As the weather turns colder, animals of all kinds look for ways to keep warm. Should an animal (or a few) find their way into your home, you might have an unpleasant surprise if they happen to die before moving on out. Just a few of these unwelcome roommates include squirrels, rats, mice, raccoons, bats, opossum and some kinds of birds. Here are the top 3 signs you might have a dead animal in your home. 1. Foul, very bad odor- Depending on where the animal was in the home when it expired, you could smell this bad odor inside or outside the home (or both). The smell of the decomposing animal could start off slight at first but should be at full strength within about three days after death. Just how unbearable it gets depends on a number of factors, including humidity, temperature, type and size of animal, where in the home the carcass is and air flow. High temperatures and humidity can make a smelly situation much worse and speed up the decomposition process. 2. Unusual number of flies in the home – If you notice an unusual number of flies in your home or worse, find maggots, but aren’t sure where they’re coming from, the source could be a dead animal somewhere in your home. Flies are a natural part of the decomposition process and can find their way to any carcass in any wall or crevice. 3. Sudden appearance of stains on the wall or ceiling – This sign of a dead animal is particularly noticeable if you know for a fact that you have no leaks or water issues that could be causing the discoloration. For example, if your roof was recently replaced and it hasn’t been raining, there is a higher chance the marking you see could be caused by a decomposing animal. What causes the stain? The body fluids of the decaying animal and by-products of the decay process can soak into and discolor drywall and other building materials. If you suspect you might have a dead animal in your home, it’s important to have it removed by experienced professionals. Wild animals can carry fleas and ticks that could bite you can cause illness. They can also carry other dangerous diseases that you could be exposed to from handling the carcass. Pee Dee Wildlife is your local expert in all things wild – including dead animal removal. by: Dennis Matherly