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Squirrel Poop vs Rat Poop – Identifying Rodent Droppings

Something is nesting in your house and you need to find out what, exactly, you are up against. The animal sounds smaller than something truly horrifying, like a possum, but it is also bigger than a mouse based on the noises it makes and the damage it has done. There is likely more than one of whatever it is. So like any good do-it-yourself pest fighter would do, you investigate the situation. You go into the crawlspace, attic, basement, or garage where the trouble in going down and come up with some vital evidence: a pile of poop.

The only problem is, you don’t know what kind of droppings you are looking at. You immediately thought it belonged to a rat, but after safely removing some of the feces and looking at it by the light of day you realize it could just as easily belong to a similarly sized animal, like a squirrel. Based on all the information you have gathered on the infestation, it really could be either rats or squirrels. Figuring out what you are dealing with is extremely important since rats and squirrels are expelled from a house through very different processes.

Squirrel and Rat Poop Identification

The first thing you need to do when sorting out squirrel poop vs. rat poop is pull up a droppings identification guide on the internet. The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management features a very thorough guide on pest droppings. They recommend taking a close, almost scientific look at the droppings you discover. Consider the shape, length, color, and distribution of the droppings and then see if you can answer these questions:

  1. Is it more pointed or rounded at the ends? Rat droppings are pointier, squirrel droppings rounder.
  2. What is the overall shape of the pellets? If you are dealing with a squirrel it will be shaped more like a barrel whereas what a rat leaves behind tend to be thinner and longer.
  3. What color is it? Rat poop tends to be blacker and darker than squirrel poop, which can be tan or red in color.
  4. What pattern did you find the droppings in? Rats tend to defecate everywhere they run, like a mouse does; squirrels tend to leave their feces in clusters or piles.

Another key to distinguishing the two kinds of droppings is squirrel poop tends to lighten in color with time, whereas a rat’s poop will stay dark in color. If you find older fecal matter and it is noticeably paler than what you find fresh, chances are you are dealing with a colony of squirrels.

Of course, this comes with a warning about the hazards of handling animal poop; you should always use gloves and thoroughly clean or dispose of anything that comes into contact with the feces. Both squirrel and rat droppings carry diseases. In fact, you should address any droppings in your house while figuring out how to get rid of the pests so that a bacteria like salmonella doesn’t spread through your house. Also use caution when exploring areas of your house where an animal is living– you don’t want to be bitten. When in doubt you can handle the situation safely, call a local pest control company.

Putting the Pieces Together

It is unlikely you will be able to settle the squirrel poop vs. rat poop debate without knowing more about what is living in your house. You can learn a lot from a general pest identification guide– you have to consider what you are looking at belongs to neither a squirrel nor a rat, and a guide like this will help you determine what you should be hunting for and eventually expelling from your house. Figuring out as much as you can about the poop you discovered is important, however, because it may be the clue that pulls together all the other information you’ve gathered on your pest.


Pond and lake beaver removal is difficult. You can see a beaver here taking shelter in the water.

How to Get Rid of Beavers : Creek, Pond, Lake & Yard Beaver Removal

Beavers are classified as a pest species and the biggest problem people run into with them is their ability to flood areas with the building of their dams. They also destroy trees and creeks with their home building skills. Many people try to trap beavers with either a live trap or by using beaver traps that are lethal.

How you get rid of beavers in a river, lake or pond?

Removing beavers from your area can be quite challenging. They often choose to build their homes in areas tough to reach by humans. They are very comfortable in the water and yet move through debris quite easily. They often cause a lot of destruction when they decide to make their home in your pond, river or lake.

The beaver dam will stop the natural flow of water and cause extensive flooding in ponds and rivers. The change in water will kill vegetation and they destroy trees by taking them down to create their dams. Repellents don’t work well with the beaver since they are mostly in the water, trapping them and moving them to a more suitable area is the best method.

Complete Tutorial to Trapping Beavers

How to get a beaver out of its dam

The beaver uses its dam as both a place to hunt and as its home. These are what prevent water from flowing naturally and cause the area to flood. There dams are so large and full of so much debris that it is capable of plugging natural waterways. The debris they use to create the dam will also make it quite difficult for you to get onto it. The best method for you would be to place several traps somewhere in the general area close to the dam. If you are interested in purchasing some beaver traps try looking here. Fresh fruit, peanut butter, and jelly are good incentives for the beaver to come looking for your traps or you can also try this pre-made beaver bait which works pretty good!

