Home » What To Do With A Dead Rat [Safe Disposal Methods]
proper way to dispose of a dead rat

What To Do With A Dead Rat [Safe Disposal Methods]

(Last Updated On: June 4, 2022)

Dead rats can pose a serious health risk, as they carry various diseases and parasites. Also, you’ll have to deal with a foul smell from the carcass. So, the safe disposal of the dead rat is important.

If you find a dead rat, never handle it with your bare hands. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new carcass or a rotting skeleton. Put on protective gear (disposable rubber gloves, safety glasses, and a dust filter mask).

Lift the dead rat, put it in a sealable plastic bag, and dispose of it in a trash can.

Other ways to dispose of a dead rat include burial, cremation, and composting. Your local by-laws may not allow certain methods, so always check with them first.

Never flush a dead rat down the toilet. Also, don’t leave a dead rat to decay inside your walls if it dies there as it’ll start to smell, especially during the warmer summer months.

How To Pick Up A Dead Rat

Picking up a dead rat may seem like a straightforward task, but the risks should make you think twice. Dead rats pose some serious health concerns.

So, learning how to pick up and dispose of a dead rat is important for the safety of everyone.

Here’s how to pick up a dead rat:

  1. Put on a long-sleeved shirt or blouse and long pants.
  2. Wear rubber or latex gloves, protective glasses, and a dust filter mask.
  3. Scoop the dead rat with a shovel or pick it up with the tips of your (covered) fingers.
  4. Place the carcass in a sealable, airtight plastic bag.
  5. Put any nesting materials and droppings inside the plastic bag.
  6. Seal the plastic bag tightly. Don’t squeeze the air out of the bag since inhaling the contaminated air could be very harmful to your health.
  7. Place the sealed bag in another plastic bag.
  8. Tie it tightly to remove any chance of contaminated air from escaping.
  9. If your city by-laws allow, dispose of the bag in an outdoor trash can.
  10. Cover it tightly to prevent pets and other animals from scavenging the area.
  11. Wash your hands thoroughly with antimicrobial soap and warm water.
how to pick up a dead rat

Can Dead Rats Make You Sick?

Touching a dead rat or breathing in the air surrounding it can make you sick. This is especially true if you touch the dead rat without protection or interact with the surrounding nest or feces.

Rats harbor various diseases and parasites, even when they’re dead. In fact, the risks are heightened as decomposing bacteria gather to rot the carcass.

According to Cambridge University, microbial pathogens like salmonella exist in dead rats. Contact with a dead rat or inhaling the contaminated air of a decomposing carcass can expose you to severe illness.

The diseases carried by rats are as follows:

  • Salmonellosis
  • Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome
  • Leptospirosis
  • Tularemia
  • Typhus
  • Black death
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus

How To Properly Dispose Of A Dead Rat

Learning how to get rid of a dead rat will safeguard your entire household. The disposal process doesn’t have to be hard, as long as you take preventive measures. These include wearing:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Dust filter mask
  • Protective clothing

Once you’re wearing the protective gear and have picked up the rat, you need to decide how to get rid of it. Depending on whether you live in the city or country, the disposal method will vary.

Can I Put A Dead Rat In The Bin?

You can put a dead rat in the trash bin. However, you must first place the dead rat in an airtight plastic bag. Seal the bag and place it in another bag before disposing of it in a covered trash bin.

This will prevent the smell of the dead rat from attracting other pests.

Since dead rats carry disease, wear rubber or latex gloves and other protective clothing before handling the carcass. Then, wash your hands with antimicrobial soap and water.

Can I Put A Dead Rat In The Compost?

Putting a dead rat in the compost is a popular way of disposing of the carcass. Agriculturalists have been composting dead animals for years. You can use the composted material as rich fertilizer for your garden.

However, you still need to take protective measures. Dead rats attract other pests to the compost and harbor disease-causing pathogens like salmonella and E. Coli bacteria.

Pest-proof the compost bin by covering all sides with water-resistant material, like metal sheets. This will keep pests away and contain unpleasant smells from the compost bin.

How Long Does A Dead Rat Take To Decompose?

A dead rat may take 3-4 months to completely decay. However, several factors determine the duration of the decomposition cycle, including the following:

  • Size of the rat
  • Temperatures
  • Humidity
  • Decomposing agents

Bigger rats take more time to decompose since they have more body tissue to break down. Rats decomposing in humid climates and hot temperatures will decay more rapidly.

Is It Safe To Bury A Dead Rat?

Burying a dead rat is a safe way of removing the carcass.

However, burial isn’t ideal if you have pets like dogs and cats. They’re curious animals, and they have strong olfactory systems. So, they may smell the buried rat and dig it up.

If you want to bury a dead rat, dig a deep 3-foot grave. In addition, wrap the dead rat in several layers of paper and put it in a biodegradable sack. Ensure that it’s tightly sealed before burying it.

Put rocks on top of the bag and cover the hole with thick sand to prevent dogs from digging it up.

how to get rid of a dead rat

Can You Burn A Dead Rat?

When done properly, burning dead rats is a safe way of getting rid of the carcass.

After all, incineration is a prime method of destroying infectious agents. It turns the dead rat to ashes, decimates parasites harbored by the carcass, and prevents the spread of disease.

Some cities have strict rules regarding the incineration of animal carcasses. So, check with your local authorities about incineration regulations before burning dead rats.

Can You Flush A Dead Rat Down The Toilet?

Never flush a dead rat down the toilet. Many people ignore this advice, but flushing anything other than toilet paper and waste down the toilet is contrary to city by-laws.

Moreover, dead rats can clog the pipes. They’ll cause damage to a septic tank or sewerage system. The backup flow from the toilet and sewer creates a place for diseases to grow and multiply.

Can You Leave A Dead Rat In The Wall?

Rats often die in hard-to-reach places, including ductwork, air vents, walls, and attic spaces. A dead, decomposing rat in the wall will release unpleasant odors as it decomposes.

You can technically leave the dead rat in the wall if you can withstand the stench. Removing it can be tedious, damage the walls, require special tools, and be time-consuming. Moreover, knowing the exact location of the dead rat is a challenge.

Most people can’t withstand the smell of a dead rat in their living space. Also, the foul stench can attract flies, maggots, insects, and other pests to your home.