How to dispose of a dead squirrel quickly and safely: 3 simple tips

Squirrels are so adorable and nice to see scampering all around your backyard. However, what a sudden awkward situation when you find a dead squirrel somewhere on your property! What should you do best? How to dispose of a dead squirrel properly?

Don’t panic! Here we are to propose a simple guide on how to deal with dead animal bodies in your backyard.

how to dispose of a dead squirrel
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How to dispose of a dead squirrel?

No matter if you like squirrels or not, finding these dead critters in your backyard is always frustrating. Since it is not the kind of situation that you can ignore, you should know for sure what to do with it.

What makes squirrels die?

In the wild, natural death is rare for squirrels. If you find a dead squirrel in your backyard, there are very low chance that it died because of old age.

Despite the possibility to live more than 20 years, the average lifespan of wild squirrels is about 6-12 years.

If so, what makes a squirrel suddenly die? What reasons can kill these animals?

When you find a dead squirrel in your backyard, the causes of its death can include the following variants.

#1. Diseases

Like any other living being, squirrels are prone to get infected. Since they are not treated in the wild, the diseases can lead squirrels to death.

If you find multiple deceased squirrels in your backyard, it is a sign of disease that kills the squirrel population in your area.

Unfortunately, you can’t know for sure why your found squirrel died, so a good rule of thumb is to dispose of a dead animal safely. Along with many other rodent species, squirrels can be a source of infection that may affect both humans and pets in your family.

Such diseases as squirrel pox, tularemia, and distemper can be the answer to why the squirrel died in your backyard.

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#2. Predation

By their nature, squirrels belong to the prey animals. It makes their lifespan significantly shorter than it is possible to be.

For a squirrel, the most difficult task is to survive past the first year of their life in the wild. Young squirrels are prone to be a favorite prey for many predators since they are still not able to escape successfully.

Adult squirrels usually live from 6 to 12 years on average when living in the wild. Their general lifespan is up to 20 years and more when nothing harms their health. However, natural living conditions rarely let squirrels live for so long.

Finding dead squirrels in the yard may be related to predators that accidentally lost their prey. Hawks, falcons, owls, and other birds of prey often catch squirrels. However, they can drop their prey while carrying it to a safer place for eating. As a result, the deceased squirrel can be left in your yard if the predator can’t find it anymore.

#3. Rat poison and other toxins

Being rodents, squirrels can be attracted by rat poison or any other dangerous chemicals scattered over the yard. That is one more reason why you can find dead squirrels in your backyard. Although you don’t mean to poison these lovely critters, the risk still exists if there are any toxins in free access around your backyard.

Thus, if you are going to get rid of rats in your household, a good idea is to place rat poison in such places that neither your kids and pets nor any wild animals can get it accidentally.

#4. Trauma

Despite being so flexible and agile, squirrels can also get knocked down to sudden death.

When squirrels fall out of a high tree onto a hard surface, there is a high risk to die for them. The landing mistake can sometimes cost a squirrel its life.

However, fatal falls are not common case. Among all the reasons for squirrels’ sudden death, this is the rarest one. In most cases, squirrels can land safely and change their position successfully while falling from the height.

#5. Electric shock

Last but not least, it is the electric shock that can kill the squirrel in your yard. These curious animals are prone to get anywhere they can, and there is still an unfortunate chance for them to be killed by the electrical cable.

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Why dead squirrels are dangerous?

Having a dead squirrel in your yard can be dangerous because of different diseases these little critters may die from.

Among the possible diseases, tularemia is the most common one for squirrels. This disease is also called “rabbit fever” which means that not only squirrels are prone to carry it but also rabbits and other rodent species. It is spread by the bacteria called F. tularensis, and that bacteria can be contained in the squirrel’s body even after its death.

In the dead squirrel’s body, the F. tularensis germs are still alive for a week. Thus, if you touch the dead squirrel with bare hands, there is a high risk of getting infected through minor skin damage.

That’s why you must always use protective gear when you remove dead squirrels from your backyard.

Another common disease that a dead squirrel can have is caused by the Animal Distemper Virus. The worst thing about distemper is that it is incurable. So, if a squirrel dies of this virus caught somewhere in the wild, it is highly dangerous to have the infected carcass in your backyard.

