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The first thing that will usually give you the impression that there is a dead animal under your house is the smell. After a while, the carcass of the animal will give off an awful stench, caused by the decomposition of the flesh. In turn, the carcass could do more than just up a stench, often causing other pests and bugs to flock to the area. It is not unusual to find cockroaches, rats, mice, flies, maggots, and more around dead bodies, and there are even some scavengers that will prey on this, jumping on the opportunity for an easy meal.
There are a vast number of animals that could die under your house, and if the area is easily accessible, it will be accessed. This could be a passing wild creature, such as a raccoon, skunk, opossums, or even mice and rats. It could be a passing stray dog or cat, or perhaps even a feral one. The area in which you live will have a big part to play over what animals (wild or otherwise) that you are likely to encounter.
Do you know what animal has died under your home? This might have a much bigger impact on how you choose to deal with the problem. For example, if you have an animal that has the potential to pass on dangerous diseases, such as rabies, you would probably want to call in the professionals to get the job done, rather than risk transmitting the disease (which can still be present in the dead body of an animal) with a weekend DIY job. You must also remember that your pets can often get into much tighter spots than you can, and if they have not been vaccinated against this disease (as well as others), they could also require medical attention. North American has some of the most rabies-prolific creatures across the globe, and raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and more are all known vectors.
Do you know where the animal is? You know it's under your home, but where? The underneath of your home is quite a large space and you're probably going to need to narrow it down a little. You can use tracks and other physical signs that the animal has been hanging around to help point you in the right direction, but there's a good chance that you will need to do a little bit of hunting.
Do you have the right protective equipment? We've already mentioned rabies, and you'll want to avoid all contact with rabies-infected creatures. Other animals can carry other diseases ,and in some cases, the feces and urine of the creature could be just as harmful as the animal itself. You will want to make sure you have all the right protective and safety equipment before you do this job, to make sure you're minimizing the threat of disease-spread. These tools and pieces of equipment will often include things such as safety googles, breathing mask, full-body suit, boot coveralls, and more. If you can't be sure of the answers to all of these questions, it's probably a good idea to get the professionals in. It would be like trying to solve a plumbing problem if you don't have a clue about plumbing. You'll likely get it wrong, and then the job will cost twice as much when you just have to hire in the professionals! There is a lot involved when it comes to removing the dead body of a potential disease-ridden animal.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does dead animal removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of dead animals - my main dead animal removal info guide.
Example dead animal removal photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Dead animal job blog - learn from great examples of dead animal jobs I've done.