Raccoons may look cute, but for anyone who’s had an infestation, these little troublemakers can create a lot of problems. Along with dumping trash cans and damaging a home’s roof and attic, these animals might also designate a corner of your home as a raccoon latrine.
To add insult to injury, raccoon feces don’t just look and smell disgusting: they can also expose you to roundworm, an intestinal parasite. Here’s what you need to know:
Raccoon Latrines: What They Are and Where You’ll Find Them
A raccoon latrine is an area used by multiple raccoons as a communal restroom. The local raccoons will return to defecate in this specific area. You can find raccoon latrines in a variety of locations. Outdoors, you might find one on a woodpile, patio, deck, rooftop, or at a tree’s base or fork. Indoors, you might find one in a garage or attic.
Why Raccoon Latrines Are a Health Hazard
Raccoon latrines not only smell disgusting, but they’re also a significant health hazard. Raccoons are a common host of Baylisascaris procyonis, also known as “raccoon roundworm.” This is an intestinal parasite that can infect humans. It’s estimated that 40 to 60 percent of raccoon adults host this parasite. The infection rate in juveniles is even higher at 90 to 95 percent.
Roundworm eggs can pass from an infected raccoon through their feces. By disturbing a raccoon latrine, you risk accidentally ingesting contaminated soil, water, or other particles that have roundworm eggs on them.
If you become infected with raccoon roundworm, you’ll most likely notice symptoms in 1 to 4 weeks. They can range from mild to severe. At its worst, roundworm infection can result in loss of muscle coordination, blindness, and coma, so it’s essential to consult a health professional if you’re concerned that you’ve been infected.
Common Signs of a Raccoon Infestation
You will need some help from a wildlife removal expert if raccoons are infesting your property. In addition to hosting roundworm, raccoons are a primary carrier of rabies in the U.S., so don’t take a chance on DIY methods!
Common signs of a raccoon infestation include:
- Damage to your home’s roof, walls, insulation, or electrical system
- Disturbed garbage cans
- Raccoon pawprints around your property
- Raccoon latrines, feces, or urine stains
You’re most likely to spot raccoon activity at night because they are primarily nocturnal.