One more common squirrel virus is called Squirrel Fibroma Virus. The disease caused by this virus is known as squirrel pox. If there are any tumors on the dead squirrel, it is a sure sign that squirrel pox killed it.

Finally, squirrels can be affected by rabies. However, this dangerous disease is not common among the squirrels. Nevertheless, it never hurts to be on the safe side.

Along with natural causes, there can be a poison that kills a squirrel. If the little critter infested some rodent poison or insecticide recently, and that became a cause of death, you have to remove the dead squirrel from the place where you have found it. It is potentially dangerous for your kids and pets that get in contact with a poisoned dead animal.

The quicker you get rid of a dead squirrel in your backyard, the better it will be for you. Now, let’s find out more about three simple ways to deal with a dead squirrel body that you have just found!

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Burial method

The most common (and the most human) way to get rid of dead animals is burying them. Besides, a dead squirrel is a small animal that doesn’t require much elbow grease to dig a grave for it. This method is also suitable for some other small animals such as a dead chipmunk or ferret.

Before you start the burying process, always remember that wearing gloves is a crucial point. Don’t forget to protect your hands before you contact with a deceased animal!

Step #1: Dig a shallow grave

To get started, take a shovel and choose a suitable area in your yard. Of course, we don’t offer to bury a squirrel in your flower bed, so you need to find a free area that is not so striking.

Since squirrels are small animals, you don’t need to dig a lot. It is just enough to make a shallow grave that can fit the dead body.

However, be sure that the grave is deep enough to prevent the buried body from digging out. If you have pets (especially dogs who are keen on digging activities), they can find the grave and dig it out. As a result, contact with a dead squirrel will be dangerous for your furry friend.

Step #2: Carry the dead squirrel body

Before you bring a dead animal to the prepared grave, wear protective gloves. You can either take a dead squirrel’s carcass with protected hands or lift it with a long-handled shovel.

Never touch a dead squirrel with bare hands! Always remember all the health risks that are referred to wild animals. You can’t know for sure if your found dead squirrel is safe to touch or not unless you make a check in the lab.

Step #3: Place the dead animal into the grave

Now, place the dead squirrel into the prepared grave and bury it.

For some people, it is essential to let a little critter rest in peace properly.

So, you can make a small funeral by saying a little prayer if you feel like doing it.

Be sure to bury the dead squirrel deep enough so that your pets can’t get it from there. As a variant, you can mark the grave with stones that will make it harder for dogs to dig it out.

Step #4: Clean your hands and tools

As soon as you are done, take care of your safety. Take the protective gear off and sanitize it well. Wash your hands thoroughly as well to avoid any risk of getting an infection.

Sanitize your shovel as well to make sure there is no infection left on it. Since you are going to use this tool again, there must be no traces of infection that may be spread anywhere further.

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Scooping method

Another way to dispose of a dead squirrel in your yard is to scoop it in a plastic bag and place it into the outdoor trash bin.

For this method, equip yourself with protective gear, a long-handled shovel, and a couple of plastic bags to seal the dead squirrel in.

Step #1: Protect yourself

Before you start, never forget to wear protective gloves! Since the dead squirrel can be infected, wearing gloves is crucial for your safety.

Be sure that your gloves are not torn, or else you have to get a new pair.

Step #2: Scoop the dead squirrel up

The next step is to take a shovel and scoop the carcass up.

Avoid touching it with your hands! That is why having a long handle is essential for the shovel you use. The more distance there is between the dead squirrel and you, the safer it is for your health.

Step #3: Seal it into the plastic bag

A good rule of thumb is not to throw dead animals carelessly into the trash bin. The best idea is to place a carcass into a plastic bag and seal it properly.

After you scoop the squirrel carcass up, place it from the shovel into the secure plastic bag. The best idea is to double-bag it before placing it in the garbage bin. Make sure to seal or tie the bags securely before disposing of them.

Although placing dead squirrels in the trash is not forbidden, it is not provided to get the garbage collector to handle any dead carcasses.

Step #4: Place the sealed bags into the trash bin

Now, you can finally dispose of a dead squirrel by placing it into your outdoor garbage bin. Since the carcass is securely sealed, there are no risks of infection or the nasty smell spreading all over the place.

Step #5: Clean your hands and tools

Just like in the previous method, you have to sanitize your hands and the tools you have just used. Avoid the possible infection spreading, so disinfect your tools and items thoroughly.

