Dead Squirrels in the Attic?

Let’s say you’ve been hearing the pitter-patter of tiny feet in your attic, and then one day, it stops. Silence may be golden, but it could also signal a problem: a squirrel has died in your attic. But what happens now? How do you deal with the situation? In this article, we’ll explore the dangers of a dead squirrel in your attic, how to identify its presence, what steps to take when you find one, and preventive measures to keep squirrels away.

The Dangers of a Dead Squirrel in Your Attic

Having a dead squirrel in your attic can lead to several issues, including health risks, odors and pests, and even structural damage.

Health Risks

A decomposing squirrel carcass can pose a serious health risk to your family. As the body decays, it releases harmful bacteria and pathogens that can cause illness. Moreover, the carcass can attract insects and other pests that can spread diseases.

Odors and Pests

A dead squirrel will emit a strong, unpleasant odor that can permeate your home. This smell can attract flies, maggots, and other pests, which can create an infestation problem.

Structural Damage

Squirrels can cause significant damage to your home, even after they’ve died. Their carcasses can stain and damage insulation, drywall, and other building materials, leading to costly repairs.

How to Identify the Presence of a Dead Squirrel

To determine if a squirrel has died in your attic, watch out for these signs:

Unpleasant Smells

The most obvious sign of a dead squirrel is the foul odor it emits. If you notice a strong, persistent smell in your home, especially near the attic, it may indicate a dead animal.

Flies and Maggots

A dead squirrel will attract flies, which lay eggs on the carcass. These eggs hatch into maggots that feed on the decaying body. If you see an increase in flies or maggots around your home, it could be due to a dead squirrel in your attic.


Listen for any unusual sounds coming from your attic, such as scratching or squeaking. These noises may indicate that other animals are attempting to access the carcass.

Steps to Take When a Squirrel Dies in Your Attic

If you suspect a dead squirrel in your attic, follow these steps:

Locate the Dead Squirrel

First, you need to find the carcass. Look for any signs of disturbance, such as damaged insulation, and follow the smell to locate the dead squirrel.

Remove the Carcass

Once you’ve found the carcass, carefully remove it using gloves and a plastic bag. It’s essential to dispose of the carcass properly to avoid further contamination or attracting more pests. Check your local regulations on proper disposal methods.

Clean and Disinfect

After removing the carcass, it’s crucial to clean and disinfect the area thoroughly. Use a combination of water, detergent, and disinfectant to clean up any remaining debris or stains. You may also want to consider replacing any damaged insulation or other materials.

Seal Entry Points

Finally, ensure that all entry points used by squirrels to access your attic are sealed. This will help prevent future infestations and protect your home from other pests and wildlife.

Preventive Measures to Keep Squirrels Away

To minimize the chances of squirrels entering your attic again, take these preventive measures:

Trim Tree Branches

Squirrels are excellent climbers and can use tree branches to access your roof and attic. Trim any branches that are close to your home to deter squirrels from reaching your roof.

Install Squirrel Guards

Consider installing squirrel guards on your roof or gutter to prevent squirrels from climbing onto your home. These devices make it difficult for squirrels to gain a foothold and access your attic.

Use Squirrel Repellents

There are several squirrel repellents on the market that can help keep squirrels at bay. These products emit smells or sounds that are unpleasant to squirrels, discouraging them from entering your property. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use.


A dead squirrel in your attic can pose health risks, create unpleasant odors, and even lead to structural damage. It’s essential to act quickly and take the necessary steps to locate and remove the carcass, clean and disinfect the area, and seal entry points to prevent future infestations. By following these steps and implementing preventive measures, you can minimize the risks associated with a dead squirrel in your attic.


How long does it take for a dead squirrel to decompose in an attic?

The decomposition process depends on various factors, including temperature and humidity. In general, a dead squirrel may take several weeks to a few months to decompose fully.

Can I use mothballs to deter squirrels from entering my attic?

Mothballs contain chemicals that are toxic to squirrels, but their effectiveness as a squirrel repellent is debatable. Moreover, mothballs can pose risks to humans and pets, so it’s best to explore alternative repellents.

Are squirrels more active during specific times of the year?

Squirrels are most active during the spring and fall when they are busy foraging for food and preparing for the winter months.

How do I know if I have a squirrel infestation in my attic?

Signs of a squirrel infestation include noises in your attic, such as scratching or scampering, chewed wires or insulation, and droppings.

Is it legal to trap squirrels and remove them from my property?

The legality of trapping squirrels varies depending on your location. Be sure to check local regulations and consider hiring a professional wildlife removal service if necessary.