What to Do If You Suspect a Dead Rat Is in Your Home or Business

One of the more challenging – and sometimes frustrating and even dangerous – situations that can occur in a home or business is a rat that dies somewhere in the residence. There are a number of points to bear in mind when you suspect a rat has died in your home or business. These include how you should go about safely removing rat remains and what happens if you are unable to access a dead rat’s body in your home or business. 

Removal of Rat Remains

If you are able to access the remains of a dead rat, there are some important factors that you need to bear in mind when it comes to removing it from your home or business. First and foremost, you must be certain to exercise appropriate safety protocols before you begin the process of removing a dead rat from your home or business.

As has been discussed, rats – dead or alive – can carry dangerous pathogens, bacteria or viruses that have the capability of causing serious illness in humans. Consequently, in advance of attempting to remove a dead rat from your home, you need to make certain that you obtain and use personal protective equipment that is designed for situations involving contact with a biohazard. This equipment needs to include:

  • Gloves
  • Smock, uniform, or other clothing covering
  • Protective eyewear
  • Mask or respirator

If you elect to go the mask route, as opposed to using a respirator, you need to make sure that you use an N95 mask that is properly fitted. N95 masks are designed to guard against airborne bacteria and viruses as well as allergens of different types. While a respirator can provide a higher level of protection, an N95 mask typically is suitable for a situation involving the cleanup of a dead rat. On the other hand, a standard mask is not sufficient to protect against the types of pathogens that can be found in a situation involving a dead rat or rat droppings.

Disposal of Dead Rat

Technically speaking, a dead rat is a biohazard. This means that it is something of a biological nature that has the potential for carrying and then spreading the disease to human beings. We’ve already discussed the safety protocols you need to utilize when removing a dead rat.

When disposing of a dead rat, you need to confirm that you are permitted to place it in the “normal” garbage that is collected from your residence or business. Some communities permit this type of disposal of a solitary rat. Others do not.

If you can dispose of a solitary dead rat through your standard garbage pickup, at a minimum, you need to double-bag the body in a sturdy, puncture-resistant plastic bags. You need to take reasonable steps to ensure that anybody that might come in contact with the rat remains is not exposed to any of the harmful pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) that might be found in or on the body.

If your community doesn’t permit this type of disposal, or if you’re dealing with more than one rat body, you likely will need to have the remains disposed of through an approved biohazard disposal company. In the alternative, you can engage the services of a pest control company to deal with rat remains.

In addition, where there are rats, there are also potentially harmful droppings. Rat droppings can carry a number of different types of harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. Indeed, there are rat-borne pathogens that are capable of causing very serious and even fatal illnesses.

Because of the hazards presented by rat droppings, including in the cleanup process, the presence of feces and the need to safely eliminate them additionally underscores the need to consider seriously retaining the services of a professional biohazard cleaning or remediation service.

Unreachable Rat Remains

Unfortunately, you may find yourself in a situation in which you are all but certain that a rat has died inside your home, but the body is in a location that is unreachable absent breaking through a wall or something similar to that. There can even be situations in which a professional cannot physically remove a rat’s body due to its location in a home or business.

If that proves to be the situation, you are stuck with trying to abate the smell associated with the body for a period of time. The stench associated with a dead rat takes time to dissipate, typically a matter of at least a few weeks. The odor begins to lessen as the decomposition process itself draws to an end.

A biohazard cleaning specialist or an odor remediator may have some strategies that can be employed as a means of lessening the stench associated with an unreachable (and, hence, unremovable) dead rat’s body.