The beaver is a fairly intelligent animal, so when setting a trap for one you need to camouflage it. Use vegetation to cover up the trap so the beaver does not see it. If a beaver senses a trap in the area and especially if they see or hear one go off, they will stay away from that area entirely. You should use more than one trap and place them in different areas around the water; chances are pretty good that if you have one beaver there are more you haven’t seen yet. They also reproduce quite quickly so you want to be sure and remove all of them. Traps can be found at most home and gardening stores and you will need to get one big enough to hold the size of the beaver.

First part of beaver removal is proper beaver Identification. This is the beavers most distinguishing feature, their flat tail.

Beavers are elusive mammals that are not easy to get rid of. However, if you learn their behavior, and identify what is attracting them to your property, you can find ways to remove them. – Photo by Dan / CC by

How to get the beaver out of your woods

Beavers are best known for making their dams in some form of water, but there have been cases where they will make one in the woods close to the water. Trapping will work better for you if you are able to locate the entrance and place a trap near it. Again, remember to camouflage the trap so they are not able to detect it. The only repellent that has been successful in the battle against beavers is to mix some latex paint with fine sand and place it around the base of trees. The beaver will not like this mixture and will be forced to find other trees for their dam building. If they are not able to find trees near where they want their dam, they will move on.

How to get the beaver out of your yard.

Pond and lake beaver removal is difficult. You can see a beaver here taking shelter in the water.

Beavers are not easy to remove from a pond or lake because they can utilize the water as shelter – Photo by Larry Smith / CC by

In general the beavers do not choose yards to set up home. They see humans as predators and try to stay away from them. If one should choose your yard you can apply the latex paint and sand around your trees; they will not stay where there are no trees for their home building. If you do not like how the paint looks, fencing will also keep the beaver away from your trees. Beavers are good diggers so it is suggested to use underground fence made of metal to prevent the beaver from digging through to the tree.

“Foolproof Way” of getting rid of beavers

Nuisance animal expert, Harold Bailey known for his practical ideas of eliminating pest animals says he has created the, “fool proof” method to get rid of your beaver troubles. Many of Bailey ideas appeared in past issues of FARM SHOW. Before his death, Harold Bailey would solve pest animal issues for people who lived within 100 miles of his home. To get rid of beavers he came up with an idea that is cheap, easy to do and will work every time.

Bailey’s idea:

  1. Take two 30 inch long pieces of 4 inch wide plastic pipe and join them together at a 90 degree elbow, forming an “L”.
  2. Drill a series of small holes down the length of both pipe pieces.
  3. Dig down into the beaver’s dam from the top; placing the “L” shape of connected pipes at the bottom of their dam.
  4. The straight section of the pipe should be up in the air.
  5. Block the open end of the lower section of the pipe with sticks and then cover it.
  6. Make sure the pipe is secure.
  7. Water will begin to leak out of the dam through the pipe and the beaver will not know how to stop it. This will cause the beaver to leave the dam and take up residence somewhere else.

Other pipe solutions for beaver control

  • The Clemson Beaver Pond Leveler was is setup to control flooding issues and to maintain the benefits of beavers in a community. This device was intended to get along with beavers and to get some benefits from them being in your area.

The Clemson Beaver Pond Leveler will minimize dam construction by the beaver. The beaver will detect the water loss, but will be unable to know what is causing it or stop it. The leveler is going to control flooding and pond levels, keep culverts from plugging and most of all confuse the beaver so it changes living area.

  • CulverClear is a flow device designed to prevent culvert damming. These flow devices have been tested in beaver problem areas and have a 98% success rate of this system effectively protecting culverts from getting blocked by beaver constructions.

At one point in history the beaver was almost extinct due to heavy trapping for their fur. Today the beaver has made a strong comeback and has an estimated population around 12 million. While their return does provide benefits to some environments, they are not welcome in all areas. If you have a problem with beavers we hope one of these methods helps you to remove them from your neighborhood.

How to Get Rid of Beaver Dams

Beaver dam removal can be executed either manually or with the aid of machinery or explosives.

Manual Beaver Dam Removal

One Man Versus a Huge Beaver Dam

Mechanical Beaver Dam Removal – Digging Out Beaver Dams with Tractors and Back Hoes


Remove Dead Animal in Wall & Odors From Decomposition

Sometimes you will find a dead animal along the roadside, sometimes in your yard or on your property. What happens if that dead animal is in your wall? All animals die and sometimes a wild animal may have found its way into your home before it died and it could end up in your attic, or worse than that- in your wall. There are signs you may have this problem:

  • You have unexplained swarms of flies.
  • There may be an unexplained stain that appears on your wall.
  • There is a terrible odor in your home.

