Raccoons are adaptable creatures that often find their way into urban and suburban environments in search of food and shelter. As a result, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to encounter raccoon poop on their property. In this article, we will discuss how to identify raccoon poop by its appearance, the dangers it poses, and the necessary precautions to take when handling it. Furthermore, we’ll explore methods for preventing raccoon infestations and protecting your home.
Identifying Raccoon Poop
Raccoon feces, also known as raccoon droppings or scat, have distinct characteristics that set them apart from the droppings of other animals. Here’s what to look for when trying to identify raccoon poop:
- Size and shape: Raccoon droppings are usually tubular and about 2-3 inches long, with a diameter of 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. The ends are typically rounded or broken, and the feces may be slightly curved.
- Texture and contents: The droppings may be slightly loose or have a crumbly texture. They often contain undigested food particles, such as seeds, berries, or insect parts, which can help determine that they belong to raccoons.
- Color: The color of raccoon feces can vary depending on the animal’s diet, but it generally ranges from dark brown to black.
- Location: Raccoon droppings are often found near food sources, such as garbage cans or gardens, and close to dens or resting areas. You may also find them on roofs, in attics, or along fences.
Dangers Associated with Raccoon Droppings
Raccoon feces can pose health risks to both humans and pets, as they may carry harmful parasites and diseases. The most significant concern is the presence of roundworm eggs, which can cause serious illness if ingested or inhaled. Other potential diseases associated with raccoon droppings include leptospirosis, salmonella, and giardiasis.
Handling and Cleaning Raccoon Poop Safely
If you discover raccoon droppings on your property, it’s essential to take proper precautions when cleaning and handling the waste to minimize exposure to harmful pathogens. Follow these steps to safely clean up raccoon poop:
- Wear protective gloves, a mask, and disposable coveralls to avoid direct contact with the feces.
- Use a shovel or disposable tool to pick up the droppings and place them in a sealed plastic bag.
- Dispose of the bag in an outdoor trash can.
- Disinfect the area with a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) and let it sit for at least 20 minutes before wiping it clean.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling raccoon waste.
- If the droppings are found indoors or in an attic, open windows and doors to ventilate the area before cleaning.
Preventing Raccoon Infestations
To reduce the likelihood of raccoons invading your property and leaving droppings, consider implementing the following preventative measures:
- Secure garbage cans with tight-fitting lids and use animal-proof trash containers if possible.
- Keep pet food and water dishes indoors or remove them at night when raccoons are most active.
- Trim trees and bushes near your home to limit potential hiding spots and access points for raccoons.
- Seal any openings or gaps in your home’s exterior, such as vents or crawl spaces, to prevent raccoons from entering.
- Install motion-activated lights or sprinklers around your property to deter raccoons and other nocturnal animals.
Consulting Wildlife Control Professionals
If you continue to experience issues with raccoons on your property or have concerns about the potential health risks associated with raccoon droppings, it’s advisable to seek help from a professional wildlife control expert. These specialists are trained in humane and effective raccoon removal techniques and can help you implement long-term solutions to prevent future infestations.
Recognizing raccoon poop by its appearance is crucial for proper identification and handling of raccoon waste. Raccoon droppings are typically tubular, 2-3 inches long, and contain undigested food particles. They can pose health risks to humans and pets, so it’s essential to follow safety precautions when dealing with raccoon feces. By implementing preventative measures and seeking professional assistance when needed, you can protect your property from raccoon infestations and maintain a clean, safe environment for you and your family.