Wildlife Education - Information, Advice About Why do squirrels die inside houses or attics?

Why do squirrels die inside houses or attics?

If you have placed poison down for rats, mice, or even squirrel (bad move), you can cause a squirrel to die inside your home. The same can be said if your neighbors are putting poison down also. Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking rat poison, and copious amounts of it, will kill the average squirrel off pretty quickly, but this is sadly often not the case. There isn't a registered poison for squirrels, and there are no registered amounts of other poisons you can use either. It’s simply an ineffective and inhumane way of dealing with the problem. When the squirrel eats the poison, which it often won’t, by the way, it causes a chain reaction that essentially results in a long and very painful death.

The squirrel will go back to its home - your attic, for example - and it will curl up and die. It won’t be for many weeks when the animal has started to decompose that you realize you have a dead wild animal problem on your hands, and by that point, it’s a little too late. The smell is one you won't forget, and will find impossible to get rid of, and you’ll also need to find that pesky squirrel now too. It could be anywhere in your home, even in your wall cavities, and can mean weeks of a bad smell for you.



An excepted part of life is death, and all creatures great and small will succumb to it sooner or later. Often when you have unwanted critters like squirrels in your house, they will meet with an untimely end inside your home. Sometimes you might be a direct part of their demise when you try to DIY methods of eradication by setting out traps, or laying out poison. It also happens if you (even unknowingly) block a squirrel's entryway in and out of your home and it (they) cannot find a way to get out. If there are squirrels trapped inside (especially babies) your home or attic, they will most likely die of dehydration/starvation. If it is winter and your attic is not heated in any way, or it is a blisteringly hot summer, and there is no ventilation, it is possible that the squirrels might die from exposure to the weather conditions as well.

Other times it could be indirectly the fault of the squirrel because it chewed through an electrical line that zapped him or it ate something that turned out to be poisonous. Other times the animal's death could just be attributed to fate. Such is the case of Juvenile squirrels which tend to have a high mortality rate due to their naturally inquisitive nature, and lack of self control. They tend to find themselves in places they cannot climb out of, or become trapped by a predator. This can also happen to young squirrels living in your house. Although squirrels are a “prey” animal ( one that other creatures feed on) the rarely live to be a ripe old age, but Some Squirrels can die of old age, or perhaps an injury sustained while they were out of the attic.

There are diseases that can cause death in squirrels like squirrel pox, the plague, leptospirosis, and several different strains of viral infections. Many of these diseases can be spread to humans, so take care when removing it if you think the dead squirrel in your attic was sick. No matter what you believe to be the cause of the squirrel's demise, always use the utmost caution when clearing out the bodies and cleaning up the mess. As soon as you determine that you have dead animals in your home get them out as soon as possible. You will need to have gloves, a mask, paper towels and rags, trash bags, a good disinfectant like chlorine bleach, an all purpose bug spray, and a deodorizer. While wearing all your protective gear, remove the squirrel and place it securely in the plastic bag for disposal. Spray the area for bugs if necessary (if the animal has been there a while, there could be flies, maggots or other carrion feeders there).

Remove and bag for discarding any soft items like insulation or cloth that cannot be cleaned. Clean all hard surfaces with bleach and then spray with deodorizer. After you have finished, discard your gloves and mask, remove your soiled clothes, and wash up thoroughly. Deposit the bags of refuse (including carcasses) in an outside trash with a good lid. After you are sure that there are no more animals, alive or dead, on the premises take preventative measures to keep this from happening again. Call a local animal removal service for tips on keeping your home critter free.

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Please be kind to squirrels! They are intelligent animals, and believe it or not, they definitely have emotions!
If you have any questions about squirrels in attics, just email me at david@squirrel-attic.com