Life rats are a huge nuisance that can cause problems ranging from property damage to life-threatening diseases. That’s why pest exterminators have a saying that “The only good rat is the dead rat.” Have you ever considered that dead rats can be an issue as well, however? Here are a few of the many problems a rat corpse can cause:
- Dead rats can still cause a lot of health problems to you and your family. Just because the rat is dead doesn’t mean that direct contact with it or even just the areal exposure to its rotting corpse can’t be a health concern.
- Rat corpses can attract other pests such as flies. Several rat corpses situated in an impossible to reach place can easily result in the creating of fly colonies of thousands of insects. Needless to say, this isn’t something we’d wish to anyone.
- Pets, innocent and non-pest wildlife, and even kids can come into direct contact the rats’ corpses and either be affected with a disease or be poisoned by the rat poison that has killed the rat itself.
- The dead rat removal can be much more of a challenge then you think. As most rat poisons act slowly, this gives the rodents enough time to hide in impossible to reach locations and die there. In these cases, even an exterminator is often incapable of finding or extracting the corpse, which means that you’ll just have to wait for it to decompose and mummify completely on its own. In other words, having a dead rat in wall or ceiling hollow points can be a nightmare.
Obviously, it should be added that aside from these possible problems, it’s simply very unpleasant to smell a rat corpse decomposing in your home. If you are wondering what does a dead rat smell like, the answer is – like a rotting corpse and propane gas.
A dead rat smell can be sensed by an average human for a radius of up to 300 feet (depending on the weather conditions) which is a twofold problem. Firstly a single dead rat can stink up an entire house, and, secondly, this makes the corpse even harder to find because it will smell everywhere.
As for how long does it take for a rat to decompose, this is also relative. Keep in mind that rats can range between 2 – 3 inches and 10 inches in size, so the bigger they are, the slower they’ll decompose. The weather is also a factor, as cold weather will keep their corpses preserved and they will need more time to decompose. Hot weather, on the other hand, will help the corpse decompose faster, but it will also make the smell much more horrific.
On average, a typical rat corpse will take about 3 weeks to fully decompose, but it can take up to 2 extra weeks for the smell to fully dissipate.
What are some good dead rat odor eliminator products?
We’ll refrain from mentioning specific commercial products in this article, but let’s go over the general types of products you can use to get rid of dead rat smell. To make matters simpler, let’s assume the annoying scenario where you haven’t managed to get rid of the rat corpse as it’s hidden inside of a wall, a hollow ceiling, and you can’t reach it (but you know where it is and where the smell is coming from).
There are 3 general types of tools you might want to use when trying to get rid of a dead rat smell – absorbents, professional disinfectants, and odor eliminators.
Absorbents can come in a lot of different ways. Even something as simple as ground coffee beans is an excellent odor absorbent, as long as you can place them in the right spots and block the path of the smell. Commercial odor removing bags can also be a great way to deal with unpleasant odor – they don’t need to be placed over the corpse itself, but just need to be placed in such a way that they block the path of the smell.
Charcoal is another good absorbent as it can similarly be used to block off the pathways of the dead rat smell and absorb it.
Professional disinfectants such as Chlorine, Formalin, Acetic Acid, and others can also help you battle the horrific dead rat smell. These disinfectants can be found in a lot of commercial products as they are excellent at getting rid of putrid smells. On the other hand, however, such professional disinfectants are very hazardous to use in residential areas due to their high toxicity and high risk of burning. A homemade alternative we can suggest is a 30% vinegar concentrate as it is much safer to use and it will have a similar, albeit weaker overall effect.
Biological odor eliminators are another good way of dealing with unpleasant odors. For reference, these are typically the products designed to help with the smell of cat or dog urine. These products typically come in spray form, they are safe to use around kids and pets, and they are fairly effective. They need to be applied either directly or as closely to directly as possible, however, which can sometimes be impossible with stranded rat corpses.
Dead rats are almost as much of a problem as live ones. Enough dead rats can make a house impossible to live in for more than a month and they can bring in a lot of additional pests and problems with them. The best solution to this problem is to find the corpse and get rid of it as soon as possible instead of waiting for it to decompose. If the former is impossible, however, make sure to minimize the odor as best you can, as well as to maintain stellar cleanliness in the meantime as dead rat smell can even attract more rats.
Finally, catching a rat without killing it and releasing it far away from your home is also not a bad idea.