How to Handle a Dead Squirrel: A Safe Disposal Guide

How to dispose of a dead squirrel?

Disposing of a dead squirrel isn’t a pleasant task, yet it’s a necessary one to maintain a healthy and safe environment. Whether found in your backyard or a public area, understanding the correct disposal methods is essential.

Besides being a respectful way to handle deceased animals, proper disposal prevents the spread of diseases and adheres to local laws and regulations. This guide aims to provide a detailed walkthrough on safely disposing of a dead squirrel while ensuring health and environmental safety.

Why Are Dead Squirrels Dangerous?

Coming across a deceased squirrel in your yard isn’t just an unpleasant sight; it poses several health and safety risks that necessitate prompt and proper disposal. 

Here are some of the dangers associated with dead squirrels:

Disease Transmission:

Rabies and Other Pathogens: Although rare, squirrels can be carriers of rabies and other harmful pathogens. When a squirrel dies, these pathogens can continue to live on for some time, posing a risk to other animals and humans who come into contact with the body.

Parasitic Infestations:

Ticks and Fleas: Squirrels often harbor parasites like ticks and fleas, which can transfer to pets and even humans, leading to potential infestations and the spread of diseases like Lyme disease.

Odor and Decomposition:

Unpleasant Smell: As the body decomposes, it emits a foul odor, which can be quite disturbing.

Secondary Infestations: The smell of a decaying body can attract other pests and scavengers to your yard, leading to secondary infestations.

Environmental Contamination:

Decomposition Runoff: The fluids from a decomposing squirrel can seep into the soil, potentially contaminating groundwater or nearby water sources, especially if the squirrel died due to poisoning or disease.

Psychological Distress:

Unsettling Sight: The sight of a dead animal can be unsettling, especially for children or sensitive individuals, and can create an unpleasant atmosphere in your surroundings.

Understanding the risks associated with dead squirrels emphasizes the importance of handling such situations with caution and responsibility. It’s not just about maintaining a clean and pleasant environment but also about safeguarding the health and well-being of your family, pets, and community.

Understanding the Importance of Proper Disposal:

Here we discuss the importance of proper disposal :

Health Risks:

Improper disposal of dead animals can pose serious health risks. Dead squirrels can be carriers of diseases such as rabies or ticks carrying Lyme disease. Contact with the deceased animal or parasites residing on them can transmit these diseases to humans and other animals.

Environmental Impact:

Decomposing animals release harmful gasses like methane and contaminate the soil and water, which can have a lasting adverse effect on the environment. 

Moreover, improper disposal, like leaving the carcass out in the open, can attract other wildlife, creating a cycle of potential dangers and nuisances.

By understanding the significance of proper disposal, not only do we uphold a respectful approach towards wildlife, but we also contribute to a healthier and safer community.

Preparing for Safe Disposal:

I remember the first time I had to dispose of a dead squirrel in my backyard. The unease was palpable, but I knew it had to be done for the safety of my family and to maintain a clean environment. Before diving into the task, I made sure to equip myself with the necessary safety gear. 

I pulled out a pair of thick gloves from the garage, grabbed a few plastic bags from the kitchen, and found an old yet sturdy shovel in the backyard shed. Though it wasn’t mandatory, I decided to wear a face mask as an extra precaution.

It would be wise to understand the local regulations regarding wildlife disposal. A quick call to the local animal control office provided me with the necessary information.

They informed me of the options available – I could either bury the squirrel following specific guidelines, or they could come and take care of it. I opted to handle it myself, abiding by the guidelines provided.

The preparation made the process smoother and less daunting. Having the right safety equipment and understanding the local regulations not only provided a sense of security but also ensured I was adhering to the community standards, making the neighborhood a safer place for everyone.

Step-by-Step Disposal Guide:

Here is a step by step guideline:

Step 1: Ensure Safety

Ensure the area is safe, and try to keep other people and pets away from the area until the disposal is complete.

Step 2: Prepare the Dead Squirrel

Gently shovel the dead squirrel into a thick plastic bag, avoiding any direct contact. It’s advisable to double bags for extra safety.

Step 3: Choose the Disposal Method

Depending on local regulations, you may have several disposal options:

Burial: If permitted, find a suitable spot away from water sources and dig a hole at least 3 feet deep to prevent other animals from unearthing it.

Trash Disposal: Some localities allow the disposal of small animals in the trash. Ensure it’s sealed in a plastic bag.

Animal Control: Contact your local animal control office for pickup or disposal instructions.

Step 4: Disinfect the Area

After disposal, disinfect the area with a suitable disinfectant to eliminate any remaining germs or parasites.

Step 5: Dispose of Safety Gear

Dispose of your gloves and any other disposable safety gear used during the process, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Special Circumstances:

Here we explore a variety of scenarios and considerations surrounding the disposal of a dead squirrel.

Multiple Dead Squirrels:

If you encounter multiple dead squirrels, follow the same procedure but contact local authorities, as it may indicate a larger problem like a disease outbreak.

Dead Mother Squirrel with Babies:

In the unfortunate scenario of finding a dead mother squirrel with babies, contact wildlife rehabilitation centers for guidance on how to help the orphaned babies.

It’s not advisable to attempt raising baby squirrels unless you have the necessary training and permits. Wildlife rehabilitation centers are equipped to provide the care and expertise needed for the survival and eventual release of baby squirrels.

Dead Squirrel on Public Property or Roadways:

If the dead squirrel is found on public property or roadways, it’s usually best to contact local animal control or the relevant municipal department for removal.

Post-Disposal Safety Measures:

Here we discuss Post-Disposal Safety Measures:

Sanitizing the Area:

Disinfectant Spray: Use a strong disinfectant spray to sanitize the area where the dead squirrel was found.

Washing: If any reusable tools are used, such as a shovel, ensure they are thoroughly washed and disinfected.

Disposing of Used Safety Equipment:

Sealable Plastic Bag: Place used gloves, masks, and any other disposable safety gear in a sealable plastic bag before disposing of them in the trash.

Handwashing: Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, even if gloves were worn during the disposal process.

Final Thoughts:

Properly disposing of a dead squirrel is a responsible action that contributes to a safer and healthier environment for both humans and other wildlife. By adhering to local regulations and employing safe disposal practices, we can mitigate risks and show respect to wildlife, even in death.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it legal to bury a dead squirrel in my backyard?

The legality of burying a dead squirrel in your backyard may vary by location due to different local regulations. It’s advisable to contact local authorities for guidance.

Can I get diseases from dead squirrels?

Yes, dead squirrels can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans and other animals. It’s crucial to follow safety measures while handling dead wildlife.

Who do I call to remove a dead squirrel?

Local animal control, wildlife removal services, or your local sanitation department are the right contacts for removing a dead squirrel.

How do I disinfect the area where a dead squirrel was found?

Use a strong disinfectant spray and follow the instructions on the product for effective sanitation.

About The Author
Hi 👋, I’m Billy Thomas, a passionate wildlife biologist with over 10 years of experience. With my expertise in wildlife biology and as a proud owner of over 20 squirrels as pets, I aim to provide reliable information, fun facts, and insights into the world of squirrels.

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