date. It was thus also one of the smelliest, and thus one of the easiest to find. I took out the whole ceiling tile, which of course had to be replaced, seeing as how possum juice had saturated the thing. Pictured is the dollar that I got paid to remove it, which provides a good size comparison.
How did this opossum die inside the house? And why had the homeowner let the place reach Level 7 Stink Status (roughly the same as the bottom of a port-o-potty) before calling me out? The answer is that they were cheap bastards. The opossum died inside the house because they knew that they had an animal living in the ceiling, and they saw the hole that it was using to get into the ceiling from the outside, so they took matters into their own hands, and they sealed the hole shut. They did so when the animal was inside. It couldn't get out, and it died. I doubt it died of starvation, seeing as it was fatter than the woman living there, so it must have died of dehydration.
Then when it started decomposing, I think it was the pressure of the neighbors, who could smell the thing next door, that got them to finally have me come remove it. They learned a valuable lesson - if you've got an animal in the ceiling, sooner or later, you're going to have to call your friendly neighborhood wildlife operator. It's up to you to do it before 444 flies swarm in search of possum drippings, or after.
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Opossums are great climbers and can easily access your roofs and attics.
If you have an opossum infestation during the spring or summer months, it's usually a female opossum looking for a secure, dry place to have their young that is accessible to food and water. So you will probably find several baby opossums as well as the mother. During harsh winters, you may find a cluster of 3-6 adult opossums as they will come together in groups to stay warm. Once opossums invade your attic, they leave a gigantic mess with large messy droppings and they have no qualms about urinating in your ceilings. If the opossum gets stuck in the ceiling and dies, the stench is quite something to behold.
Apart from the massive stench, you will notice a huge, growing stain on the ceiling where the decaying opossum is.
Dead opossums need to be removed before they start spreading their odor and before the parasites, fleas, and ticks that lived on them start to make new homes on your pets or children. Dead opossums in the ceiling will also attract other opossums and predators to check out your home, not to mention mounds of flies.
You will need a professional to remove the opossum safely, without damaging your property and ensuring that the area has been cleaned and disinfected. They will also check that there aren't any more opossums lurking around and can seal up points of entry.
You will probably want to clean the crawl space or attic after you've removed the opossums from the space. They can leave behind large amounts of droppings, urine, hair, oils, food, nesting material, and so on. These unwanted leftovers will attract insects like cockroaches and will leave a scent that can encourage new possums to attempt to chew or break their way into your house. You might also experience odor problems from the waste. It's possible or likely that mold will grow on the areas of feces and urine, and urine can damage wood or sheetrock. Mold can potentially cause disease, and the feces themselves can cause diseases, such as Salmonella or Leptospirosis.
Once you call a professional, they will locate the dead opossum by looking for the stain and following the scent. They will then cut a small hole into the ceiling or remove planks from the attic above. They will remove the dead opossum and clean the area.