Solved! What Does Raccoon Poop Look Like?
Unwelcome guests are never fun, especially if they leave traces on your property. If you’re asking yourself, “What does raccoon poop look like?” follow the tips below to determine what you’re dealing with.
Q: I recently spotted feces in my yard that doesn’t look like it came from a dog or cat. I suspect that it’s raccoon feces, but what does raccoon poop look like?
A: Although similar in size and shape, raccoon poop can appear different in its contents than the droppings of household pets. What does raccoon poop look like? Well, it’s often dark, long, and tubular, similar to a dog or cat poop. However, raccoon droppings can also contain visible evidence of their diet and invisible pathogens that are dangerous to pets and humans. Determining whether you have raccoons visiting your property or just a stray neighborhood cat can make all the difference in deciding what precautions to take.
Raccoon feces is 2 to 3 inches long, and it’s dark and tubular in shape.
At first glance, raccoon poop may not look much different than the droppings of a small or medium-sized dog. Their feces are usually about half an inch to an inch in diameter and tubular in shape, typically with a break in the middle. The feces are dark in color. While you may not mind having a friendly outdoor cat visit your property, it’s unlikely that the poop you’re finding outdoors comes from a cat. Unlike dogs and raccoons, outdoor cats will bury their poop as a way to avoid unwanted attention from potential predators.
An individual piece of raccoon poop is probably nothing to worry about. However, a group of raccoons will establish a site where they deposit their droppings in a communal pile, known as a latrine. As raccoons are social animals and tend to stick together for security, these latrines will usually be quite large, especially if the raccoons have been in the area for a while. A raccoon latrine signals extensive raccoon presence and likely will require intervention if they’re encroaching on your property.
Unlike dog poop, raccoon poop will contain bits of undigested food.
A noticeable difference between raccoon poop and dog poop is the evidence of undigested food. Whole berries or seeds are usually visible in raccoon feces, where other animals’ feces appear homogenous. This undigested food can contribute to raccoon scat’s pungent odor—it’s much stronger and more unpleasant than other animal droppings.
The only other animal droppings that may contain visible traces of food are from bears. However, as expected, bear scat piles are much larger in size and looser in form.
Raccoon feces can carry disease-causing pathogens that can be harmful to humans and other animals.
Raccoons aren’t just nuisance pests that eat your garbage—they can be a serious health concern. Raccoons can carry various bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Many of these agents are zoonotic, meaning they can be transferred from animals to humans. Diseases include rabies, leptospirosis, and toxoplasmosis. And like raccoons themselves, their feces can carry infectious disease-causing pathogens.
Because raccoon scat can carry these harmful viruses, bacteria, and parasites, it’s important to distinguish between their feces and the droppings of other animals. One common parasite found in raccoon poop is roundworm, also known as Baylisascaris procyonis. Roundworm and its eggs are too small to be spotted from a difference, and they can affect humans and pets—even if you’re diligent about giving your pet its flea, tick, and worm prevention. If the eggs of roundworms are ingested or inhaled, they hatch into larvae and move into different parts of the body, sometimes causing nausea, loss of coordination, liver enlargement, loss of muscle control, and blindness.
It’s not recommended to try to move raccoon feces yourself.
With the risk involved in handling raccoon poop, it’s best to let a professional handle the process. The potential exposure to disease or bacteria is not worth the money or time you might save by doing it yourself. If you do decide to move it yourself or need it moved before a pest control professional can get to you, be sure to wear gloves and a respirator mask. Getting rid of raccoons is also a job for a trained professional since wild animals are often unpredictable and need to be handled by an expert. If you’re unlucky enough to have had raccoons make a latrine in your attic or within insulation, you’ll need to replace the insulation; urine and feces ruin the insulation.
If you spot evidence of a raccoon or wild animal on your property, it’s best to call a pro to help with raccoon removal. Prevention is the best way to keep raccoons away from your property. Keep garbage cans sealed, don’t leave food outside, and close off access to attics or basements.