One sure fact about these signs is that if it is a dead animal in your wall; you are facing serious health risks from it being there. According to Critter Control, humans who come in close contact with dead animals may contract diseases or parasites growing from the carcass. If left the carcass can also infect soil or water depending on where it died. A carcass left can also become a danger to pets as they can contract parasites or diseases. A carcass becomes a breeding ground for fly larvae that will hatch, as well as beetles and worms which can become quite a nuisance in your home.

You need to locate where the animal died

Once the animal dies, its body will start to decompose. This is when you will start noticing the odor. This odor comes from organisms breaking the tissue down. The smell is what will help you find this animal and remove it.

In an indoor setting you will notice a dead animal by the strength of the odor getting stronger and then fading a bit. Noticing when the smell is the strongest will help you determine where in the house to find it. For example, if you notice the odor more when it’s the hottest outside, it is most likely in your basement. Also knowing animal habits will help you locate where it died. A lot of animals seek water when they get sick, and some look for heat to resemble what they would have found in their nests. Think about where an animal would have access to locations like this and check them out for more signs. Dead mice and rats are going to be the hardest to find because of their size.

Finding dead rats and mice in your walls

The smell will again be your first sign that a mouse or rat has died in your walls. Most people will just think their whole house smells, but go to the room where you notice the odor is the strongest. Mice and rats prefer dark places so this can be your starting point. Look behind furniture, under it or in closets that are normally dark. If that doesn’t turn up a carcass, start locating where in the room the smell is strongest. It may have died in your wall. If this is the case, you may have no other choice than to cut a hole to allow access to that part of the wall cavity.

Rats will look for areas that are both warm and dark, so you should start by looking for areas in your home that are not used often. Check around the furnace or boiler or are there areas in your kitchen they could hide in? If you’re having trouble finding where it is, look for how it got into your home in the first place. Look for gnaw marks around the inside and outside of your home to see how it gained entry. You may then be actually able to follow a trail to find where it died.

Use proper hygiene precautions

When you have located the dead animal, make sure you use proper hygiene. Start by wearing gloves before handling it. Wear a facial mask if you are going to move it. Keep alcohol and some tissues on hand just in case any fluids or blood fall on your exposed skin, and wipe it away immediately. Most wild animals carry parasites and once their host is dead, they will begin looking for a new home and you don’t want that to be you. Shower immediately after you have finished the task of removing the carcass. Washing the clothes you’ve worn when you removed the carcass will also reduce the risk of the parasites spreading.

Dispose of Carcass properly

Depending on which animal died in your wall there may be state regulations on how you can dispose of the carcass. Check with the National Agricultural Library to see how you should deal with a dead animal carcass to make sure you, your family and your pets are not put at risk.

If you do not have any specific regulations to follow; you should double bag the carcass in a plastic bag and place in the garbage. If it is a larger animal you may have to bury it.

Some of the animals you could find dead in your home


These are very common for being pests in urban, suburbs and even cities. They can cause all kinds of mischief such as; living in your home or attic, climbing into your chimney, stealing your garbage and more. One of the biggest dangers of having them in your attic is if they die up there. The size of a raccoon can be quite large; therefore the smell is going to be quite strong. Burial of the dead raccoon may be the best solution for disposal of this animal.


There are a lot of squirrels in most neighborhoods and they can cause a homeowner a lot of problems; living in the house and attic, crawling down the chimney, chewing on woodwork and furniture, causing electrical damage and more. Look for signs of their entry and try to find where they died by following signs of their being in your home. Dispose of properly once you have located the carcass.


We all know the black and white critter that has quite an odor for its defense. This same little critter will leave an awful odor if it dies in or under your house. They like to live under decks and sheds and your home if they can find a way under it. Be sure to follow proper disposal methods once you have located the carcass.


Opossums like to scavenge in urban areas and often come into conflict with people when they try to move into homes. They have been found in homes and especially like attics. They also like to live under decks, sheds or your home if they can get under it.

There are other wild animals that could find their way into home, causing problems when they die in your attic, basement or in the walls. For a more complete list and other tips, check out the Wildlife Education and Directory.

Wild animals are beautiful and amazing to watch when they are in their own environment. Once they cross the line and invade our homes it becomes less amazing to see them. When they die in our home it becomes a real problem. Hopefully, these tips help you to find and remove any of those problems.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dead Animals in Homes

“Are dead rodents in the walls a big deal?  Should I be concerned with this or just let them rot?”

It is recommended to have any dead rodents trapped in your walls or attic removed because the large majority of them can not only cause diseases like the hantavirus, but they can also begin to rot they can release harmful dust and gasses that can cause some people’s allergies to act up.  Not to mention, the smell can become very foul.  The other issue is that if there is one dead rat in your wall there is a good chance you may have more rats in your walls or roof.

