How to Find and Remove a Dead Skunk
Unless skunks are alarmed, they don’t usually spray. So a skunk can
be around for an extended period of time without its human neighbors
being aware of its proximity. However, being bad climbers, skunks
can easily get trapped within walls, attics, crawl spaces, window
wells and the like, and when they can’t escape, they may well
perish. That’s when their odor become especially apparent, for like
other creatures, their rotting carcasses quickly begin to decay.
Often skunks die in out of the way places, like window wells, under
sheds and decks and in spaces under porches. The animals often don’t
expire in the most obvious places, so most often you have to follow
your nose, especially if the location is inside the house. One way
to isolate the spot where the carcass rests is to sniff towards the
odor and when close, to move side-to-side, up-and-down, until you
can identify the spot where it is strongest. Then it’s a matter of
extracting the carcass, which often entails breaking through a wall
or ceiling to extract the already decomposing animal.
There are three stages to the decay of a dead animal. Initially, it
gives off a slight odor; next, gases begin to form in the carcass,
which begins to bloat. Finally, the body bursts from the guilt-up
gases, and that is when the odor becomes powerful and begins
attracting flies. It’s a mess.
Dead animals often have expired because of disease and for reasons
of the animal’s condition as well as basic sanitation, it is
imperative to wear gloves when removing and otherwise handling the
remains. Double bag it the carcass and remove it from the premises
Then it’s time to return to the problem site for cleanup and repair,
since stench will likely remain. If there is a disease component, it
must be dealt with. If the dead animal has been found outside,
remove some of the dirt and debris that has surrounded the body, and
bag it along with the remains.
If it has been recovered from an indoor location, you will likely
need to deodorize the area, for example using a 10 percent bleach,
90 percent water solution. Importantly, bleach will kill the rabies
virus as well as other dangerous organisms, while it will also take
care of some of the odors. If the odor still does not dissipate
satisfactorily, explore the various commercial products available,
including foggers and deodorizers.
Skunks present an especially complex dead animal problem, so as
always, it may be best to consult a wildlife removal specialist that
has the right experience and equipment for the job.
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