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Pro method

If you don’t feel like dealing with a dead squirrel by yourself, which variants do you still have?

Some people start contacting Animal Control, but that is a common mistake. Remember that Animal Control has a certain list of charges, and dealing with the dead squirrel in your yard is not included in there.

Well, which animal services you can contact instead of Animal Control?

#1. Call the local animal services

It is always a good idea to contact the animal pick-up services. Since the dead animals’ removal is in their charge, the local animal services will do this unpleasant job for you.

#2. Contact the sanitation services

Another way to solve the dead squirrel problem is to contact the local sanitation services. The good news is that they will remove the dead squirrel from your yard for free!

#3. Call the professional services

One more great option is to contact professional wildlife removal services. As they are specialized in such cases, you can be sure that a squirrel in your yard will be removed quickly and safely.

How to deal with the dead squirrel smell?

If you find a dead squirrel somewhere in your backyard, you are lucky. Unless you define the dead animal’s body location, you can get rid of it; if not, you will face the dead squirrel smell coming out of somewhere.

For a small dead squirrel, it generally takes up to two weeks to decompose completely. However, if you can’t define its location during this period, you have to deal with the dead squirrel smell chasing you here and there.

The most difficult case is when the squirrel dies inside your attic. Squirrels are prone to hide in secure places where they can both live and store their food. So, your attic seems to be a perfect place to choose, doesn’t it?

As a result, someday a squirrel can suddenly die in your attic. What is more, it can accidentally trap in a hard-to-reach place, which makes it difficult to get out of – and find a dead carcass as well. 

Thus, you may wonder what a nasty smell starts emitting somewhere from your attic. As you can guess, the earlier you find an exact source of this smell, the easier it will be to dispose of it.

Even after you get rid of a dead squirrel, the smell can persist for some time.

So, what can you do if you can’t find a dead squirrel’s location? How to dispose of a dead squirrel’s smell?

#1. Vinegar remedy

If you find a dead critter in your attic, a few cups of white vinegar scattered all over the place will help you to dispose of the smell. Vinegar is a well-known versatile cleaner and odor absorbent, so you can use it for this purpose as well.

#2. Baking soda

Baking soda is another efficient odor removal. Prepare a solution of baking soda and clean water and mix it well in the spray bottle. Then, spray the cleanser all over the affected area thoroughly.

The drawback of this method is that you may have to repeat this procedure several times a day for the best effect.

#3. Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds is one more popular eco-friendly deodorizer. Don’t get rid of coffee grounds after drinking a cup of fresh coffee as they will help you to dispose of many unpleasant odors including dead critter smell.

#4. Commercial deodorizer

You can get a fragrant commercial deodorizer to deal with the nasty smell in your attic. Since these substances are specifically designed for such cases, they will do their job efficiently.

This way of disposing of unwanted smells is quite costly and not so eco-friendly but is still efficient.

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How do you handle a dead squirrel?

By no means you can touch a dead squirrel with your bare hands! Since there are a lot of possible infections that squirrels can carry, there is a high risk that your found animal was killed by a disease.

Three main tips can help you to handle a dead squirrel securely:

Use protective gear
Take a shovel with a long handle
Seal the carcass in a secure plastic bag

What do you do when an animal dies in your yard?

The dead animal should be immediately removed from your backyard. In case of finding a small animal, you can bury it by yourself following the tips above. However, if there is a bigger animal, or you are not sure about your safety, it is always better to call professional wildlife removal services.

What would eat a dead squirrel in my yard?

Dead squirrel bodies can attract scavenger animals into your yard. Among these, you can see quite a wide range of sudden visitors:
Turkey vultures

What is more, small dead animals can attract some backyard pests such as rats.

To avoid predators and pests invading your backyard, it is crucial to locate the dead animal and properly dispose of its carcass.

What do squirrels do with dead squirrels?

Despite their burying habits related to their food sources, squirrels don’t bury the bodies of their fellow dead.

However, squirrels are known for an interesting death ritual. While some squirrels prefer to move the dead squirrel’s body, others prefer to stay with their fellow dead squirrel. You can see them sit upright in distress, and performing the same grooming movements repeatedly.

Final thoughts

As you can see, dealing with such a small dead critter as squirrel is not a science. The key point is to follow all the safety tips and act immediately after finding it in your backyard.