How to Get Rid of Armadillos & Keep Them Away

Armadillos are adorable mammals that can weigh between three ounces and one hundred twenty pounds depending on the length, which can reach up to almost sixty inches long. The omnivore creatures can live up to fifteen years and love dinning on insects, veggies and fruits, herbs and carrion. The amazing animals have a three-banded shell for curling up inside when they feel threatened with short legs and feet, sharp claws for digging and long ears and nose for hunting and sensing all that surrounds them.

Sadly, these beings do not have very good eyesight for fighting of predators such as humans and large animals, which is one of the reasons they are on the endangered list. Another reason is their population is slimming down because their home is being taken away, and people are killing them off simply to get rid of them.

Why do people want to get rid of armadillos?

Like moles, armadillos have a tendency of making burrowers in people’s lawns and gardens. For this reason, people tend to want to get rid of the creatures from their space. Another reason is the armadillos love snacking of fresh herbs, bulbs, fruits and vegetables gardeners and farmers grow. The nocturnal animals can also bite and claw at a human if the creatures feel threatened. Overall, these mammals that come in colors of black, red, gray and yellow mean no harm to anyone and do love dinning on insects as well, which is a positive reason to keep these creatures around if you have a fear of creepy crawling insects such as beetles, termites, ants and small spiders.

Where are the most common places to find armadillos living?

Armadillos love living in warm tropical climates where there are rain forests, wetlands, and places to dig and burrow during the day, grasslands and some desert areas. You will never find these creatures living in cold climate areas since they hate the cold and simply will not survive in it even with their hard exterior shell, which by the way some breeds of armadillos can not curl up inside to hide away from danger. If you live in a warm climate area and are experiencing many armadillos in your yard you have some options. One of them being you can kindly leave them is to help keep the insect population down, or you can use safe methods for removing and preventing them.

What are some of the most effective methods to rid armadillos away?

Cayenne Pepper: This effective method might sound strange, but you can always sprinkle cayenne pepper around your home, garden or farm to help prevent them from coming into your space. Cayenne pepper deters armadillos away because these creatures do not like the smell of spicy herbs. Sadly, when the armadillo gets a sniff of the cayenne pepper if they do try to enter onto your property, it will burn their nose, but will prevent the creatures from coming back.

Bobcat or Coy Dog Urine: Spraying bobcat or coy dog urine around your yard, gardens and crops is another effective remedy for repelling armadillos away. This is because armadillos are the pray to animals such as bobcats and coy dogs, which can and will hunt these mammals for food.

Get a Dog: Having an outdoor dog is another outstanding way to repel armadillos away. However, you will want to make sure the dog you get has a warm shelter outside on cold nights, lots of food and water and receives lots of tender love and care from you the owner.

Trap the Armadillo: Using a large luring trap filled with earthworms can help you safely catch and armadillo without killing it. Once the armadillo is caught, you can pick up the cage-like trap, bring it to a safe far away location and release the armadillo back into the wild in a habitat it loves being in instead.

Hire a Professional: If armadillos are creatures you simply do not want to trap and catch yourself, but you want them safely removed from your yard, you can hire a professional such as Fish and Game to come and remove the creatures for you. However, if you are brave enough to catch one of these creatures yourself without professional help you should consider wearing gloves and thick clothing since their claws and teeth are sharp and can cause injury to you.

Put up Fencing or Netting: Putting up fencing and netting around your home, farm or garden is another way to keep armadillos for invading your space and feast away on the herbs, fruits and vegetables you have planted.

Armadillo Prevention is the Way to Go

Getting rid of armadillos might be on your to do list, but do it safely and without causing the creatures harm. Remember, these creatures are on the endangered list and helping them thrive in areas that they love is one of the best ways to help keep them alive and away from your homes. This means stopping the destruction of their habitat areas such as the rain forest and grasslands. It also means using methods that safely prevent and remove armadillos away from your space. After all, as mentioned before these creatures are important to the eco-system and do help keep in insect population under control naturally.

How to Get Rid of Ground Hogs and Prevent Their Return

When ground hogs are not properly controlled they can cause a lot of damage. They burrow to make their homes and their tunnels can cause serious structural damage. The tunnels can also break apart the foundation of your buildings and they often chew through electrical wires or irrigation systems. If you want to get rid of ground hogs, also known as woodchucks, you will need a plan that incorporates; trapping, repelling and excluding. Below are steps and instructions for you to follow to get rid of your ground hog pests:

1. Get rid of what attracts them

Groundhogs are coming into your area to find food and look for a safe place to make their home. You can make your yard look less attractive to them so they will look someplace else.

