Recognizing if raccoons are inhabiting your area is important because of the destructive nature of these animals and also because their feces may transfer disease to humans and pets. Raccoon droppings may carry the parasitic roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis, which can cause illness or death in humans. Here's how to identify whether the droppings come from a raccoon, so you can take the necessary precautions.
How to Identify the Feces
The eggs of the Baylisascaris procyonis are resistant to most disinfectants. If raccoons have occupied your attic or a storage area, clean the area with a hypochlorite bleach solution after you have had them removed. Always use disposable rubber gloves, rubber boots that can be scrubbed and an N95-rated mask when cleaning raccoon feces.
Compare the raccoon droppings to that of a medium-sized dog. Raccoon poop looks much like dog feces: dark, tubular in shape, up to 1/2 inch or so in diameter and usually in well-formed, blunt segments. They many have a strong odor. Older feces can resemble dry leaves or a small pile of debris.
Observe (without touching) the contents of the feces. Poorly digested seeds and peelings of seasonal fruits are usually present. Berry seeds are a good indicator. Insects, such as grasshoppers and crickets, may be found in raccoon feces if they are abundant in your area.
Look for other evidence that raccoons live in the area to help verify that you have found raccoon droppings. There may be hair on fences or tree bark where they have been climbing. Young racoons often disturb areas near the base of trees where their dens are located. Overturned trashcans and other mischievous activities often indicate the presence of raccoons.
Use caution if you run across a raccoon latrine. These are areas that raccoons frequent, returning time and again to leave fresh feces on top of old droppings. Such latrines are often at the base of trees, along fence lines, woodpiles, on roofs or in unsealed attics.
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