Have you found raccoon poop in your yard and you’re unsure what to do? Raccoons are fun to watch in your yard until they start to use it as a toilet. Raccoon scat, poop, feces, whatever you want to call it is a big problem for your yard.
This guide will take you through what you need to know about raccoon poop. Plus you’ll learn how to keep yourself safe and how to stop it from happening again.
Sound good? Then let’s get started.
What does Raccoon Poop look like?
Identifying a raccoon poop can be tricky at times. It can be very like dog poop. If you have a dog then it adds to the confusion.
Raccoon poop is a long sausage shape, usually with blunt ends. Raccoon poop may appear like little pellets, especially if they’ve eaten berries.
It’s usually around 2-3 inches long and around the thickness of a dime.
The color is very dark brown, almost black, however, this can change depending on what they’ve eaten.
The most common way to tell the difference between dog and raccoon poop is to look for undigested food. You’ll see large chunks of food in raccoon poop.
Another thing you may notice is that there is a pile of poop. That means the raccoon keeps returning to the same spot. The area the raccoon chooses to return to is called a latrine.
In your yard, it’s most common to find raccoon latrines near trees, stumps, decks, pools, and patios.
The dangers of raccoon poop
Raccoon poop is dangerous for human and pet health.
Raccoon poop can make you, children, or a pet seriously ill. This will come at a high cost to pay for medical and vet treatment.
Let’s take a look at the health risks of raccoon poop.
Raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) is the main parasite found in raccoon poop.
The eggs of this parasite live in raccoon poop and can even survive for years in the soil. If they are ingested then they can cause:
- Liver problems
- Loss of muscle control
Those most at risk of raccoon roundworm are young children and pets. That’s because they are most likely to dig around in the soil and put the soil in their mouths.
Children have been diagnosed with permanent developmental disabilities caused by coming into contact with raccoon poop.
Other animals that come into your yard can also become diseased and even die from contracting this parasitic infection.
The good news is that it takes 2-4 weeks for the eggs to become infectious from Raccoon poop. That means the quicker you have a raccoon poop cleaned up the less likely it is to cause infection.
Giardia is a really common digestive disease in the USA. It can spread very quickly and easily. If the raccoon poop comes into contact with water, soil, and surfaces, it will most likely be infected with giardia.
This parasite causes nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and dehydration. Although it may not show symptoms in some people.
Pets are usually not affected by Giardia. The risk is minimal but pets may pick up the parasite from raccoon poop and spread it to people through their own poop.
Giardia can survive for months in very cold temperatures. That means there is a risk of contracting this disease even from raccoon poop in winter.
Leptospirosis is a bacteria that is found in raccoon urine. The issue is that raccoons will urinate and poop in the same space.
That means when you find poop you’re exposed to the risk of both raccoon urine and poop.
This bacteria can cause humans and pets to become seriously ill. It starts with fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea. If these are left untreated it can result in kidney failure, liver disease, or meningitis.
Untreated raccoon poop can start to grow mold which can be harmful to your health. Mold can host a lot of pathogens. These can be particularly harmful to your respiratory health.
This growth can also be harmful to other wildlife and plants in your yard.
If the raccoons are pooping on your decking, the mold the grows on the poop or feces can cause long-term damage to the wooden surface.
Raccoon poop and urine have a very strong ammonia scent. Once the poop starts to accumulate it will give off an extremely pungent smell.
This will make your backyard almost unbearable to be in until it clears.
Strong odors alone can cause respiratory issues, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. When gone unchecked it can affect your mood too.
These strong smells can even attract more pest wildlife to your yard, such as mice or rats. With that comes the risk of more harmful diseases.
Why do raccoons poop in your yard?
Raccoons will poop in your yard because they have found a place where they feel safe and comfortable to open their bowels.
Once a raccoon has a safe pooping spot, it will continue to come back again and again. That’s when the poop starts to mount up.
But worse than that?
Raccoons are communal poopers!
That means that when one raccoon finds a good place to poop, all the other raccoons like to use it too.
