How to Get Rid of Dead Rodent Smells and Odors
When an animal like a rat, squirrel, opossum or raccoon dies in an inaccessible area of your home, the smell can be overwhelming. The primary problem with dead animals, of course, is the odor. When an animal dies in the home, it will naturally start to decay. As it does, it gives off organic compound odorant molecules which we detect with our olfactory sense. The odor may be slight at first, but after about three days after the death of the animal, the odor can be quite strong. The strength of the odor depends on many factors:
Size of Animal: A larger animal means more decaying flesh, which means a stronger odor. A dead possum has a stronger odor than a dead mouse.
Animal Species: Different animals actually have different odors as they decay. Rats are particularly foul, per body weight.
Location of Carcass: If the animal dies in a centrally located wall in an area with poor ventilation, watch out.
State of Decomposition: At first the odor is weak, then it grows, then as maggots eat the carcass and the biomass decreases, the odor gradually lessens. The odor life cycle varies, depending on the size of the animal.
Temperature: The dead animal will decompose more quickly at higher temperatures. Furthermore, the dispersal of odor molecules is stronger at higher temperatures - hotter = smellier.
Humidity: Ability to perceive odors is typically heightened at a higher humidity.
Air Flow: It all depends on where the air is flowing. If the dead animal is in the attic, perhaps as the attic cools off at night, the odor molecules sink down to the house level, but as the attic heats up in the day, the stinky air rises up, and doesn't smell as strong in the house.
How to remove a rodent odor in the home:
1.) Find the source of the odor and remove the carcass.
- Inspect areas where you know rodents or other creatures may be living (attic, basement).
- The scent is usually strongest where the smell is coming from.
- If the scent leads to an inaccessible area, such as a crawl space, attic or wall you may want to contact a professional to access the area.
2.) Obtain a product to assist in odor elimination.
- If you are unable to remove the animal carcass use an odor eliminating product to break down the offending odor carrying molecules.
- Another solution would be to drill a tiny hole in the area where the smell is coming from and inject a disinfectant, odor neutralizer or masking solution. Plug the injected hole afterwards.
Unfortunately, dead animals will smell until they are completely decomposed or until they are dried out. After the smell has dissipated it is important to learn why there was a dead animal or rodent in your structure.