10.14.2004 - This job was extra super duper hard and difficult and aggravating. In fact, dead animals under trailer homes make me angry. This job is always a bitch. In fact, it's pointless to say dead "animal"
under a trailer home, because it's always "dead opossum under trailer home". The animal is always a danged opossum. I don't know why I'm complaining. It's not like I care about what the specie is. I guess maybe a
little variety would be nice.
But if the job lacks variety of animal, it doesn't lack variety in architecture, and this particular trailer home featured a very annoying architectural element - these metal braces with very sharp edges. I squirmed and crawled as usual, in desperate search for the dead possum and I scraped myself on the braces several times. It was hot and dirty and spidery and it's really hard to find the dead animal, because it always dies up in the vapor barrier. Every time. Why can't the danged things die on the ground? No, they crawl up into the most difficult area to search. I usually have to do some exploratory surgery into the vapor barrier in order to narrow it down. This one was extremely difficult. I'm too annoyed to write about it any more, so here, the photo. Sorry if you don't like looking at three hundred and eighty two maggots.
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Reader Email: Hi David,
I know that giving out free advice probably isn't your meat ‘n potatoes…..but as you offer to take questions, here I am.
I am looking into buying a house that has sat empty for some time. It has been somewhat difficult to get much info about it…until today. I finally was contacted by the realtor who notified me that it was back on the market since the prospective buyer and the bank couldn't come to terms. I got a walkthrough the place today and it would be safe to say that it's a fixer upper…mainly with a lot of filth…otherwise basically a lot of potential.
So why am I writing you…? The last room I went into was the master bath. Upon reflection, I see that the lady showing the place wasn't exactly steering me into this room and kind of wandered off calling my attention to things NOT in that room. Well I went over to the tub and…what the….what….what IS that….mess of whatever-the-hell…HAIR…BONES…other?
As you will probably not be surprised, after staring at it for a moment I realized that at one end of the tub curled up over the drain is what appears to be a possum. It looks like its been there undisturbed every bit of a year and it had obviously been worked over thoroughly by flies/maggots. Later, I found a zillion dead green flies piled up on the floor by the sliding door in the master bedroom, obviously the adults that arose from the maggots.
So my question is….what would your thoughts be on cleaning that mess up, disinfecting, etc. I'm an excellent do-it-yourselfer—any considerations beyond a general cleanup with a stern disinfectant? Any potential health issues from the flies that were obviously moving around there at one time? Any other thoughts? I know that to get financing, lenders typically require that the property is Safe, Secure, Sanitary. Actually, I'm wondering if the bank even knows about it, given the realtor's response when I called her attention to it—she seemed to try act surprised but wasn't curious enough to come and see for herself.
Incidentally, one other thing I noticed is that there was some pink insulation that had been blown into one of the A/C vents and I wonder if the critter had been in the ductwork and that's how it got inside. There was also some soffit panels missing that may have gotten him into the attic.
All in all a lovely tour. I thought it might be an interesting anecdote for you given the subject matter on your website. Thanks in advance for your thoughts. --Jim
My response: Just clean it up the same way you'd clean up anything - gather and throw out the debris, vacuum, scrub it with any household disinfectant. If there are holes in the house, seal them shut.
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A pest infestation can be a real nuisance. The presence of these animals can cause serious complications and puts ones' health in jeopardy. Possums are a huge problem but possums that make their way into the urbanized world are a special type of problem. Possums mostly live in forests, however, in some cases, these pests in search of food and sustenance find themselves in contact with one's own property. In some cases, possums make their way into mobile trailer homes. This can cause a number of problems. Apart from damaging one's trailer, these animals can spread diseases and severely damage insulation and many more key components which make the removal of these pests a priority.
A dead possum is not easy to spot. The only way a person is made aware of the presence is when the stench becomes prominent. This smell is the result of the rotting of the carcass of the possum. The death of the possum inside the trailer and its rotting carcass will give rise to a number of problems which include the smell which can attach itself to any material with which the dead carcass came in contact with. Another problem that may arise is that the horrible stench will attract many other pests like mice, flies, and more. The parasites, ticks, or fleas that were once on the possum will now look for new homes and hence a person's pets will always be under threat. It is therefore best advised to seek out the help of professionals to carry out the removal and disinfect the whole area as the dead possum is only the root of the problem.
Most people believe that by the death of the possum their infestation problems would be over and will have to no longer worry about the damage being done by them. As mentioned above, the possum's death causes a whole new set of problems to arise all of which can seriously put ones' health at risk. The smell of the rotting carcass and the fleas will find themselves to the residents inside the trailer and hence can damage the livestock and the pets. After assessing the situation completely one should call their local wildlife removers to help remove the carcass from the trailer. After the carcass has been removed some precautions must be taken to effectively stop the animals from entering the trailer home. One must ensure that the locality around the home is tidy and clean. Another trick is to set the birdfeeder some distance away from the mobile home as it attracts pests. It is also advised to disinfect the trailer regularly and seal all possible entry holes so that these animals do not find their way in. The removal of the dead possum can prove to be quite a challenge as it can cause discomfort to you and your family.