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Raccoon Feces

Summary: Raccoons will establish sites where they consistently leave their feces. These raccoon feces collection sites are called latrines and they normally can be found on horizontal structures or surfaces log between logs or rocks, rooftops and gutters.

A reader asks: Can you please tell me why I find so much racoon feces on my garden shed roof? I have checked the internet for this question, but cannot get a straight answer from any of them.

Dear Reader:  Raccoons establish community sites where they repeatedly deposit fresh feces. Areas where raccoon feces accumulate are referred known as latrines. They probably like your shed roof because they prefer latrine sites that are flat and above the ground. But, they also use the base of trees and occasionally, open areas.

Common sites for raccoon latrines are roofs, decks, unsealed attics, haylofts, forks of trees, fence lines, woodpiles, fallen logs and large rocks. Structural features surrounding latrines often are important travel routes or foraging areas.

The latrines consist of piles of raccoon feces of different ages. You can tell if a


latrine is active by the color of the feces. Fresh raccoon feces are dark and moist while old feces may look like dried leaves or debris.

The biggest problem with raccoon latrines is that they often contain the eggs of roundworms that can be hazardous to human health. The eggs develop into the infectious form in 2-4 weeks, and can survive in the soil for several years. If the infectious form of the eggs is inadvertently swallowed by humans or other mammals including birds, the larvae hatch out and move into the organs of the body. On rare occasions these larvae may cause serious eye disease, spinal cord or brain damage, or death.

It is best to call a professional to clean up a raccoon latrine. However, if you intend to do it yourself be sure to avoid direct contact with the feces:

  • Wear disposable gloves made of rubber, plastic, or latex. Also wear disposable booties or rubber boots that can be scrubbed and left outside.
  • Wear a N95-rated dust mask available at hardware stores or safety supply stores. The masks will help to prevent accidental ingestion of eggs or inhalation of fungal spores or dust.
  • Lightly spray the latrine area water or bleach to reduce the amount of dust coming from latrine pile.
  • Shovel feces and any other contaminated material into a heavy-duty plastic garbage bag.
  • Disinfect hard, smooth surfaces (including shovel blades) with boiling water.
  • Thoroughly launder clothing in hot water and detergent.

Discourage raccoon latrine activity by using any one of many animal repellents available on the market such as Shake-Away, Get Away and Rid-A-Critter. Multiple and consistent applications of these products are the key to success. If these products don't work you may have to trap and remove the raccoons using Havahart traps. I recommend the Havahart Easy Set trap for this job.

Ask Rick A Question


10 Apr 2011, 01:20
Ever hear of raccoons digging a hole in a yard and using that as a latrine? Well, I am here to tell you that they do. We are going to fill in the hole..put a rock base in it to see if that works. There are five of them that frequent my neighborhood, and I found out there is really no way to get rid of them! We had cleared out all the poop from last year..but there was still a hole back in the yard..and they came out of hibernation and filled it up. It was funny watching the boyfriend clean it out. We poured some urine out there in it to see if that would work.
10 Apr 2011, 10:22
i found feces in my pool is it safe to swim if pool is clorinaded regulerly and how do i stop it.
Ask the Exterminator
11 Apr 2011, 15:47
The treated water should be enough to kill off any harmful by-products of the animal feces, but I would speak to a pool supply seller to be sure. Animal repellents are less than perfect. If you want to rid your property of raccoons you must trap and remove the animals.
25 Oct 2011, 20:29
I noticed racoon feces in our barn. Does that mean they live near by and just using the barn for a latrine or is it possible that they would be living in the barn as well? Is there a war to repell them?
Ask the Exterminator
27 Oct 2011, 09:55
Certainly living nearby. Repellents are not very effective. I recommend trapping and removing them from the area.
09 Nov 2011, 13:39
Raccoons are using my skylights as a laatrine, as well as one of my neighbours' flat roof. We are in a 6-unit row house. One house at the end has the raccoons in their attic and they refuse to deal with the issue. There is no way for me to trap them or stop them because they have a home nearby.

A repellant would have to be reapplied after every rain, no? We are about to enter winter, and I won't be able to get to the snow covered roof.

Now what?
Ask the Exterminator
10 Nov 2011, 04:50
You don't have to place the trap right at the point where the raccoons have created their latrine. Put the traps at the base of a nearby tree. The raccoons you catch will be the same as the ones that are using your roof as a toilet.
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