So if you find one Raccoon scat in your yard, then that will quickly turn into a few each day.
How to get rid of raccoon poop
If you discover a raccoon latrine in your yard, the best thing to do is to clean it up as soon as possible.
A quick clean-up will help to prevent the spread of disease as much as possible.
You have two options when it comes to getting rid of raccoon poop
- Hire a pest control professional
- Clean it yourself
Hiring Pest control for raccoon pooP
This is the safest method to keep yourself safe. It will prevent you from contracting a disease from coming into contact with raccoon poo.
A pest control company will do a full deep clean of the area to ensure all the feces are safely disposed of. They will also recommend decontaminating the surrounding yard area.
The cost of a raccoon yard clean-up service can be anything between $200- $700 depending on what needs to be done.
On average for feces clean up alone you’re looking at a cost of $1.50 to $3 per square foot of space. That can quickly add up if you have quite a large yard.
How to Clean up Raccoon Poop
The CDC advises you to hire a professional to clean up raccoon poo. However, has provides guidelines for cleaning it up yourself.
- Wear clothing and shoes that can be thoroughly washed
- Wearing disposable shoes and clothe coverings is the safest option
- Wear disposable gloves
- Wear a N95-rated respirator in a confined space to prevent ingesting infective particles
Step by Step
1. Pick up the raccoon poop with an inverted plastic bag or shovel and bag.
2. If the latrine is on soil, remove a 2-4” layer of soil and place it into the bag.
3. Securely seal the bag closed.
4. The bag can be burned or placed in the trash to go to the landfill.
5. Any areas soiled with the poop can be washed down with boiling water. If appropriate a propane torch can be used. The heat will kill the roundworm eggs.
6. If some poop remains use hot soapy water and a damp (not wet) sponge to wipe up. Rinse often.
7. Dispose of the sponge in a plastic bag in the garbage. Pour any remaining dirty water from the bucket down the toilet.
8. Disinfect any surface that has come into contact with the feces with boiling water e.g. shovels, trash cans, boots, buckets and toilet.
9. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water
10. Launder your clothes in a machine with detergent at a hot temperature.
Burying Raccoon Poop
The CDC advises that the raccoon poop can be buried in bags. I would caution against this as it still carries some risk.
Raccoon roundworms can survive for years. There is a risk that the area can be exposed in the future. Think as in construction work in your yard or a pet who likes to dig.
It’s not worth the risk and so I would strongly advise either burning or disposing of the bagged poop to landfill.
The best disinfectant for raccoon poop
Disinfectant or bleach chemicals will not kill off roundworm eggs. The only way to do this is heat-treating the area with hot water or flame.
Yet raccoon poop and urine contain other diseases which can be destroyed using disinfectant to clean the area.
These disinfectants will work well on the hard outdoor surface areas affected by the raccoon latrine.
How to prevent raccoons pooping In Your Yard
We all know that what goes in has to come out. The same is true with raccoons. The only problem is you don’t want it to come out in your yard.
The ideal solution is to gently encourage raccoons to take their toileting habits elsewhere. The easiest way is not to offer food in your yard that raccoons like to eat.
There are a few things you can do to make coming to your yard a little more uncomfortable for them. Check out my guide to 14 natural methods to deter raccoons that won’t cause them physical harm.
The raccoon commitment to their latrine site isn’t that strong. So encouraging them to move on is probably easier than you think.
Having raccoon poop in your yard can be a bit of a headache.
If you don’t tackle the problem quickly it can lead to damage to your health or your wallet!
The best way to deal with raccoon scat is to clear it up quickly to prevent roundworm eggs from getting the chance to become infectious. You’ll need to pay a professional or do this yourself.
The risk of doing this yourself is high. So take extra safety precautions to stop any chances of contamination. Disinfect all the infected areas with boiling water, soap, or bleach. This will ward off any infectious material hanging around.
Having measures in place to stop the raccoons from coming back will save you needing to repeat the process frequently.