Dead animals pose a health risk to humans and pets, carrying potential diseases including rabies, and acting as the host for parasites such as mites, fleas and ticks. The decomposition of dead animals also causes a strong odour that increases with the size of the animal, humidity level and warm temperatures. Removing and discarding a dead animal can be hazardous, depending on the location of the carcase and size of the animal. You can use safe handling techniques to discard the animal on your own in accordance to state laws or can call a local wildlife or animal control centre for professional assistance.
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Wear protective gear such as old clothing that covers your arms and legs, a hat, long plastic gloves and a mask that covers your nose and mouth. This prevents you from being exposed to parasites and from inhaling fumes that can cause breathing problems.
Locate the dead animal. Follow the odour or use a flashlight to look in obvious places such as under a deck, in a trap or in an attic or basement.
Call a local animal control company if you are unable to find the carcase or are ill-equipped to remove and discard it. Wildlife such as raccoons, opossum and bats can die in hidden or hard-to-reach places such as air ducts and crawl spaces and can be too large or disease ridden to remove yourself.
Place one plastic bag inside another to create a double bag to remove a small dead animal such as a rodent. Shovel the dead animal into the bags. Seal or tie the bags shut.
Contact your state's department of health or department of environmental conservation to request information on how to dispose of the animal. Follow the state law for carcase disposal, which may require burying, burning or discarding the animal at a landfill. Call animal control or a wildlife removal service to pick up the body, if necessary.
Tips and warnings
- Prepare a bleach and water solution in a bucket to clean contaminants off tools, such as shovels, used to dispose of the animal. Use one part bleach per nine parts water. Soak the materials in the solution for 10 minutes and scrub.
- Discard old clothing and gloves that touched the animal.
- Wash your skin with hot water and antibacterial soap.
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