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March 13, 2012

Safe Cleanup of Raccoon Latrines

A task best left to the pros, but if you’re on your own, take these precautions…

  • Never attempt to cleanup a raccoon latrine without proper equipment and protection. John Griffin/The HSUS

  • Latrines can be found in a variety of places including rooftops. John Griffin/The HSUS

  • In less developed areas, a latrine may be found at the base of a tree.  Alex Magocsi

Raccoons often leave their feces in communal sites called latrines.

Because raccoons are the primary host of Baylisascaris procyanis, a roundworm that can harm people, and the roundworm eggs may be present in raccoon feces, their latrines should be removed and cleaned up whenever they might pose a health hazard.  This the task requires extreme caution.

Where might a raccoon latrine be? If not around the base of a tree or on a log, rock, stump, or woodpile, a raccoon latrine may be in an attic or a garage, or on a roof, deck, or patio.

Raccoon latrines in or near a dwelling should be are considered a potential health hazard.

Best left to the professionals

It is safest to hire a professional to do the cleanup, but if you must do it yourself, follow the CDC’s recommendations for doing it as safely as possible.

  • Wear disposable gloves and either rubber boots that can be scrubbed or disposable booties that cover your shoes.
  • Wear a N95-rated respirator (available at hardware stores).
  • Use a spray bottle to mist the area to be cleaned up with water to minimize the dust that may be stirred up while cleaning up the latrine.
  • Remove feces and feces-contaminated material using a shovel or inverted plastic bag; then, burn, bury, or bag it and send it to a landfill.
  • If outside, treat feces-soiled surfaces with boiling water.
  • If inside, repeatedly wipe the feces-contaminated area with a damp sponge, rinsing the sponge frequently in a bucket of hot, soapy water. Flush the water down the toilet when done.
  • Disinfect the shovel and bucket with boiling water. Place the sponge in a plastic bag and throw it away.
  • Scrub boots with hot soapy water or throw away disposable booties in a plastic bag.
  • Dispose of gloves in a plastic bag and wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm running water.
  • Wash clothing thoroughly with hot water and detergent, and wash hands again after putting clothing into the wash.
  • Do not bring wood on which raccoon feces have been found into the house. Burn such logs outside.

Resources

» Purchase a copy of Wild Neighbors, the go-to guide for useful, humane solutions to conflicts with wildlife. 
» If you are located within the D.C. Metro Area, take advantage of our wildlife conflict resolution service.
» Read Dorcas MacClintock’s Natural History of Raccoons (Blackburn Press, 2003) to learn more. 

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