Summary: Raccoon feces contain the eggs of the raccoon roundworm. Cleaning up a raccoon latrine should only be attempted wearing proper personal protective equipment like rubber gloves and shoe covers.
Vicki; Knoxville, TN
I have recently noticed usual feces in my front yard. I know that it does not belong to either of my dogs. I have read that raccoons have a parasite in feces. How would I know if what I am finding is raccoon feces?
Communities of raccoons repeatedly deposit their feces in sites known as latrines. These latrines have piles of fresh feces on top of old feces. Fresh raccoon feces are tubular with blunt ends and are about the same diameter as a dime or nickel. Depending upon what the raccoon has been eating, fresh feces are usually dark, speckled with seeds or shells. As feces dry out and decompose they start to look like dried leaves or debris.
Latrines are usually found on flat or slightly sloped roofs, but may also be found at bases of trees and, occasionally, in open areas like fields or around piles of rocks, along fence lines or in piles of logs.
Raccoon feces Raccoon latrines may contain roundworm eggs that develop into the infectious form in 2-4 weeks. The adult stage of the roundworm lives in the intestines of the raccoon producing eggs that come out in the raccoon's feces. The eggs can survive in the soil for several years. If roundworm eggs are accidently swallowed by humans, pets, birds or other mammals, the roundworm larvae may hatch and move into the organs of the body. This can result in serious illness or, although rare, death.
From what you are describing, however, the feces do not sound like it is raccoon related. Even though serious roundworm illness reports are rare, I advise using caution when cleaning up the feces. Wear disposable rubber gloves and shoe covers. If you are cleaning up feces in an attic or crawl space you should invest in a N95 mask to cover your nose. Dispose of or disinfect anything that touches feces just to be on the safe side. Spray the piles of feces with water to keep dust from flying up. Gently scoop up any feces-related materials and seal in a plastic garbage bag for disposal.