  • If you are gardening; harvest your crops as early as possible. They are especially attracted to; peas, beans and melons.
  • Do not keep piles of debris around like rocks or wood as the ground hog likes to burrow under places that will give them shelter.
  • If you have plants in your landscape they will be able to reach for a food source, keep them trimmed up so the ground hog will not make a home under them or use them as a meal.
  • Ground hogs like to keep their teeth sharp and will use old tree trunks to gnaw on to do this. Remove any old stumps or sources of wood they would be able to use for sharpening their teeth.
  • If you find any burrows that ground hogs have used as their home- cover them. Dig them out and about one foot deep; place a 3 x 3 piece of wire fencing and then bury the wire securely. MAKE SURE you know the burrow is abandoned.

2. Locate and identify areas they have damaged

Look for areas where ground hogs have made their home. These can be seen by finding where they go in and out of their burrows. Ground hogs will have from two to five different entrances/exits to each burrow and they are usually from six to eight inches wide. They will attempt to hide these by digging under vegetation or will sometimes use leaves and sticks to cover them. Common activities they do to alert you a ground hog is living on your property are:

  • There will be damaged crops in your garden; especially with your beans, melons and peas.
  • You will notice them eating grass and clover in your yard.
  • There will be noticeable gnawing or chewing marks on woody vegetation.
  • They will have chewed through your electrical wires or tubing.
  • They will have dug holes and burrowed under lawn structures.
  • Once you have established where they live- choose control method

Once you established that you have a ground hog problem and know where they live and what they are damaging; it time to decide how to get rid of them. Using more than one method will increase your success in removing them and keeping them off your property. These are some effective methods to use:

Live Ground Hog Trap

This is perhaps the most effective method of removing the ground hog however, they are very cautious animals so make sure you do not leave any of your scent on the trap when setting it or you will have a tough time trapping these cautious mammals. When you handle the trap make sure you wear gloves because this will minimize the chances of them being repelled by human scent.

Place the bait inside the trap so that the ground hog has to fully enter in order to reach it. You want to make sure the animal is completely inside and cannot back out when the door comes down. Place something heavy on the top of the cage so once the animal is inside the trap cannot be rolled allowing it to escape.

Since the ground hog is such a cautious animal, camouflaging the inside and outside of the cage will make it feel more comfortable entering it. Use leaves to hide the cage and create a more inviting area for it. A big part of deciding to trap them is choosing the right trap as it needs to be large enough to capture the ground hog. The trap should be 32 to 42 inches long so the animal has enough room to fully enter and allow door to come down. These traps come in either one door or two door options.

  • The one door is easier for larger animals and easier to place bait inside and is large enough so animal can fully enter. Professional trappers prefer the one door model.
  • The two door will calm the more cautious animal and can either be used as a one door or two door trap. The two door trap has been known to have a higher success rate. Before you operate a live trap make sure you understand your local laws regarding trapping and relocating the animals.
  • Ground hog Repellents

The ground hog has a heightened sense of smell, so irritating that will tend to make them stay out of your area. Spicy pepper based repellents are a good source of repellent to apply to the area where you have seen ground hog activity. You can sprinkle the repellent around the perimeter to create a barrier and keep them out or spray liquid right onto surface of plants, wood, grass, mulch or wherever you have found signs of the ground hog.

If you have found a ground hog burrow and are trying to keep them from returning; remember that nothing will keep a mother ground hog away from its babies. You should determine if there is an active nest before using repellents.

Electronic Repellents

The ground hog is a skittish animal and will frighten easily. Scare tactics work very well in conditioning them to stay away from certain areas. If you install a motion activated water sprinkler in areas you know they are staying in or visiting, it will condition them not to return that specific area. These sprinklers will not only protect your vegetation it will benefit them as well with the extra water supply.


A ground hog can climb quite well; however, a properly installed fence can make it difficult for them to climb and perhaps deter them from trying to get into your area. To properly install a fence:

  • Install one that is at least three to four feet above the ground.
  • Use a wire fencing that is constructed strong and has opening that are no larger than 3 x 3.
  • Bury the fence under the ground at least one foot so the ground hog cannot dig underneath it. If you place an “L” shape under the ground it will be even more effective.
  • At the top of the fence add an outward angle to increase difficulty of the ground hog being able to climb up and over into your yard.

Your best time to get rid of ground hogs is in the early spring. You will want to remove them before they begin mating. It is difficult to get rid of a mother ground hog and you will also have a bigger problem once the babies grow.